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cant control 5 kids - help
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cant control 5 kids - help

I am a mother of 2 girls. I am with a guy who has 3 kids. The ages of the kids are 6, 4.5, 4, 3, and 1.5 I stay at home with all of them so my bf can go to work. His kids have had a rough life with their mother, she abused them trumendously and now we have behavior issues all the time here. At first it was just stealing food, cuz she didn't feed them. Now it's progressing into lying, stealing, and hurting the others in the family. I can't take it any more. His kids don't listen 6, 4.5 and 3 no matter what I tell them they say ok, then do the opposite of what i said to do. My 4 year old is now not listening and following in their footsteps. I have tried listening to their problems and anything they want to talk about, I have yelled and spanked. Nothing is working. Everything to these kids is a game. THey think it's funny or just don't care about anything. I don't know what to do, I can't get them to listen and do what i ask of them, they ignore me and they just don't care. When you are saying something serious about doing something or to stop hurting the baby she just smiles. I can't stand it anymore!! and advice on helping them listen better and mind, or helping them care about themselves or others would be greatly appreciated! Just today, 2 of his kids were running in the street and didn't care that I told them not to and that it wasn't safe. I went to the store and the oldest tried stealing from walmart! while we are in the car, all they do is play fight like pulling hair, hitting, slamming heads into the door, pulling down pants, everything and more that annoys you while you drive. only ten times as bad.
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154929_tn?1196191338
If they were abused and it is documented--they need to get some help professionally first---they also may feel if they do these things--daddy will get rid of this girl to and take care of us...they have a lot of resentment in them--they have probably grown up with no rules and it sounds like it didn't matter to their mother what they did--so now they feel as if whatever they do you should not care either---but see if you can get professional help for all of you...you are in a tough postion.
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Avatar_f_tn
I agree with teko - get out while you can!  Your children must be the first priority in your life and it sounds if life with this guy will only go from bad to worse!
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Avatar_n_tn
You didn't mention your boyfriends role in your situation other than he works. Other than taking financial responsability, is he also taking an active role in the child rearing? Is he supporting you in the decisions you make for the children? I grew up in an abusive insecure home and as a young teenager went to live with my grandparents. Even though I was much older, the adjustment was beyond difficult. Since the kids are so young, professional help is something that should be looked into. Since it is expensive, look into County Services or see if your area has a Public Health Nurse Program who can provide information on low cost services. You really want to get this taken care of asap. The longer you wait the more difficult it will be to be resolved. I wish you all the luck in the world.
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Avatar_n_tn
Their father has had a problem childhood as well. Their mother has no part in their lives, and for me I'd prefer it just cuz they've been thru so much already. I feel that I can help the kids, I do have an associates degree in early childhood education and I know what will happen if the kids ever had to go back to their mother. I know that if they do they'll have the same kind of childhood as their dad had. He basically didn't have any rules, his mom smoked pot and did drugs all the time, so he was a trouble maker. Once he had kids, he changed, he's responsible and he does help with the raising of the children. But he also works in the oil field, so he is gone much of the time. Usually works at least 5 days, and when he does get his 2 days off sometimes he has to stay over night the day before he's off so he only gets about a day and a half off with us. He leaves early in the mornings, and usually doesn't get off untill after the kids are in bed. So I'm starting to wonder if they are acting out again because they don't get to see him very often. I agree that counseling would be best for the children but I'd like it to be a family counseling thing and since he's hardly home that makes it diffucult for him to really participate in any of it. We communicate a lot about everything, and I tell him what I'm doing and what happens during the day. We were both raised by being spanked when we were bad, I know he's been beaten by his step-father. Some things that are common sense to me, he doesn't already know  when it concerns the kids. Like sometimes he messes with them a little rough, or talks to them in a strange way, kinda harsh... but I guess that's how he grew up, and what he's been around and how he's treated the kids since birth so they are used to it, and it doesn't seem weird or wrong to them. We have used spanking a lot when they do something bad, but it doesn't work, and I know that it doesn't, but I don't know what else to do. If they would just listen a little better things would be easier!

