I was raised in a very strict JW home. Some of it was downright abusive. Now I am a mother with 4 children. I tend to not follow through on punishments because I am so afraid of making my children feel the same way I did as a child. So of course they are walking all over me. I have tons of health problems and dealing with the constant bickering isn't helping things. I hold in all my frustration and then just seem to blow up. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
Help needed with kids
Well, I don't know for real what to say, cause every kids are different (I feel so lucky with mine that I'm affraid that It couldn't be the same with an other one ... I'm not patient at all).
But I don't think that striking/spanking is the key ... the key is to be realiable for the kids, so that they believe in you / take you seriously, when you say I love you and when you say you bother me or you stink ... you have to be confident in yourself you are there mother. Easy to say I know (also you have 4 kids ... wow that's a lot already ... congrats and carry on ...)
Providing boundaries and structure for children is NOT abusive. Those are two things that they desperately need. Letting children run wild and being indulgent or passive, however, and not providing them with an appropriate framework, is neglectful... and some people might consider that "abuse by omission".
There are lots of good parenting books available, but I strongly suspect that you need to deal with the past and the scars it left with you before you can make the child-rearing advice feel "right" to you.
Dr. Phil isn't everyone's cup of tea, but he has a book out now called Family First. He not only talks about appropriate discipline and structure for children, but he also teaches parents how to discipline effectively, so that children know that you mean business without ever having to lay a hand on them to do so. There's some really neat child psychology at work in his suggestions, and the trick to getting this stuff to work is to be consistent 100% of the time.
This book also deals with your own legacy - the effect of your parents' discipline style - and how to put the past behind you rather than remaining a prisoner to it, and become confident in how you raise your own children in spite of the way your own parents mistreated you.
Don't do this! My mother becdame a jw when I was 13, & I had one hell of a time. I refused to go back after age 15.5. But this meant that I was not allowed to participate in sports, had to sneak to the mall with my real, "worldly" friends & it was just a total hassle. I was NOT priority, I was about numberm 10 on the list!
So I spoiled my daughter. Made sure she had the nice clothes, all the lessons her heart desired, to my financial detriment sometimes. I became a taxi. In some ways, it did her good. She was excellent at a number of sports & was the president of her senior class. This all helped her get a better deal at college. But at times, it was a hardship on us, financially & just physically.
But it also was a hard lesson for her to learn that now she lives in a dorm, om isn't going to do all her running of errrands, & she is sort of another brick in the wall now. Her personality caused her to once again be involved in student government, sports, etc. at college, but she did have to awaken to reality there.
Don't spoil your kids! You can overcompensate for your crappy jw childhood way too much, & teach the kids a different, wrong lesson. Just be reasonable in your approach. I have another xjw friend that was raised in the cult, & she has a daughter the same age as mine, did the same thing, & has had some trouble too. That kid is turning out good now also, but we inadvertantly caused our kids some problems by overcompensating.
I tend to not follow through on punishments because I am so afraid of making my children feel the same way I did as a child.
This is just the trap I fell into. I didn't want to hurt my kids like I was hurt, so I went way too far in the other direction.
You MUST follow through with consequenses. This is the whole key. The consequenses do not have to be, and should not be, abusive or terrible, but they must be CONSITENTLY inforced.
You do not have to yell at them. You do not have to hit them. You do not have to try to guilt them into things.
You do have to make sure the children know that you love them, AND, if they do A... B WILL happen. Everytime. The moment A happens, no matter how tired you are, B will happen. This is the hard work of the parent. But it will pay off. Your children will thank you.
They have to know the rules,
They have to know the conseqences for breaking the rules.
It is not easy at first to change these patterns you are talking about, especially when you came form homes like ours! We don't know what this kind of loving, consistent parenting looks like! But you can do it! And it will work and you will feel better and your kids will feel better.
Being consistent every time, all the time seems like alot of work. But really it much more exahusting to do things the old way.
Parenting classes. They are offered many places. I can't recommend them enough.
