Kids behavior and what effects them?? I need advice...

Stephanie - posted on 10/04/2011 ( 12 moms have responded )

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General I don't do this but my husband and I are running out of options.

Let me start at the beginning, my husband and I have been together two and a half years and recently got married. We lived together for two years and we combined our families, he has two kids from a previous marriage and I have one child from a previous relationship (his father isn't in the picture and my husband plans to adopt). Just recently we changed their schools because of the moving around. I made sure they were enrolled before the school year even started so they wouldn't get behind.

Our oldest is a girl (in fourth grade) and although she has a few problems reading, this year she has got numerous detentions, caught copying other kids work, not doing homework, forging our signature on bad grades, and lying to us. We can't figure out why exactly this is going on. Our middle child is a boy in third grade and his behavior (although not good) hasn't changed much but he has been getting detentions, lying about homework and bad grades. He's always acted up in school and we can't figure out why they are acting like this. Is it the change in schools? Is it our recent next step in our relationship and the marriage causing them to act out?

When they get home from school everyday, they say school was great and they made a bunch of friends there so their words and actions are saying two different things. My husband and I can't figure out why. When we decipline them we ground them and take their toys. Nothing seems to work.

Our youngest (who is two) doesn't act any different with the marriage but he is two plus my husband has been around since he was about 5 months old or so. Is it me maybe? The two older ones see me as trying to take their biological mothers spot in their life?? I just don't know and I don't have anyone else to turn too.

Please any advice, ideas, or suggestions would be appricated.. Thank you

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IS their biological mother involved?

Moving around, changing schools, marriage, etc... are all big changes for anyone... especially young kids. Does their school have a guidance counselor or any programs for kids from broken/blended homes? When my ex and I were first getting divorced my girls were in a lunch group for kids from divorced homes. It helped them see that they weren't alone. They also went to a counselor for a year and a half. Having that extra support person in their lives really helped w/ the transitions.

Jodi - posted on 10/04/2011

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Have you tried actually giving them some incentive for the correct behaviour? Like rewarding them? It sounds like they do nothing right......it sounds like you are constantly yelling them or telling they aren't doing good enough, or doing the wrong thing.



You can't be yelling and negative at your kids all the time. You need to learn to pick your battles. And the kids need some down time on a week night too. Nights where my kids have lots of homework, I don't push the chores so much, because I do think it is important to allow them to be kids too.



Sorry, it just sounds to me like they are getting very little positive feedback, and are getting yelled at.



Have you tried sitting down and actually talking to them about this, without the anger, without the threats of loss of privileges, without the yelling? Just sit and talk to them about why they are lying abotut these things, is it because they are worried about getting yelled at? Is it because they are unhappy at their new school? Give them a reason to be honest with you. Let them feel safe telling you something negative without feeling they are letting you down and you are going to be upset and angry at them.



And yes, the changes in school, the new relationship, it could all have impact, and family counselling could be needed.

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Stephanie - posted on 10/06/2011

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We actually sat down with each child individually and found out what was going on with them plus we meet with their teachers in the next couple of days. I think we finally have it figured out on how we are going to take care of it. I want to thank EVERYONE for your opinions/advice. I think the kids loved that we sat down and talked to them instead of jumping ahead and just yelling and punishing for their bad grades and actions. Things have been calmer in my household... now to get the two year old interested in peeing/pooping on the potty :)

JuLeah - posted on 10/04/2011

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could be any or all of the above reasons; could be something you have not yet thought of

When words and actions don't match, listen to the actions

What do their teachers say? It is a poor school if their first and only solution to unwanted behaviors is detention. A good school would be getting to the 'why' behind it all

Have you asked the children? Of course they are too young to fully answer you, but you can ask ... what do you like about? If you could change anything what would you change.... if you had a wish, what would you wish for ....questions that might get at what they are feeling and thinking

Blending families is a big big transition for kids, even if they like all the players and are excited about it

I assume they are getting enough sleep (10+ hrs) and eating well ... no processed food like stuff, but actual food :) These things impact behaviors in a big way

Can you bring in a professional they might talk to? Sometimes kids don't want to talk with the parents for fear of hurting feelings