I don't think that leaving him is the answer. I mean we have all had a lot of changes in the past year or more, but if we work together maybe it'll all work out. just finding a way to get them to listen and care about what's happening is the hardest job I've had.  Their dad does support the decisions that I make for the children. Like yesterday after running in the street, almost stealing from walmart, and then to jumping on the bed. In which his middle child is accident pron, once fell off the bed into the door handle cuz it was against the bed, she fell into it and got 7 staples in her head. They don't learn from doing stupid things and for some reason don't learn when they get caught for lying and stealing things, in which they get caught all the time. The thing with his kids, is that they figure you out real quick! The oldest had told my sister once that if she looked me in the eye, that ment she wasn't lying to me... so it's hard sometimes to tell if she's lying or not. Their mother was a person who lyed all the time, and cheated on my bf. In fact they don't really know which kids are his or which ones not. She also has a daughter my youngests age living with her. I fear for her safety! I'm trying a new schedule thing to see if it works, but then again i think back and wonder if it's worth my time to plan out things, and keep them busy, cuz they won't appreciate it anyways... maybe I try and see what happens.

Not as stressed as yesterday, and today going a little better, but know I'm at the point of breaking... hard to handle all these kids, keep house clean, cook and all the other little things that have to be done
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Avatar_n_tn
Oh I forgot to add.... to the guy who said my life will go from bad to worse with this guy. He's the best thing that's ever happened to me... the love of my life... the one. And we don't have a bad relationship, we have a very good one, we communicate a lot about everything and we are both frustrated and don't know what to do with his children. He agrees that there is something wrong and it needs fixed... but then again it's harder fixing someone else's mistake. The kids' mom is the one who did this to them, we just need to figure out a way to make life better for them and less stressful for us!
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Avatar_n_tn
Yeah, good advice... another adult should abandon them (people continue to remind me of why the world is the way it is).  Thank goodness there are people out there like you Foam970, who are willing to put a little effort into raising children.  They'll thank you for hanging in there when they get older.  Did you ever watch that show, Nanny 911?  Maybe getting one of those charts like she always used to have chores, alone time, bedtime, mealtime, etc., would help smooth things out.  It CAN be done.  Get a lot of cooking big meals done on the weekend to heat up during the week.  Have the older ones (6 and 5?) help sort the laundry.  You just need to get organized, and make bedtime at 7:30!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Dear foam,

All respect to teko, but if you are in this situation and you are married to this man, I agree with just4fun.  Please tell me you are married and not living together, because that would be the first thing to address there.  I will assume you are married.

There are websites that offer great advise on behavior management.  Try a teacher website.  JimWrightonline is one you might want to try.  If you need the link I will post it - it is for teachers but educates parents as well.  

Be consistent.  NEVER threaten.  Don't yell and get upset. Be calm but dole out punishment like Mary Poppins doling out medicine.  Be firm and be reliable.  You need to summon God's strength and be the solid piece in their lives for once - think of all the turmoil they have had to endure in this short time on this earth.  They want and need boundaries and kids feel safe when they know there are boundaries.  Take away privileges, desserts, etc. Motivate them with food (given their history, this should be a big way to motivate them).  "If you all follow the rules we can make homemade pizza for dinner tonight" - that sort of thing.  

God Bless you and and God will give you the power to raise these babies.
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Avatar_n_tn
While their mom was abusing them, Steve was here in colorado living with his sister untill he could afford to go get the kids. He was away for 5 months, then when he went to get the kids they had bruises from head to toe. So someone explain to me why if I'm only a girlfriend and not a wife, I'm adding fuel to the fire?? Even if we are married the children wouldn't act differently. IT wouldn't have anything to do with how the children see me or how they act.

He is still going thru the divorce, he had to wait till the kids were with him in colorado for at least 6 months so he'd have a better chance at keeping them, and getting full custody of them. Seeing as how their mom doesn't care anyways, she's never tried to call and talk to them, or anything like that. We are engaged now, and once the divorce is final we are getting married. But either way I don't see a change in the children's attitudes or behaviors even if we were married.

