J.H. asks from Arden, NC on September 26, 2006
All My Kids Do Is Fight, I Need Help!
I am a single mom with 4 kids, my 14,9 and 7 yr old live with me and the 16 yr old is with his dad. All the 3 that live here do is fight, and i'm not talking normal sibling stuff, it starts the second they get up and ends after they go to sleep. I am pulling my hair out and ready to pack up and run away from home. One of the reasons my oldest doesnt live with me, or visit to often is because of the incesent fighting between the other 3. Its making us all miserable. Dont tell me to go to therapy because we have been for over a year. I am at my wits end. Any suggestions in how to cope. BTW, a little background on the kids 14 yr old is bi-polar, ADHD....9 yr old have an anxity disorder and depression and the 7 yr old is SEVERE ADHD and ODD ( oppisonial defiant disorder)
2 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Well i am greatfull for most of the repsonsesi received. Thank you for the advice. I have read almost all the books suggested....in fact maybe i should start a library of parting books i have bought LOL. I am still dealing with the constant fighting...and i just feel like crawling in a hole and dieing sometimes. I recently found out my therpist office is closing down as of oct 31...i am freaking out now! I guess things will work themselves out. And as for the structure in the household that some of you have mentioned i try my best for structue but with that many kids and only one parent its not always possiable. i am out numbered. Anyway i just wanted to say thanks.
G.M. answers from Wilmington on February 04, 2008
Well, my heart goes out to you. You stated that you have gone down the therapy road - since the diagnosis are as such - what about the meds? Right dosage? Are your kids angry? If so, about what?
One time I had my oldest (11 now) write down what she was angry about, what she could do to make her life healthier, her thoughts on how our family could be a team. It opened the gates of communication and we solved many issues in a short amount of time. I have no PHd but I do know if kids do not feel they have a voice, it can come out in a very negative ways towards the ones they love the most. It is no wonder you are about to run away. I hope and pray for peace in your home. I do not think it is impossible. Cut out of your life what is not a necessity - any thing that is burdening you that you can get rid of. You need to take care of you or no one will be taking care of your children.
2 moms found this helpful
L. answers from Charlotte on September 27, 2006
Are you a Christian? Are you aware of the spiritual side of life? It sounds like you have multiple spiritual problems going on in your family. There are several excellent churches and prayer rooms that could really help you if you are interested. There is a prayer center in North Davidson that is non-denominational and open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. I think. You could go and get prayer anytime, and if you want specific help, you could make an appointment. Write back to me if you are interested and I'll give you the details. God bless you, and I will pray for you. (If you are not in Charlotte, I can still tell you where to find prayer help/counseling if you are interested).
1 mom found this helpful
J.L. answers from Charlotte on September 27, 2006
i have 4 kids to.2 boys 2 grils. 15,11,8,9, my 15year old has adhd to.cant keep his hands to his slef.all my kids see a. therapy it helps me..to deal with it.and they have to do chores and outher things..ill pray for you.and your kids.we go to church that helps to..god loves you give it to him..he will help you..he did me. god bless you..J.
1 mom found this helpful
J.C. answers from Hickory on September 27, 2006
I to have this same problem. And I to have tried it all so i feel your pain. I have 5 children. the ages are 12, 12, 8, 6, and 4. My 12 ,8, and 6 yr old just moved back in with me from there dads. Where they had absolutly no discipline. Which makes it extremely diffcult. I dont have an anwser for you I to am searching for it. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone. If you need to talk or vent feel free to contact me..
L.S. answers from Asheville on September 27, 2006
I feel for you! Mine did the same thing for so long and still have a melt down at least every other day. I'm a single mom of 4, my oldest is 16, one 14, and 12 yr old twins. One of my twins is autistic w/ ADHD, and my 14 yr old is Ms. Drama queen. All 4 have dealt with depression off and on due to the divorce and what caused it, however; they are finally calming down. I've been where you are and wouldn't know exactly what to advise you of. I didn't allow TV, games, etc., when they would fight. I would sit mine in the living room side by side until they dealt with it, and I mean they would fist fight.