If 'nothing seems to work' the you are wise to change your approach - don't discipline, don't punish ... figure out why

All behavior has a function. All behavior is about getting a need met. Figure out the need, help them meet the need in a way that won't land them in trouble and you will change the behavior

Foe example: We had a kid at schoo, who stole food. He'd sneak into the teachers, lounge, break into other kids lunches .... punishment of course never worked

Learning that his family had no food helped. He ate a free school lunch but not much else ... his family didn't have the skills to apply for assistance - so solve that problem, teach the kid how to ASK for help in the future - problem with solved

[deleted account]

I would be careful about harping to young kids about college, it is important to model to them that education is important to the family and do everything you can to support and encourage them. Enlist the help and support of teachers and staff at the school, rewards might prove more useful then punishment. I am a child of divorced parents and my mother remarried. If my step father had ever tried to discipline me I would have laughed too. I had a father and a mother and they were the only parents I needed. Step parent relationships can be really tricky with older children, they should however be respectful to you as the wife of their father. Counseling is sooo important in these situations. I was in counseling for years after my mom remarried (which by the way was much harder on me then the divorce).

Linda - posted on 10/04/2011

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I know it's hard. Parenting is the hardest job there it! Don't give up! Also, don't yell. (I know this is easier said than done!) No one likes to be yelled at, and no one responds positively to that, even kids. If they spend an hour doing dishes, maybe next time it will only be 45 minutes. They're going to make mistakes. They're going to break things. They're learning. We have to be patient with them. And then we need to be patient with ourselves when we're not. :)

Stephanie - posted on 10/04/2011

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We waited a year to get married so they would adjust to that. So they moved in with me to start with. They liked it and said they were happy. I don't think getting married changes that much because we already all lived together. Am I wrong? Did it still affect them?

Sherri - posted on 10/04/2011

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I recommend counseling and also it seems like too many changes all at once. That is a very hard thing for kids to deal with.

Stephanie - posted on 10/04/2011

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Linda,
We have honestly. Our oldesy spent over an hour doing dishes because we keep making her redo them and the middle child almost broke my sweeper because he sucked up something. I don't let them watch tv through the week anyways because they get home so late in the day. It seems like the more we yell and harder we are on them they just go more and more down hill..

Linda - posted on 10/04/2011

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Stephanie,

ALL kids do a horrible job on chores, unless you inspect them. Make them do it again. And again. And again. It is actually easier to do it yourself, but in time you will reap rewards. It sounds to me like the kids are running the show at your house. Time to put the parents back in charge! :) Give them serious chores to do, and make sure they do them. My kids don't play with friends or watch TV or play computer games/ etc until their jobs pass inspection. 3rd and 4th graders can vacuum, sweep, do dishes, clean bathrooms, wash the walls, rake, etc. You just need to show them how, watch them do it, and then have them re-do it.

Stephanie - posted on 10/04/2011

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Teresa,
Their biological mother gets them every other weekend (if she wants them) and don't disapline them at all. They go to her house and I am bad mouthed, then when they come home they completely ignore my rules. It's a crappy situation but I deal with it the best I can. I was going to look into the school for a guidance counselor, my husband even said maybe they need that.

Linda,
They have no chorus to begining with because when I introduced chorus they would only do them half assed. They both had pets that they wouldn't even take care of and I had to give away. The one thing I am hard on them about is education. I tell them everyday I want them to go to college so they don't have to work a hard labor job like their father does. We've tried switching roles too. He disciplines them and he gets the same response as I. Our middle child actually laughs at us sometimes. We literally have no idea what to do. I thank everyone for the advice.

Linda - posted on 10/04/2011

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I agree with counseling. If the discipline you are using isn't working, then switch to something else. If taking away toys doesn't work, what about adding chores for them to do? After all, if they don't take advantage of a good education when it is offered to them, they may be spending the rest of their life doing hard physical jobs! Make it clear to them that education is the key to doing what they want to do in life when they grow up. Also, I would think it would be better for your husband to dish out the discipline than you. Be creative with discipline, but find something that works!

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