Why wouldn't I be able to handle 5 kids? I am a teacher and have had all the training to do so. I know it's different with your own kids or kids you have 24/7 but why not try? If i can get these kids to listen better and follow simple rules, life will be simple. I've handled all the kids myself for at least 6 months now, while he's been working. Yes he gets home late most nights and sometimes only has a day and a half off with us, but isn't it worth it, if I can help change these kids and make life better for them? To me it is, that's what being a teacher is all about right? Making lives better and changing them for the better. It shouldn't matter if we are married or not, I know it doesn't matter for the kids if we were married... they'd act the same if not worse then they do now. Ya maybe for my sake, it would be better if we were married, but that day will come! Sometimes you have to wait for things that are worth it.

Besides if I'm not here helping, who will be? Like you said they have to have something solid in their lives, it already is me, why not keep it that way? I like the idea of motivating them with food, but on the other hand they can't handle things as a whole day. You have to go by every half hour or hour, I got some dry erase boards and am marking when they are good and when they aren't. Smiley faces and frowns... they like the idea, I just have to figure out what they get when there are only a few sad faces per day.
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Avatar_f_tn
I did not mean to put you on the defensive, and it is clear that you have made a lifetime commitment.  I was only concerned that if you were not married and not planning to be married, that this would be another unstable situation for the kids. However, it sound like my assumption was correct, and although you may not have that piece of paper yet, for all intents and purposes you are living as a married couple.  And make no mistake, "Dad's wife" has a different connotation to "Dad's girlfriend," and the kids pick up on that.

You ask why you wouldn't be able to handle 5 kids, since you are a teacher.  Well, it is totally different being a teacher from a parent, IMHO.  Teachers can send the kids home at the end of the day, but a parent is a parent 24/7.  The emotional connection is way different and the dynamic is incomparable.  Plus, these kids should be receiving special services due to their history of abuse and neglect, and unless you have been trained to deal with ED kids, you might not be able to rely on your teacher training alone to parent these kids.  

you sound motivated and very caring, so I think the kids have a better chance of living a good life with you in the picture.  However, you might need some outside help!  Maybe you can't do it all by yourself.
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Avatar_n_tn
I know that I can't do it by myself... that's obvious, why I'm on this site asking for help. I don't have any ed training, and I know that these kids are rough... I just want to help them and myself. We are like everyone in the world who just wants a happy family... it's just getting thru the hard time that are really rough, especially staying home with them all the time. I'm just lucky that one is in part day kindergarten and 2 are in head start... it's only 3 hours a day, but it does help. I understand that being a parent and being a teacher is totally different, but the training does help.

Sucks when things get complicated, him not being divorced, having so many kids. Things will get straightened out soon I hope. Hopefully it will get better as time goes on. That's the weird thing, things were seeming to get better, and then they got worse just like that, then they get better and then worse again. I don't know maybe having almost a week off of school has messed up the schedules for these kids. it's like one had a week off, then the other 2 had the next week off, and now with thanksgiving coming up, another week off. Seems like kids dont go to school as much as I used to. We never had early release days, or anything like that.

Anyways thanks for your help!
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Avatar_f_tn
It can get crazy, I know.  I have three kids myself, and although they are normal, well-adjusted and generally happy kids, it can get hairy around here sometimes.  I get to where I feel overwhelmed from time to time and I just have to take a deep breath and relax.  I agree with you about the school schedules - I can't believe how much time my kids are out of school sometimes.  

I'll go back to teaching in a couple of years when my little guy goes to kindergarten. I will be glad when I can go back to work.  I know the kids benefit from being at home with me when they are little, but I will be happy to go back to teaching when the time comes.

