I find it hard to be consistent

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by sweetiegirlz, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. sweetiegirlz

    sweetiegirlz New Member

    Last night difficult child and her sister got new rules for the house.

    There's 7 of them and I tried to keep it short.

    I'm praying not for them to follow the rules. but for ME to be able to keep enforcing them... I know that sounds dumb. But i realize that over all these years my difficult child's life and our family life could've been a lot easier if I hadn't been so wishy washy.

    I am not a consistent person. I am someone who waffles under stress. I've been working 2 weeks ago now, graveyard shift and my kids have been taking full advantage that mom is tired about 90 percent of the time.

    Hence, the new rules. Hope they stick.
    I had a crazy hard time with difficult child and her dishes and shower last night. Because I kept stressing "do the dishes, NOW" 20 times if I said it once. She kept spraying the counters and cleaning them, putting stuff away and says, "You're gonna love how clean the counters are"

    (I know but what I really need you to do is the DISHES)
    and feeling guilty AGAIN.

    I hate myself.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I'm sorry things are so rough.

    I'm confused -- what is inconsistent about continuing to stress to difficult child to do the dishes?

    What are the new rules? Sometimes it makes sense to work on one new rule at a time. Otherwise, it can get overwhelming both for difficult child and mom.

    Have you read The Explosive Child by Ross Greene? It might give you some ideas about how to work with your child rather than against her.
  3. lynnp

    lynnp New Member

    Oh I hear you and I understand. Sometimes it does feel like this is all our fault and that if we only had the courage to be firm and consistent none of this would have happened!! We have a six year old easy child who's very agreeable but often I feel like a failure as a parent to my difficult child. I don't have much advice except that when (and that seems way too infrequent!!) we have consequences they are incredibly black and white. That does work. For example, if you are not in bed by 10 then no computer the next day. He'll find some way to make it gray though. I waffle constantly under stress!!
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Consistency is hard. It is a job in and of itself. I found that if I only made rules I could truly enforce helped. Let the small stuff go. It's not the end of the world if someone doesn't shower. Kids at school will let you know if you smell and you'll ultimately get the hint that showers are a good thing. If it wasn't a health or safety issue, I'd let it go. (Clean dishes fell under the health category; so did taking out the trash and cleaning the cat box.)

    Chores are a necessity. The rule at my house was they will be done before you go to bed and there will be no "fun" until they are done (no tv, playing outside, etc.). If they weren't done that day, the next was spent in her room with no TV, music, books, games, etc. until she was ready to come out and do the chore. There was no discussion, no nagging, just this is the way it is. I would do one reminder about the chore and that was it. So, if one chooses to make the counter spotless, appreciate the clean counter when it's done. Just give her a gentle reminder that she still has to do the dishes and she's stuck in the kitchen until they are done.

    For me at least, it was much easier to be consistent when I let things go. I gave my daughter the rules and let her know the consequence of each. For some it was a reduction of allowance, for others it was a removal of a privilege. Both the rules and the consequences were in writing and on the wall. Also, we agreed that I could only remind once an hour for things like chores (I was an excellent nag!). More than that and I had to put a quarter in the penalty jar (this was used for something fun in the future) for each nag.

    If you come home too tired to enforce a rule one night, simply make it a "rule-free" day. The only things that will be enforced are violence, damage of property, things you find absolutely intolerable. It is good to relax once in awhile and just let things go for one day.
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    {{{Renee}}} There is nothing to hate about yourself - you are doing the best you can with what you have and know right now and that's commendable. If you had thrown in the towel and just didn't give a hoot, then I'd be worried. But you haven't.

    You've come up with some reasonable rules and you're enforcing them and trying to stick with them0. That's WONDERFUL!

    We all have different ideas of what another person's expectations are. You are saying "do the dishes" and she's thinking, "make everything shiny and clean-looking, especially the counters!". It is frustrating to be sure. I know that when my H cleans up after dinner, he will basically 'rinse' everything and barely use soap and uses cold water, does not wipe down the stovetop or counters and leaves puddles of water everywhere. When I follow up with some REAL cleaning he gets offended, but I don't like greasy pots and pans, puddles everwhere....know what I mean? He thinks he did an awesome job and I'm thinking, "I should have done it myself to start with!"

