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[Solved] Falling apart

 
FinalOffset
(@FinalOffset)
Active Member Registered

Hi everyone, this is my first post and unfortunately it's going to be a big one.

I'm 27 years old and I've been married to my Wife (24) for just over a year. I have a 4yo Daughter and a 6yo son.
However my son is not biologically mine, They came to live with me when he was approx. 6 months.

Up until 24-36 months ago, everything was fine, however I've had to switch jobs twice since my daughter came along to try and improve our financial situation as we had to move to a bigger house to fit us all in. I now work 44 hours, 11 hour shifts for 4 days with 4 days off. Until 3 months ago, I was the only income provider and my Wife now works part time (8 hours a week).

Basically it boils down to this, my children have zero respect for me,

Everything I ask them to do is met with , "No", "I don't want to", "It's turn to do that" or I'm just flat out ignored.

Then when I start to lose my cool, My Wife yells at me telling me that I'm to strict and I need to back off.

Punishment in this house is restricted to a "Time Out" which is essentially them being stood in our hallway for a few minutes.

I have given them one or two smacks on the backside yes, because when I put them in time out and then bringing them out after a few minutes
usually has them reverting to what they were doing which put them there in the first place.

Today I totally lost it at the dinner table. We have major trouble getting him to eat anything.

He was pushing food around his plate so I told him to stop messing and to eat his Kievs,

Ignored.

I tell him again, eat your Kievs.

Ignored,

I tell him a third time, He turns to my Wife and says, "Mummy, what should I eat?".

I lost it. big time, slammed my hands down and shouted at him, resulting in me leaving the table and going upstairs.

Eventually my Wife comes upstairs, blaming me as per usual because our son has done nothing wrong again like he never does.

We are on the absolute verge of splitting up which is not what I want at all but "she doesn't know if she can live like this anymore."

What the hell can I do? It's wrecking our marriage and my relationship with both kids. I don't want to be invisible though!

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Topic starter Posted : 22/04/2015 12:01 am
MR SLIM
(@MR SLIM)
Noble Member Registered

I had to complete a 10 week parenting programme last year as part of a court order and it teaches you ways of dealing with situations like you have explained in your post, it's run by Family Links and it's called the "parenting puzzle" You can buy the Parenting Puzzle book which is defo worth a read if you have the time on your days off you could attend the actual course I think it would be really beneficial for you 🙂

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Posted : 22/04/2015 2:51 am
MotherofaFather
(@motherofafather)
Honorable Member Registered

I'm only a novice on here so others may say differently but the one thing that leapt out from your post was that you and your wife don't appear to be "singing from the same hymn sheet," in other words, you don't seem to be working in unison in the family environment and in front of the children.

Children will pick up very quickly if one parent says no and the other says yes, they will use this to their advantage to get what they want and play parents off against one another. When this happens the parents will invariably argue and it all escalates into a huge disagreement which then evokes all kinds of feelings, anger, hopelessness, despair etc..

I think if you and your wife can sit and talk about how you both feel and initially agree ( however hard it may be) to be united in front of the children it would be a good start. Disagree in private but in front of the children you must be seen to back each other up whatever the issue is at the time. Difficult to do maybe but there seems to be two types of parenting happening here and if you can close that gap and both of you agree more on how to bring the children up, I think everyone would be happier.

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Posted : 22/04/2015 2:58 am
Mojo
 Mojo
(@Mojo)
Illustrious Member Registered

Hi there

I'm sorry to hear you are struggling, in situations like this there are lots of issues at play and as MotherofaFather has said it will take both of you working together to start to get things back on track.

Hi everyone, this is my first post and unfortunately it's going to be a big one.

I'm 27 years old and I've been married to my Wife (24) for just over a year. I have a 4yo Daughter and a 6yo son.
However my son is not biologically mine, They came to live with me when he was approx. 6 months.

....I think you are both very young, your wife must have been 17 during her first pregnancy and you took on the responsibility for a baby at the very start of your relationship, when you should both have been going out and having fun together and getting to know one another. At this stage couples are laying down the building blocks for the future, your age and the fact that there was a young child in the mix prevented this. Then the arrival of a second child made this even more difficult.