Take care and good luck.
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Well thank you blueridgemama, things have gotten a little better around here, for now. I know things get crazy and it gets overwhelming at times. I used to have to go out at least once a month, when it was just me and my 2 kids. But back then I was also doing full time school and full time work as well, so I really needed the break... it was hard doing all my school work, and then also planning for my classroom at work. I felt like I couldn't keep up, now it's like I can't keep up with the house work like laundry and then when the kids rebel it makes it harder. But somehow we all get through right. I'd as well love to get back into teaching and having a classroom, but then I think that it would be that much harder to do the house work and dinner times with the kids. I was going to go back to work, once we moved and I found that it's harder when the kids get older, or you have one of every age, cuz then you have to get them to school, and be home when they get out. Hopefully once all the kids are in full time school it will be easier to get back into the working field.

Right now I just keep thinking that if I went to work with children again, and having my kids the ages they are, I might get more stressed out and go crazy lol. Altho I'd love to be back in the classroom, one day hopefully.

Good luck with all that you are doing and good luck with getting back in there with the working thing! Thanks for your help
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I am usually against people moving in together when their are kids involved like this - I think it puts more stress after going through the trauma of their parents splitting up to have to get used to a whole new "mommy" and new "siblings".    But you really sound like you could do them a lot of good because you seem to have a very good head on your shoulders and you seem to have your priorities straight and want them all to have a stable home.  I really commend you for putting in such an effort .  Since these kids were abused by the mother I would say they all need counseling.   They are so little and they still developing emotionally - being abused and coming from a broken has more than likely caused them to act out like this. When kids are hurt at such a young age it changes them - they don't know what to do with all those bad emotions.  I would call a counselor today.    There are also some great books about parenting "hurt children" you might want to read.   I wish you all the best - I hope everything turns out okay.  I think it will.  It will just take a lot of patience!! Hang in there!!!!  
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Thanks althepal39 I'm glad that someone is behind me on this. My family keeps telling me that I'm crazy, and who could handle 5 kids during the day by themselves. THey don't seem to understand that not only do I love Steve, but I also love his kids. Yes they are very hard to handle, but isn't that what love is about. Making things liveable for everyone involved. I love these kids, and I know they love me as well. I know that it's been hard for them, but we have talked many times about the things their mom did to them, and how they feel. I know that even tho she put them in a hard place by hurting them they still love her, and always will. That's what parents are for. But on that same note, they see me as their mom, and are just having a rough time with things right now. They've just had change over change in their lives, it's time for something solid and consistant. I bought a dvd of love and logic, and I have 3 of their books, so hopefully even if I don't have time to read the books, I will be able to sit down and watch the dvd I bought and hopefully learn lots from it. I know of a lot of teachers who use it, and swear by it!  Thanks for the confidence to keep doing what I am!
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm the mother of seven children, and I have some practical advice: first, decide which particular behavior is causing the most trouble, and focus on that one. Then, when you feel it's under control, move on to the next.

One way to focus on the problem is to make them practice the good behavior you're trying to teach them. So for example, if the problem you're focusing on is that they don't come when you call them, explain to them, "Soon I'm going to call you, and I want you to come to me right away." Then if the child ignores you, take her by the shoulders and lead her to you. Then explain, "Soon I'm going to call you again, and I want you to come right away." Repeat over and over.

I think sometimes children get in the habit of ignoring a parent's instructions, and then everything falls apart. The first thing to do is to teach them to listen to you.

Another technique I've found helpful is to touch the child when you're trying to get his attention--put your hand on her shoulder, or stroke her cheek. It's a signal for her to focus on what you're telling her, so as to set your voice apart from the background noise.