    Same thing with my difficult child - one of her jobs is the bathroom. She always did a bad job and I'd have to follow up later. So, I finally went in there with her and showed her how to clean the bathroom so it was CLEAN and DISINFECTED, something she hadn't even considered. She just thought it needed to 'look' clean! Haha - anyway, I had to show her a few times and stand with her while she did it and she finally understood what I was looking for. by the way, she is 18 and I had to do this over the years until about 2 years ago! It took a while. I don't think there is hope for H's cleaning skills at this point, however. LOL

    My point is that telling her what you want may be interpreted differently in her head. Showing her by deomonstration may be more helpful in teaching her how to go about doing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen in a methodical, orderly fashion and she may understand what it is you're looking for better. It may take a few tries, but eventually I think she'll get it.

    Have you set up any particular consequences for your girls?

    I think the book suggestion is a great one! Hang in there~hugs.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I hear you.

    I agree with-one rule at a time. Give it a wk or two, then start on another rule.

    "Do the dishes NOW" doesn't work for us as well as it should. We have changed (due to Ross Greene's Explosive Child book) to say, "Do the dishes after dinner if you want to watch TV." Or "Do the dishes b4 9 p.m."
    If they don't do them, they get privileges taken away. Sometimes I still yell (if I'm PMS-ing, LOL!), but I find it is much more effective to let the dishes rot, and the next day when they want a Reese' peanut butter cup or to go to a friend's house, I calmly say, "No, because you didn't do the dishes last night."

    Why do you feel guilty? You are not being mean. You are teaching your child responsiblity. That's a GOOD thing! :smile:
  7. SnowAngel

    SnowAngel New Member

    I so understand. I myself wasn't very consistant at one time, but now I have to be or I end up with all the chores. It stinks. I felt guilty too, but if they would listen then there isnt a reason to sound like a broken record. I feel like all I do is correct some kid out of the bunch.

    I started something new at our house. Not sure it is right, but we have 7 kids from 16 down to 9, totally old enough to help. Anyway, I wont make dinner until the kitchen is clean. How hard is it to rinse a plate and place it in the dishwasher? They eat and set their plate on the counter, then they are gone which leaves me yelling for the kids to come back and clean up. I now leave everything there and I go on strike until the stuff gets done. No computer, TV or going outside. Mom doesn't make anything in that kitchen until it is clean. Sounds tough, but the stress of constantly raising my voice so I am heard by 7 chattering kids will make me ill.

    You are worth more than feeling guilty or hating yourself. It takes a family to make a home work. You can't be a one woman show. I am a bit Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and I had to learn it is ok that the dishes aren't loaded right...they got done. I was doing everything because it wasn't done how I thought it should be.
  8. sweetiegirlz

    sweetiegirlz New Member

    Their rules are as follows:

    1) Homework after school, done inside the house BEFORE play or T.V. {they were doing homework outside on the steps and balcony with their friends over! It always led to them straying away while mom was trying to catch the last few winks of sleep before nightshift that night}

    2) In by 5:30 pm to eat and shower on a school night. (we have 2 showers but they both act like it will kill them if they're the first to shower. It also gets dark at 6:00-6:15 now, so I think this is reasonable.

    3) One chore must be done daily. ONE. O-N-E... you'd think it was "clean the whole house the way they act. Chore is specified daily by me because I need help with different things on a daily basis.

    4) No computer time will be given without my permission. PERIOD. I always catch difficult child (and sometimes her friend) on the computer when I am trying to sleep still before work.

    5)No friend's in without permission. (I love their buds, but they come here because they love that difficult children & easy child's mom is "out of commission" and they can have the snacks and drinks my kids offer them constantly)We live in a small 2 bedroom apartment and I can't tell you how many times I've been woke up to kids in my small small living room and me in my pj's looking like :censored2:! It's such an invasion of privacy, especially since none of the other mothers seem to be playing hostess.

    6)Bed time for them is 8:45 pm. I made it 9 pm but it takes them 15 to unwind.

    7) and last, if they take a sick day from school (usually not often) they cannot play outside when everyone else gets home.

    i feel as if these rules are so straight forward it makes me sick when they don't bother to respect me to obey them. then, I am here trying to be consistent with consequences, when I am tired, cranky, and hurting from 8 and a half hours of work.