Up until 24-36 months ago, everything was fine, however I've had to switch jobs twice since my daughter came along to try and improve our financial situation as we had to move to a bigger house to fit us all in. I now work 44 hours, 11 hour shifts for 4 days with 4 days off. Until 3 months ago, I was the only income provider and my Wife now works part time (8 hours a week).

The responsibilities of providing for a family can weigh heavily, money worries are one of the prime reasons for relationships breaking down. You have a lot of responsibility on young shoulders, you work long hours and things aren't great when you get home. Is it any wonder you are feeling the way you do.

Basically it boils down to this, my children have zero respect for me,

This is one of the sentences that stood out for me, your children are too young to understand the concept of respect and as MotherofaFather says, they are just reacting to what they see around them. Even in households where there is parental harmony, children will still push the boundaries, refuse to do as they are asked and ignore their parents. This is normal behaviour made worse by the fact that you and your wife are arguing in front of them.

Everything I ask them to do is met with , "No", "I don't want to", "It's
turn to do that" or I'm just flat out ignored.

This is fairly normal behaviour made worse by the fact that you and your wife are arguing in front of them. Try to alter the conversation you have with them, give them incentives for doing as you ask and explain to them calmly why you want them to do something. Introduce a star chart and explain that every time they are good and do as you ask they will get a star on their chart at the end of the day, and at the end of the week if they get a star for everyday, they will get a treat, it doesn't have to be expensive. Make the charts together and let them pick the colour of their star and stick it on the chart, this gives them ownership of it.

Then when I start to lose my cool, My Wife yells at me telling me that I'm to strict and I need to back off.

Once you lose your cool you've lost, it's so important to keep your calm to stop the situation escalating. It's important that you and your wife sit down together and work out some boundaries that you will both stick to. It's not unusual for parents to disagree on how to parent but if you talk it through away from the children you should find a compromise that can work for both of you. Showing disagreement in front of the children just makes it worse. You need to tell your wife how you feel, and listen to how it makes her feel, if you genuinely care about one another you should be able to work through this....talking is so important.

Punishment in this house is restricted to a "Time Out" which is essentially them being stood in our hallway for a few minutes.

At your children's age, there's little else you can do, a naughty step is effective if done with calmness and quiet control. If you are bad tempered and "out of control" at the point you remove them to the naughty step them its not going to work.

I have given them one or two smacks on the backside yes, because when I put them in time out and then bringing them out after a few minutes
usually has them reverting to what they were doing which put them there in the first place.

I personally don't agree with smacking, I think it displays a lack of control and to me it feels wrong. If they continue to be naughty after time out, you could try removing them to their bedroom, leaving them for a short time and then going in to talk to them about what has happened and why.

Today I totally lost it at the dinner table. We have major trouble getting him to eat anything.

If you are not in control, how can you expect to maintain control. Children refusing to eat is so common, we have a constant struggle to get my 7 year old grandson to eat.... but losing your temper will just make it worse. I always find distraction tactics and incentives work well. Use the star chart to reward them, give them a goal such as something they like, ice cream or fruit if they eat five more spoonfuls, negotiate with them.

He was pushing food around his plate so I told him to stop messing and to eat his Kievs,

Ignored.

I tell him again, eat your Kievs.

Ignored,

I tell him a third time, He turns to my Wife and says, "Mummy, what should I eat?".

He knows that he can create conflict and deflect the fact that he isn't eating his dinner by appealing to his mother, you are already showing anger, his reaction is learnt from his past experience, you need to change your reaction if you want him to change his.

I lost it. big time, slammed my hands down and shouted at him, resulting in me leaving the table and going upstairs.

Eventually my Wife comes upstairs, blaming me as per usual because our son has done nothing wrong again like he never does.

We are on the absolute verge of splitting up which is not what I want at all but "she doesn't know if she can live like this anymore."

What the hell can I do? It's wrecking our marriage and my relationship with both kids. I don't want to be invisible though!

You really need to start talking, try arranging a babysitter and going out for a meal, it's always easier to talk over dinner and its less likely to escalate when you're in a restaurant. Try not to blame, ask her to work with you, ask her what she would like to happen and what you can do to make things better and then tell her what she could do to help you. Remind her that parenting is a partnership that works best when both parties work together. Apologise for losing it and ask her to help you make the changes and vice versa.