I think it's great that you're so committed to these children, and I hope you get past this hard time soon.
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Parenting five young children would be a challenge, even if they had not faced the inadequate early experiences you described. The situation sounds pretty chaotic and it invites instituting some structure and some systematic ways of approaching the behavior. The most effective way of instituting structure in a family setting is throuh the routines of the day (waking up, meal times, bedtime). One of the respondents mentioned the television show Nanny 911. Well, as those of you who have watched this show have noticed, essentially what the nanny does is help parents simplify routines and increase the amount of structure in the home. Now, this is easier said than done when you have such a large number of young children. It would be beneficial if you had the benefit of a parent aide in the home for a short while. You might investigate the local child welfare agency about such a resopurce. Even if it's not avaialble for free, it might well be worth the short-term expense. To help you understand what I mean by systematic behavior management, I refer you to Lynn Clark's very useful book about managing childhood behavior. The title of the book is SOS Help for Parents. Finally, seek help through the local child guidance clinic or family service agency.
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Ya, we have a new problem in the past couple days. The 2 4 year olds and the 3 year old have been running around the house in their undies only. I catch them and tell them to put on clothes and either they listen and then take off their clothes again a few minutes later, or just ignore me and keep doing what they are.

I kinda had a feeling that maybe they were experimenting with eachother during these times, but haven't caught anything. Usually when I'm making lunch or breakfast, or busy with other house work. Everytime I catch them without clothes I explain that it isn't ok and they need to put their clothes back on. To remind you, the 3 year old is a boy, the others are girls.

Now today, I have caught them without their clothes, they say they are playing swimming. I ask why they are doing these things without clothes and there isn't an answer. Untill one of the girls steps up and says that the oldest (6) has taken a couple strands out of a fiber-optic light and they have been poking eachother with them in the butt, and "weenie, or pee place" I ask questions and don't get answers.

THis isn't the first time we've delt with exploration of the genitals before. When we lived with my sister for a few months, she also has 2 boys. One 3 and the other almost 2. The boys had to pee so they went out side. the 4 and 4.5 girls were out there. the 4 hasn't ever seen anything like that so she was shocked that they could do that. The 4.5 went over and grabbed my sisters sons winky. We yelled, punished, asked questions. and she was terrified to talk, finally she said she was showing him how to "shake it off" Once I got her talking she had said some shocking things. I didn't know what to believe or think. Later I asked her about them again she gave a different story. So I don't know if she was fibbing, or just kinda making things up. She has since watched and helped her brother pee, grabbed him a few other times. and now this.... what am I to do... I feel like all I can do is get a good child psychologist and hope for the best. We had started counseling before we moved but had to quit because of the move to a bigger house, outside of my sisters family. Not only that but I didn't like the lady working with brittany the 4.5 year old. the first time she got her away from me she had told her that anything said or done in that room was a secret and couldn't tell anyone not even me or her dad. To me anytime you tell a child there is a secret between them and you, there is something going on. I know she's a professional, but how am I supposed to help fix problems and know what's going on if they don't tell me anything? Also this lady wasn't the best with children, didn't seem to interact with them the way I had expected. We had talked to another psychologist before and he was great, the language he used with them, got them to think about things and all that stuff. I totally trusted him, but he referred us to a place where they do the play therapy...

any suggestions of what to do now?   I don't know how to handle what I was told today