    I know, I know,,,,, whining whining. I can't help it. I wish I had a husband to help. lol.
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Those are very reasonable rules!! In fact, they are very similar rules to mine as my girls were growing up...even more lenient and easy going, in fact. I must have been a real meanie.

    Hugs Renee~
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Sounds good.
    I hate it when the neighbor kids come by and hang around when I'm trying to get difficult child to do his homework. We now keep him after school every day for at least 1/2 hr in day care because he always does his homework there. Peer pressure and all that. Very cool ... I don't have to worry about it any more except for big papers or science projects.

    by the way, when I don't want my difficult child on the computer, I unplug the mouse and hide it. Now, if yours is going to earn it during the time you are asleep, that complicates things... hmmm... what to do ...
  11. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I'm trying to imagine my daughter following any rules while I slept. Nope, never would have happened. So, if your girls are even following half the rules, you're many steps ahead of many of us.

    Your rules are very reasonable. It is just going to be hard for you to enforce them because of your work schedule. Are you one who can be waken up and then go right back to sleep? If so, I'd suggest removing the keyboard and mouse from the computer and whatever you can from the TV so neither can be operated while it is homework/chore time. The girls can wake you up to get them when things have been completed. If you can't (I know I can't -- once awake I'm awake), then you're going to have to give the consequences when you wake up for broken rules.

    Check the school and see if there are any homework clubs. Those saved me when my daughter was younger. As was said, peer pressure is wonderful.

    I'd still vote that you take things like showers out of the equation. Yes, it is nice to have clean children but is it worth the arguing? My child loves to sleep in her clothes. Drives me crazy but I've learned to not say a word -- just not worth the arguing. At least she's now showering daily and, if I'd let her, it would be 3-4 times a day (we're in a drought so no go). At 10, a shower a week was a small miracle. I used to wash the car 2 or 3 times a week just to use it as an excuse to hose her down.

    If you haven't read The Explosive Child yet, I'd recommend that you do so. I found it extremely useful in helping me understand that some battles just weren't worth it. I think those of us who are single parents need all the help we can get to avoid some of the battles. We have double stress to begin with and when you add a special child into the mix, it quaduples at the very least.

    Don't worry about not being consistent. Just do the best you can. The more you work at it, the easier it becomes.
  12. sweetiegirlz

    sweetiegirlz New Member

    Thanks MeowB. that's funny about the shower thing. I guess I am so strict about it because, the two girls frankly smell like a boys locker room! It's weird their feet smell and everything! Then they wanna lay all over my bed in the clothes they wore all day out to recess, play, etc...ickkkkk.

    anywayz, this morning must have taken a toll. I had a freakin anxiety attack in Albertsons awhile ago. I'm on Celexa and klonapin for a loooonng time now, so was surprised. I was determined not to pass out in there,

    I do have the explosive child now and I'm reading it slowly because of work, errands, chores etc. but I'm reading! You betcha.

    thanks again.
  13. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I agree with Jo - There is ABSOLUTELY no reason to hate yourself or to feel guilty. I agree with everyone who said that the rules you made are reasonable and fair. They are very straightforward.

    Some of the others suggested that if it is too difficult for your difficult children to obey all of the rules right away, you might start with the one you feel is most important and add the others in gradually. If your difficult children aren't used to living by rules, the change might be very difficult for them all at once.

    I think that consistency is one of the most important elements needed to keep a household with difficult children running smoothly. If difficult children know what to expect, know the consequences for not following the rules, and know what the rewards are for obeying them, life will get easier. It takes time.

    Although consistency is hard for you, in my humble opinion, you need to make it a top priority. At first your difficult children will test their limits to see how much bad behavior you'll tolerate before you "cave" in. BE STRONG!!! Don't "cave" in. Things will probably get worse before they get better. Remember, your difficult children aren't used to consistency. By their very nature, they'll push you to your absolute limits because it has worked for them in the past. Once they realize you will not "cave" in, their behavior will improve. It happened in my house. And, I know it can happen in your house too.

    Hang in there. Let us know how things are going. I'll be thinking about you. WFEN

    P.S. I love Meowbunny's idea about having a "rule free day" every once in a while. It takes the pressure off and gives everyone a chance to relax a bit.