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Help with a violent child!!!!!! September 11, 2004 7:28 PM

I've taken on the overwhelming task of being a full time day nanny to my nephew and 2 neices. I love them to death and thier mother wants them out of daycare. There is a challenge though. My nephew is 5, and is little copy cat. Sadly he's picked up all the bad traits of his father, who is now out of the state. Traits like screaming at his sisters, hitting, pushing, kicking. More than a few times we have feared for the girls safety from him. And now the oldest girl, who is 2, is mimixking him. She has begun pushing and hitting her little sister, 7 months old. We all agree that getting them out of daycare and into a closer loving enviroment will help, as well as counceling. However there is a long waiting list for counceling and they've been on the list for several months now. As the day I begin looms closer I feel flabbergasted. I've been reading everything I can find but I still don't know where to begin it seems. How do I deal with 2 violent children and 2 tiny babies all in one house??? I only hope that I'm up for this challenge.Any advise or resourses would be greatly appriciated!!!! It doesn't help that I'm not the mother and can't fully enforse some rules. I say no TV and no violent toys. Period. However the mother allows TV and any toys they want. Both run arround with toy guns "shooting" everyone and everything. I need some ideas fast! Thanks a bunch to everyone in advance!!! I know I'll get some great ideas!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 September 12, 2004 5:06 AM

One thing my son learned about rules... there can be more than one set! My mom had a set that was very close but not quite to mine, then enter daycare where he learned a third set of rules. Rather than be confusing he has learned that this difference in rules happens a lot! They were little things like at daycare they couldn't use the word butt for their rear end and they couldn't say 'shut up'... it was considered a curse word, even if said nicely. We're much more liberal at home... he knows it's okay to say "crap" at home but not school. Things like that. There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with YOU coming up with house rules. See? They're not your rules per se, they're the HOUSE'S rules. As long as everyone within the house is there, they must abide by the house's rules. Make out a list of rules and let the kids know them. Don't make them out as you go along, get them out up front. There's absolutely no reason why you should have to settle for such aggressive behavior. I used the "house rules" thing when I was a stepmom in my first marriage. My ex's ex wife told me I couldn't tell their daughter (my stepdaughter) what to do... so I made up house rules, then the HOUSE told her. Heheheh... they were rules everyone had to follow, regardless of age, gender, familial status. Something to keep in mind... it's YOUR house, YOUR rules and if he's 5 he'll have to learn the rules of yet another place soon enough.. school, and believe you me, they won't settle for rudeness or aggression. How often do we hear "your child is such an angel" from folks outside our house, yet at home they let it all hang out? LOL.. well, it's the rules and the fact that they're dealing with someone not their parents. Often times kids know they can be pretty rotten to their parents and they're still loved. Other folks, are wild cards... they aren't guaranteed... so their behavior might be different that way too. Take it one day at a time. Do NOT be afraid to utilize what you need to to maintain the safety of all the children. If need be take it one hour or one minute at a time. I don't know that I have any other advice...  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 September 12, 2004 2:38 PM

I think you should make it clear to the children's mother that if she wants you to care for her children, then your limits must be respected. No tv, no guns, etc.  [ send green star]
 
Summer September 20, 2004 8:14 AM

How has it been going?  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
You might want to check this out September 22, 2004 11:26 AM

Hi! Although I can't imagine taking care of 4 kids, I thought I would try to help you out. The Dr. Phil website has helped me in the past with some parenting tips and tricks, and so I thought I would pass it on to you. http://www.drphil.com/advice/advice_landing.jhtml?section=Parenting One thing he said once, on one of his shows, was that a parent should try to avoid confrontation with the child, but if it comes down to it, then the parent (or whomever) SHOULD NEVER BACK DOWN. This basically means, that if a child can sway you once into giving in on a rule or something, then they won't take you seriously the next time. Kids always test the rules, everyday, every hour. They test parents, teachers, caregivers, to see what they can get away with. In a way, I think they test to see how consistent the adult will be, and once they sense a weak link in the chain, then they attack it. The basic rule to any discipline is 'BE CONSISTENT' The same rule, the same consequence...EVERY TIME! Two books I have and refer to a lot are: 1. DISCIPLINE: 101 Alternatives to Nagging, Yelling, and Spanking...Ways to stop hurting your kids and start helping them. By 'The Parenting Resource Group, with Dr. Alvin Price and Jay A Parry. 2. IT WORKS FOR US! Proven Child-care tips from experienced parents across the country--for newborns to ten-year olds. I will look through these and see if I can find you any tips! Good LUck!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Yes, & Yes, & Yes September 23, 2004 12:30 AM