If you don't learn how to do this now, it will get worse. Much, much worse. Your children are depending on you!
You can do it!!!
WELCOME TO THE BOARD!! Please tell us your JW story sometime!
(PS Have you ever watched "Nanny 911" on Fox Tuesday nights? Good show about parenting problems and solutions! Will give you hope! )
I don't believe in hitting kids either. But consistency is best, & not making the kid/kids feel that they are the center of the universe is best. Kids are spokes in the wheel, the main hub should be the parents.
I have 4 kids also - aged 5 to 18 ! I think (yes think!) I have finally gotten it right after alot of bad years. I was great at letting my kids get me to a boiling point and then I would throw out the worst punishment I could think of - I didnt spank, just would randomly yell at the top of my lungs "YOUR GROUNDED FOR A MONTH!". We all knew that was a joke! They would basically laugh at me and my punishment, I would stomp off all angry and embarassed because I knew THEY knew it was all a joke and that I'd let them walk all over me in the long run. So I finally sat down and wrote out different punishments that were reasonable and that I knew would have an effect on them. I carried it in my pocket for a month or so and everytime one of them did something that needed to be punished, I would pull it out and pick an appropriate one. I did not back down! The biggest part was that I didnt ARGUE it with them! Before we would argue like mad...you know, because I wanted to be a reasonable parent and let them "understand why" I was punishing them. No more of that! I would tell them flat out what the punishment was...and I was very explicit that I would not discuss it another minute with them. If they argued it, I would say something like Did you not hear me the first time? If you bring it up again, I'm adding another punishment. After each of them earning themselves one or two more punishments on top of the original one, they stopped arguing with me after that. And I stuck by what I said! I'm happy to say that, other than with the 5 year old, I really dont have problems with my kids anymore. And what I get from the youngest is just purely due to her age. I think after all these years, I've finally gotten it! Yea! Good luck to you...remember, you're the parent!! I had to keep reminding myself of that.
Consistency is the key.
Parenting is tough, no question about it. I think all of us remember something about our parents' discipline that we didn't like.
My mom had a hard time being consistent...and we walked all over her. I never realized that until I saw my youngest siblings doing the same thing. She has been able to reign them in a bit better now.
I have five kids, two of them step. The hardest thing for me was that I was too harsh sometimes. I don't mean with physical punishment. There have been some light spankings here and there, but rare, and never above (or below) a certain age. My biggest challenge was getting it through MY head that I need to make sure that my discipline was consistent.
What works with my kids mostly is putting privillages and responsibilities in order. If they don't do their homework, they are not allowed certain privillages. If they bring home a bad report card, then they lose privillages that may be distracting them from school work. I have really REALLY been trying the last 4 or 5 months to be very consistent. So far, it seems to be working, My oldest is working hard in school, and his grades and attitude reflect it. My two stepdaughters give me the impression that they think I am being fair with them.
Of course, my three year old is nuts and putting me through the wringer...I working on that one!
Over all, we have pretty good kids, and we are lucky. I still have a LOT to work on. For example, I am having to remind them too much to do their chores. We talked about putting up a chore chart, and that they need to be do them with out being asked all the time.
The biggest thing that has helped me is stepping back, taking a deep breath and reminding myself of two things:
1. I am not perfect
2. my kids are not perfect
for a while I tried a real hard nose, hardliner tactics...and it just backfired. The kids were miserable, and felt picked on. When I realized that, it took me aback. I want them to be responsible, but not feel like they have to be little adults. I also would rather be the mom than the best friend. I have seen a few parents do that, especially ones that had a hard childhood. I think that is the biggest mistake. You should always be a mother first and friend second. Don't let them walk over you. Try to set some bounderies. You don't have to start with everything at once. Pick one, say maybe enforcing the bedtimes, and take it from there,
Hang in there! you will make it. Just remember that if you love your child you will have to discipline them. Take it one step at a time.
Don't be afraid to contact parenting groups for help. Sometimes you get into contact with these groups through your child's school.