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You need to find a new counselor. I personally don't believe you should be letting a 4 year old meet alone with a counselor and then have the counselor that what they say is secret. I could understand this maybe if the child was a teen or even if they suspected abuse and were trying to protect the child. You need to find a family counselor who will include you and your husband.
I agree with the doctor. You need to have more order in your home and a schedule would help a lot. I think the children have way too much free time where they are just running around getting into mischief because they're bored. Try posting a schedule on a wall the children can see that will show them what to expect throughout the day. Also consider a reward chart or jars for each child to put tokens or something like that in when they're good and mind. They lose their tokens or stickers when they don't mind. At their age, since they're so young, make the chart with pictures that they can understand. Let them help you with chores but make it fun! Let them bake with you, or give them a rag to dust or help vacuum and then make it a race. If they beat the clock, they get a sticker or whatever. My friend's kids are really into Pokemon so she bought a huge bunch of cards used from someone for like $5 for 300 cards and she gives them a Pokemon card when they do well. One time they couldn't find her little one's shoes and they were getting ready to go out the door. Instead of getting stressed, she challanged them that whoever found his shoes first would get a Pokemon card. They all raced off! She has 4 boys, too, so she has her hands full too. Just try to make a game of things and involve them in your everyday things. When you go to the grocery store, give each child a paper with a few items (or picutres) on it and ask them to help you find these items. Keeping them busy and making them feel important will do a lot with helping control the misbehavior. Get creative. You may have to come up with ideas the night before while they're sleeping, but it's better to plan things with this many young ones. Even the little ones can help take down laundry to the washer. Give them little jobs and praise them and reward them.
Also make a point of doing fun things with them. Play games with them, take them to the park, etc. For those days you are just feeling overwhelmed and need a day off, I recommend checking out a local daycare center and consider using them once in awhile for drop in care. Sometimes just being able to take a day off once in awhile refreshes us enough that we can continue on and have more patience. Don't allow yourself to get so overwhelmed and stressed that you are taking it out on the children. Find a good babysitter or daycare for those days you need a break.
And last of all, but by no means least! Make a point of having a date night with your boyfriend once a week if you can swing it. If money's tight, at least once a month. You need to have some alone time with just you where you can rejuvenate and you also need alone time with your boyfriend if you want any hope of being able to maintain this relationship.
I know it's hard with this many kids. I hope I've helped in a small way. Make that date night! :)
Best wishes.
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Thanks for your advice I appreciate it, and it does help. We are new to the area where we live so the only people I know are those who teach the kids when they are in kindergarden or headstart. It's hard trusting people now days, so you don't want just anyone watching your children. And I'm afraid that if me and my fiance do have a date night even just once a month, finding that person to watch them will be really, really hard. And if we find someone, I'm afraid that the kids will make it horrible for the sitter, and them not want to come back! I don't want that, but I do agree that a date night, and some time for myself will help to not get too overstressed. I don't know that I can afford to take the kids to a daycare place for a day, because of how many kids I do have...

really anything we do as a family costs at leat $60... not to mention if me and dad went out once in a while, paying a sitter will add lots to that cost... but I'm going to see what I can find, and hopefully we will get more time for eachother, and I'll get sometime to be just me, for a little while. Thanks for your help
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Oh wow.  This sounds overwhelming.  Do you think there was any kind of sexual abuse in any of the kids past?     Do you have any friends or family anywhere nearby that can help you?    I would try to find a counselor that you are more comfortable with if you can..

I guess getting the kids to keep their clothes on is probably the number one priority right now, huh??  Duct tape maybe?? LOL!!    I think you may need more a support system.. maybe the kindergarten teacher or headstart teacher can recommend someone to come in and help out until the kids behavior starts to settle down.  Maybe a highschool student or someone like that.   Someone who could stay around the house while you are there also until you and the kids are comfortable with them ..?    
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh wow.  This sounds overwhelming.  Do you think there was any kind of sexual abuse in any of the kids past?     Do you have any friends or family anywhere nearby that can help you?    I would try to find a counselor that you are more comfortable with if you can..

I guess getting the kids to keep their clothes on is probably the number one priority right now, huh??  Duct tape maybe?? LOL!!    I think you may need more a support system.. maybe the kindergarten teacher or headstart teacher can recommend someone to come in and help out until the kids behavior starts to settle down.  Maybe a highschool student or someone like that.   Someone who could stay around the house while you are there also until you and the kids are comfortable with them ..?    
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Ya we need something, it's very overwhelming. I think there is a good possibility that something could have happened to one or both the older children. I don't know exactly what yet, or who. But the suspicion is there.

Their father on the other hand doesn't think that the kids have been abused that way, but does know that they've seen tooo much from their mother. Once they walked in on her and her bouyfriend, and he was just in his boxers and their mother was totally naked. In the living room. I don't know what was all going on there, or what all they saw, but I'm sure it wasn't just a one time happening. She cheated on my fiance throughout their marriage!