If none of this works you might like to think about marriage counselling, you can even do this online or over the phone these days. Here's a link to the Relate website.

www.relate.org.uk

Finally be kind to yourself, try not to get stuck on the things that you can't change and concentrate on the things that you can. Talking and getting things off your chest helps too. Best of luck 🙂

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Posted : 22/04/2015 3:25 pm
TheIncredidad
(@TheIncredidad)
Active Member Registered

As the post above suggests, you need to be a united front in front of the children. Given the current strains, it may be best to try and arrange a day of just you and your wife together.. have a few hours just relaxing but then you also need to sit down and work out a strategy together to get the children to listen to you too.

I think it's perfectly natural if the children spend 80% of their time with their mum, they look to her as disciplinarian and nurturer. Simple things would help like your wife, maybe saying to the children if they go to her like at the dinner table they Did. Just saying, "do what your dad says" it won't happen overnight but it's all about getting the children used to you as a authority figure too.

the reason my parents stayed together for the time they have is that regardless of what it was with all 6 of their children. They backed eachother and then waited until we were in bed to have their disagreement. sometimes we heard it, others we didn't.

Make sure the children see a human side to you too. Take them out just you and them, spoil them and if need be, approach discipline in a different way. With my daughter, it's a case of removal and explanation, she goes into the naught corner or step. I explain what she has done wrong and when she comes and apologises, she Comes off. Usually quicksmart because her brother is then the one having all the fun. And it works the same vice versa.

Make sure if you do something wrong, upset them or even knock into them accidentally. You apologise and give them a hug. Set the example you want to be followed.

Set out a day a week to have a nice date night or just some quality time with the wife. Parenting is hard, but it's harder when you feel alone doing it.

You'll probably find that she has some things she would rather you did different, vice versa and also, you'll probably find you both want the same thing. To be happy and to make the kids happy too.

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Posted : 22/04/2015 3:30 pm
FinalOffset
(@FinalOffset)
Active Member Registered

Sorry for taking so long to reply, I've had my hands full to say the least.

Thank you for all your responses, they all make a lot of sense. As you say, I need to keep my calm but unfortunately this isn't something that comes naturally to me.

I'm not sure if it's hereditary or not but my mother was badly tempered and we were separated from her just before I hit my teen years due to physical abuse.

But it's weird, for time consuming or challenging tasks such as assembling circuitry I have lots of patience but then again, the components don't argue back :p

However, we are trying to assemble some sort of timetable for me and the wife to have some time to ourselves, it's just a question of work rotas.

We have agreed to try a "Naughty Board" approach.

For every time they say no or fail to comply we will add it to the tally on the board, a tally for each child. If a child has 10 more marks in a day there will be no "prize" at the end of the week so we'll see how that go's.

I've also enrolled in a stress management class to see if that will help.

Again, thanks for all your advice.

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Topic starter Posted : 26/04/2015 12:03 am
Mojo
 Mojo
(@Mojo)
Illustrious Member Registered

...that's good news! It looks like you are talking and trying to find solutions.

The point of a star chart which rewards good behaviour is that it is positive, and each time a star is added it helps to encourage the child to work towards the treat at the end of the week. They become proud of their board and their achievements and look forward to adding their stars and seeing their progress.. I worry that a naughty board, which highlights failings and negatives and culminates in a taking away of a treat would not have the same impact and would indeed be counter productive....I doubt they would look forward to another tally on the board and it would become a thing of dread for them.

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Posted : 26/04/2015 12:17 am
actd
 actd
(@actd)
Illustrious Member

I agree entirely with Mojo - I think a naughty board is not a good idea as the time it gets used is when there's bad behaviour, if there is good behaviour, then there is no positive reinforcement of that at all.

On the other hand, a good behaviour board is an instant reward if there is good behaviour, in that the child sees a star being put on the board (or better still, puts it on themself) and can see it building towards a reward, and even if they don't make it the first week, I'm pretty sure they will the second, because they will have seen how lcose they got. My son went to a nursery 20 years ago and they used one of these for him - the results were almost immediate - his whole attitude changed within the space of 2 weeks, so I'm a great fan of this idea.

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Posted : 30/04/2015 12:05 am
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