My children are driving me bonkers. We need help. I'm going to list some scenarios and you, dear readers, are going to tell me how to handle them. I need strategies and consequences. I need activity ideas for children who won't quietly read or color or play with dolls/trucks/balls/friends. I am seriously at my wit's end. People smile and nod and pat me on the head when I say this, but they truly have no concept of the bedlam that goes on in this house. You probably don't want to know, and I hardly dare admit it, but I am so desperate for help that I'm going to try it.
Tell me what to do about:
A. Kids who hurt each other--pinching, punching, kicking, scratching, shoving, hair-pulling, physically intimidating, etc.
B. Kids who flatly refuse to comply with instructions. "Heck no!" "I don't have to." "No way." "You can't make me." "See if you can stop me." This is particularly difficult with the child who is taller than I am.
C. Kids who run away from home, either around the block or for more than 20 minutes. Kids who hide outdoors when called (and think it's funny).
D. Kids who say bad words and are fully aware of what they are saying. They mean what they say and have no remorse.
E. Kids who do any/all of the above when I don't see it happen.
F. Kids who have over-the-top, clearly dramatized, loud, insane scream-fests over the smallest things.
G. Kids who tattle relentlessly and police each other on their bad behavior.
H. Kids who terrorize each other so much when they have babysitters that sometimes we can't trust them (the kids) enough to leave them.
Just so you know, revoking privileges like watching TV and playing with friends doesn't deter bad behavior at all. I have tried giving chores, charging money, and confining the kids in their bedrooms. Those things work in the moment, but don't prevent the same things from happening over and over and over and over again.
So, in case you were wondering, this is real life at my house. We need help.