The only family I have fairly close is about an hour away, but she's as over whelmed with the kids as I am. We lived in her house with her family for 3 months before we moved into this house, recently (a month ago). She was sick of all their **** as well, but I'm trying to stick it out and keep my hopes up. I know the kids can be helped it's just going to be a long process. Any time I need my sis to watch the kids because of other appointments or whatever... the kids keep stilling food from her house and her kids. If they all have juice, then when no one is looking they will take the babies (2yr) juice, just cuz they want more. She's tired of them going over and not respecting her and her house as well. So I hate even asking if she'll take the kids once in a while, cuz I know what happens there.. same as happens here.
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I know there are many teenagers who would love to babysit and earn a little money and they probably would have more patience and energy than an adult too! Check around your neighborhood and see if there's any teenage girls (sorry, I just don't trust the teenage boys with babysitting as much) who are interested in babysitting. It's good to find one that took the babysitting class. I think if you check with your local daycare liscensing company, they also keep names of the teenage babysitters who took the babysitting classes. Some local hospitals also offer the classes so they might be able to help you with names, not sure though. Local youth centers too have a list of babysitters names usually. Hope any of that helps!
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I will check out some babysitting things and see what happens
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Ok ... take a deep breathe.  Inhale and exhale.  Now it's time to bring down the hammer.  Structure and routine to the max.  And like the doc said, seek help too.

You have to simplify things - a lot.  I know you don't want them running around in their undies and possibly playing doctor with each other but is that the number 1 priority to you?  Whoever up in those posts before said pick the biggest issue first and deal with them one at a time is correct.  It is probably the only way you will keep your sanity through all this.

My advice besides what the doc has told you (and head that advice!)

1.  Institute the structure and routine in a simple way.  ie charts for each kid if it takes that.  A reward system for good behaviour is just as important as punishment for bad.

2.  Nix the spanking, it's not working and I know you are doing it out of frustration - that's not sending a good message.  (I too grew up being spanked but it was only in situation where I had truly done a bad bad thing so I'm not against it) but if it isn't working something else needs be done.

3.  You are going to have difficulty - seek help as to a babysitter with a strong will and knowledge or a professional behaviourist to come in and help you - they are 3 united against you essentially it is going to be difficult to divide and conquer if it's only you by yourself.  They feed off one another and they know what pushes your buttons.

4.  Get the children help as well as your family - the sooner the better that way they can start to deal with the abuse issues and as they get older they will thank you for that.

5.  You need to deal with one child at a time if the behaviours are across the board, dealing with all 3 in conjuction at first is going to overwhelm you (as it has) and you will lose your cool.

This is not unsurmountable - you and the fiance can get through this - make sure when he is home that whatever guidline you set he follows with and you have to be 100% consistant you have to have to or nothing will work.  I know it's tiring and draining and exhausting but it is more exhausting to only be at it 80% of the time and see no improvement then have 3 hard weeks and see an improvment.  You CAN do this.  Keep your cool and take it one step at a time.

You must be firm, if they are not listening - you go straight up to them firmly hold their shoulders so they make eye contact with you and state the point ie whatever instruction they weren't listening too.  If they ignore you again repeat

Repeatitiveness will help as it will begin to send the message that you are serious and not backing down.  Don't lose your cool (easier said then done I know!)  Stay calm - priviledges are lost when they behave badly and they don't just get them back in an hour no they must behave properly for a day to EARN it back.  
Have you tried time out?  It follows the same method as the repeatitiveness (or should) and one min for each year of age.  Pick a spot where the other children cannot interact with whoever is in time out if possible, use a timer so they know there will be an end and again if they don't stay you pick them up and put them back in until they do.   Don't waiver - you will end up raising some great kids.

(Don't pay attention to the girlfriend comment and living together!)  I am a girlfriend living with my boyfriend and he has a  6 year old daughther.  It's working out wonderfully (3 years later).  Whoever the role models are in a child's life doesn't matter as long as they are good ones. :)  
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You are right... the spanking and yelling comes out of frustration and anger, and I know it's not the best way to teach kids. Sometimes it's hard... takes more thinking and calming yourself... and I'm working on that trumendously... maybe that's the biggest thing I need to do, probably the first problems that needs to change, is my attitude and the way I react to things. First is to calm down and think of the right way to talk to the children. If I stay calm, maybe they will as well, and myabe listen a little better.