I have no clue whether this would work for you, but I did realize one thing: I had to be consistent, if I made the statement,"if you do that one more time ..........." I had to follow through immediately. Otherwise they walk all over you. Whatever your form of discipline, find the childs weekness (ex: videos) and take it, then stick to it. I just wish I knew something else to tell you. I'll keep you in my prayers, and remember: "This too shall pass".
S.B. answers from Spartanburg on September 27, 2006
I feel for you. I have five children so we've had our share of fighting.
I went to a seminar yesterday with Larry Koenig of Smart Discipline. It was excellent and his principles would work in your situation.
It has to do with sitting down and deciding on a few simple rules, figuring out what each child's favorite toys/activities/priviledges are. And then making a chart for each child to place on the refrigerator. Each chart has something like 10 blocks on it. The first few blocks just have a letter in them. The last five blocks have the letter and then also one priviledge listed in each block starting with a small one and the biggest one last.
Then you have a family meeting and explain the system. Make it simple and clear. Then they know exactly what you expect. Every time they break a rule you mark a square. So they get a few free passes. Then you get to blocks with priviledges and if they gets marks in them they lose whatever is in that block, like TV, computer games etc.
They may grumble and complain about it but if you do it consistently without threatening them they will get with the program.
This is just a very short summary of a 2 hour program. He has several books and a website. If you have any questions I'll try to answer them.
I'm sure that you are exhausted and emotionally drained. Hang in there.
A.H. answers from Spartanburg on October 03, 2006
I feel for you and I understand what your going through. I have 3 children. My oldest has ADHD and My youngest has ADHD,OD,and Bipolar. Its extremely difficult. Mine fight all day long. They are both on meds which helps some. But its really hard especially with my youngest.
D.J. answers from Spartanburg on September 27, 2006
Hi J.. I think Erin and the other Moms gave some really great advice. The only thing I'd like to add is this. If you can, try planning one day for each child to spend with just that child. I know this will not be easy with so much going on, but it will surely be worth it. Find someone to watch two while you take the third, and just go somewhere. It can be to the mall, the park, the skating rink, the mountains... somewhere that the child likes to be and would have fun with you. Spend that day talking with that child about anything and everything. Don't make the whole day about their problems, talk about other things too. I think you need to do this whole day thing (rather than just asking them at home) because when you do you are showing them that you care about them individually and are really tuned in to what they have to say. But at some point during the day, just ask that child point blank how he/she feels about your home life and what has been going on. Ask them what they think you can do to make things better, what they would like to see change in their siblings, and what they think THEY can do differently to make life better for them. I think this time will give the children a sense that you are plugged in and really care despite the limited amount of time an attention you are able to give them on a daily basis, and it will give them a sense of ownership in the problem. I know their individual emotional problems play a large roll in what is going on and those problems need to be addressed. But any child, no matter what emotional problems they have, wants to feel heard, understood and taken seriously. So do what you can, even for just that day, to make that child feel that way.
Then once you've gotten input from all three, sit them down together and talk about the plan you come up with to make some of the changes they have each said need to be made, and the new rules of the house. I really like the idea of the chart with blocks to mark off when each child breaks a rule, but I would suggest also having a chart with blocks to check off when they do something good like doing chores, taking care of animals, being kind to each other, being respectful to you, etc., with sometype of reward (extra time watching TV one night, choosing the meal for dinner one night, having a friend over, anything simple and preferable not related to money but still incentive for them). In other words, they need to be discouraged from bad behavior, but they also need to encouraged to show good behavior.
I also want to ask... where is the father in all of this? Has he offered to help at all? Perhaps he should be the one to take the two while you spend the day with one. That may be another large part of the problem if they do not have a strong father-figure helping to guide them. Even if he does not live in the same house, he still has a responsibility to help raise the children to be responsible, mature adults. That may be another conversation you need to plan on.
I would also like to suggest a couple of other resources. Dr. James Dobson's book "The New Strong-Willed Child" is an EXCELLENT parenting resource, whether your child is strong-willed or not. Also, check out "No Greater Joy Ministries" online at http://www.nogreaterjoy.org.
Good luck, and hang in there!