Great ideas, put them in your toolbox *grin* Children are *excellent* at psyching out the rules. You might need some help, though for safety factors for the babies. Sometimes a local gramma-type, teen, or college student needing an internship can pitch in. I often had my mom out to help. I raised three boys of my own with 'issues' like you describe. I could hardly go to the bathroom without someone getting hurt. It resembled the raising of someone else's kids due to X's problems and court hanging over us -- had to be very creative in the rules, structure, consequences. It might help if you proactively think of it as creative and kind boundary-setting...sounds like you are proactive... I acknowledged within myself what I had and did not have control over. I don't try to control or pretend to control things which really aren't in my domain. Do you need an example? Hmm, if you are caring for them at their own house and the toys are all there...you're not in control of the toys. If you are caring for them at your house, you can exercise more control over the environment. I did not have control over what they ate unless it wasn't available...I *do* have control over the transportation and fun excursions...see? Dunno if there is school too -- we have a homeschooling thread on this forum... With toy guns -- I could not prevent them but I insisted on safety rules just the same as 'real' guns. No pointing them at any person, ever, period. Nor pets, for that matter. There was no leeway in these gun-safety practices and all 'weapons' of any type were immmediately removed for a breach of safety rules. There are many factors besides childishness affecting behavior. You might find that your love and attention are sufficient. You might need to be researching vaccines, soy and meat/dairy hormones and food additives... or mold or other allergies...the list goes on! You're in my thoughts n prayers ~Kit  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 September 24, 2004 6:14 AM

Wow Summer, you are amazing! I hope you are able to remember that when the kids are trying your patience. I agree that the Mom needs to be on your side. After all, you are doing an amazing thing by agreeing to bring her children into your home and nurture them. Also, she must approve of you/your parenting style, etc. if she is choosing you over daycare (or is it Dad's decision?) I agree that although consistency is always good, the 5-year-old is old enough to learn that different behavior is acceptable in different places. If you start him off with "strict" rules, it will be easier than trying to enforce them later. (By strict I mean firm, not restrictive). I would definately recommend setting up a "time-in" corner in your house. (Maybe a cubby with blankets and pillows under a card table with sheets around three sides) with some books and a flashlight or lacing cards/coloring books or something similar depending on his interests) If you see him starting to escalate his behavior, he could go there to chill out. Another idea would be to place his too small/chokable toys in a sectioned off area of the room/house (use baby gates like superyard). Obviously you wouldn't let the little ones in there and he would have a special place where the little ones wouldn't be "bugging him" As to your neice, I would try enlisting her to help you with the babies (bringing diapers, if you use them, etc). Teach her nice touch such as putting lotion on the babies legs (With my bigger girl, I tell her she can't touch her brothers head or chest or groin but can do his arms legs and occasionally back). Hopefully, your nephew will also want to participate but I would leave it up to him to ask, so that you can use it as a reward for good behavior. Hopefully your neice will start to emulate you instead of her brother. I would also ask him to model good behavior for the other ones (such as sitting down while eating) but be careful or he will think HE can enforce your rules. One final note, as much as you love your family, I would be tempted to set a firm "trial period" and ask Mom and Dad to have alternate child care arranged in case it proves to be too difficult/dangerous to keep all the kids together. I would hate to see you in a position where you felt like your little guy was unsafe but kept watching the older kids because there was no good alternative in place. Good Luck; keep us informed (if you can find the time!) B*B, Jana  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
so far.... September 28, 2004 8:38 PM

Thanks everyone for the great comments! here's how its going so far: I'm being pretty strick at first. I'm laying out the rules, and not letting him slip by at all. of course he's complaining, but as soon as he adjusts then we can move on and begin to have a lot more fun. For punshiment time out he sits in a corner with a timer. It seems to help him to have the timer with him. For calm down time out I have him sit at the kitchen table and draw, color, and flip through old magazines. We've had a few bouts, but its getting better. I'm explaining what I will and will not accept from him. The no guns is a tough one. I tell him over and over again that i don't like guns and not to play lik that. Most of the time he apologises and says he forgot, and usually I believe him. Sometimes he tries to out-logic me. Police men carry guns so they're not dangerous. My neice is getting better. I think being at home she's feeling safer. become a little mommy herself. Her mother doesn't breastfeed, but after watching me enough she now "feeds" her dolls by putting them to her chest and gigling. She thinkns its amazing and always has to get close and watch. When I take care of the babies she copies with her own dolls. There have been some rough spots, and a lot more that we need to work out. Right now my biggest thing is explaining to my newphew that he is only 5 and cannot act the way he acts sometimes. Like trying to yell at his sisters to do what he wants or else he'll spank them, or dragging them off to their rooms. We're trying. The mom is ok with most of my ideas, enough of them at least. Right now we're trying baby sign language. Not just as a way to talk, but also it seems to have a calming effect. The dad, well he's an "old school" parent. Spare the rod spoil the child. I don't think I have ever heard him actually talk to his children, its always yelling. He sees nothing wrong with the way they actand is only willing to let me watch them if i charge less than the daycare. Hey, a girl's gotta make some money too! LOL So its hit and miss around here. Hopefully our aim will be getting better. Thanks again everyone for the great advice! Summer  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 September 29, 2004 2:43 PM

I highly recommend the book _How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk_. It suggests alternatives to punishments/time-outs.  [ send green star]
 
Gun play October 25, 2004 8:53 AM

Wow--it sounds like you are working very hard with those kids and finding some solutions that work! I highly recommend "Playful Parenting" for some ideas about the boy's gun play, both strategies for dealing with it and possible reasons for it. I also think that Aletha Solter's "Tears and Tantrums" might be a helpful resource. These two methods complement each other nicely. The tears and tantrums idea is that we all need to release emotion sometimes and when we don't get to release with tears, we find other ways (whining, tantrums, etc.) to leak these bad feelings out. Playful parenting uses creative play to help kids express themselves and their needs in their favorite mode--play. I hope these are helpful suggestions in addition to everything else folks have said. -Kirsten mom to Zane 4/29/03 b/b twins edd 2/22/05  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
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