I should say We are losing our patience. Actually my husband lost his earlier this year. I have been the parent with the patience. For over 8 years I have been proud of the fact that almost nothing would frustrate me. I always felt a lot of joy being with my kids. It is devastating to feel that slipping away.
The fun we used to have is really becoming overshadowed with this strong desire to break and waste and harm things all the time. We used to bounce right back after a little diversion into destruction but now it happens so many times a day that there almost isn’t time to bounce back and have fun again. We have done everything we know how to do, and nothing has helped us more than just a little bit here and there.
We are hoping someone here has 3 or more high energy kids and has found a way to deal with unkindness and destruction. My two youngest have always been attachment parented. Carried, deeply connected and co-everything.
After learning about radical unschooling last year, we worked extremely hard, especially this last summer and fall to focus on deep, no judgments, down on the floor connection with lots of options and solutions. We are on a first name basis with our local dollar and thrift stores. Saturday mornings were always garage sales up until just a couple months ago. Lots of options here.
We basically ignored our housework and much of our social life and played with the kids for months. Meeting needs as they came up helped stop the destruction. But I think it was because we were right there to head it off and find a fast solution, not because they learned peacefulness or empathy or wanted to keep the house safe because we explained why.
The occasional unkind behavior to us, siblings and our pets continued. And there are some things that even though we firmly say no like climbing the pantry shelves they do it anyway several times a day. The shelves and contents have fallen and they experienced the real life consequence we warned them about. They do it anyway.
It seems like the more energy we put into finding options the more they think it’s funny to do things that are unkind or destructive. I just walked the house and counted 5 holes in the sheetrock. Our kids seem to find great joy in destroying or disrupting. The more you explain why it’s harmful to another or dangerous to oneself the more they want to do it. If they would only go outside with the items we have purchased that can be destroyed.
I don’t want to put all of our furniture in storage to keep them from stabbing it with everything hard or sharp they can get their hands on. We have conservatively 15 solutions that they are welcome to explore to meet whatever need they have for that. Including a half piece of sheetrock. They know this and do not want it, I think because it does not bring the gasp and look of horror and eventual heartbreak when we find they have destroyed yet another valuable household item.
I don’t want to get rid of the dog that I had before I had any kids. But he is old and cannot take the abuse. I cannot be everywhere at once and therefore he gets kicked and poked almost every day. He got it in the eye today and was down whimpering and pawing it. I cried. It’s so frustrating to live like this.
I need to be open here and admit that I cry several times a week lately when I come back to a room after being absent for 5 minutes to find unbelievable messes or damage. I don't think the human nervous system was designed to handle this much constant chaos. How many times do you offer options or ask them to Stop before you take some serious action? If you did take serious action, what would that action be? The soft fluffy sit down and talk about it or put it away unschooling stuff I read about does not work for us. I am out of ideas.
PS. I really want to explain everything we as parents have done, to paint a better picture of our lives so to speak, but that would take too long and my frame of mind is a little off right now. I can only say that we have done a lot of work on identifying underlying needs and deepening our connections because everything we read and everyone we have talked to points to that first. This has been going on intensely for at least a year so we have been through a lot of trial and error.
Last but certainly not least I wanted to add my sincere apology for bringing a negative post to start the new year. My hope is that the ideas we get here will make 2009 a turning point in my young families lives and maybe many others as well. Thank you everyone that participates for this place to learn better parenting ideas.