I agree spanking once in a while is ok, but not on a dialy basis... which is were this has been going. I get so frustrated with them, that it's the first thing that comes to me, but like i said above... I calm down and change that process! Spanking doesn't work for these kids, not only because it's coming out of frustration and anger, but because of what they've been through. You spank them and they just laugh, or it doesn't even fase them when it should. You know it hurt, but they don't even cry.

You are right, I've been focusing on fixing all the problems at once... I need to slow down and deal with the worst and go from there. I think that what gets me most is the lying, and stealing... another is when you ask a question and expect an answer one of them always just looks at you and doesn't answer... like she doesn't know what you are talking about... I hate that! Only one of them does that now, but man it pushes those buttons.

I have tried time out mostly at my sisters house, they don't listen and just get back out of time out. It may seem harsh, but my sisters husband said that his stepdad used to make them hold an egg on thier nose in the corner for as many minutes as age. If they dropped the egg, they cleaned it up and did it again. It sounded crazy to both my sister and myself... but then we tried it... it totally worked. It kept their face in the corner, like it was supposed to be and we didn't have to keep telling them to face the corner because they had no choice but to keep it there. I have recently been doing that instead of sending them to their room because then they just play and make a HUGE mess there! But once that timer goes off they know that I will come get the egg and let them out of time out. But if they keep doing what they got timeout after that, then the time almost doubles... only adding a couple more minutes, but they seem to learn...

It was nice the other day, after they stole a bunch of candy, I sent them to timeout... without an egg, and they actually stayed in the corner and faced it untill I let them out. It was nice not having to get an egg!

I agree with you on the girlfriend thing... our situation is hard because he is still legally married to his wife, in which he hasn't seen or talked to in almost a year, or longer! But once that divorce is final, we are going to have a wedding!

THanks for all the great advice... it's working and they are listening a little better! Only they have stole food out of the pantry the past 2 days and the 2 days before that it was just stuff out on the counter or where ever they found it. We are getting a lock to put on the pantry and there will be no snacks for a long, long time!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Foam - sounds like things are a little better ???  I hope so.  The egg thing sounded like it worked - at least they are listening enough to stay in the corner now.  that's good - any ounce of respect you can gain from them is progress!      I was going to suggest locking up the food also - just so it's not an issue for you anymore - they just can't get to it at all so they will stop trying.   Its terrible that they feel that need to steal food.. I guess they will eventually learn to trust you and see that you will feed them whenever they are hungry and then they won't feel that urge to steal anymore.    Did you have any luck finding a new counselor or a babysitter?    
you sound like you are doing a great job and those kids are very lucky that you are in their life!!  Stay strong!! : )   They don't stay little for long... (or as they say when you are raising kids - the days are long but the years are short!)  
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It's funny that you had said that they'll eventually learn to trust that I'll feed them whenever they are hungry... I feed them when the time is right. We have breakfast between 7 and 8. Then lunch is about 11:30, we have a snack around 3 and then dinner is usually done between 5:30 and 6. That is the only time they are aloud to eat, because if I fed them when ever they were hungry... they'd eat all day long. No joke, when I worked at the daycare they went to... for breakfast there, these kids especially the oldest would have 5-7 servings of everything that was available. She'd rush to get done and have more, and more, and more. She wouldn't stop eating! That's like if I let them, they'll sometimes want 3-4 helpings of whatever I made. It's like I'm feeding an army most the time. I usually let them have seconds, but not more than that...

When the kids first got here with their dad, either they'd eat a lot all the time, or not eat at all. His middle child, would go to school and come home everyday saying that her stomach hurt.. because she ate too much and it was making her sick... now that she has gotten used to eating again, she either eats a lot or doesn't eat hardly at all. The kids are sometimes picky, the younger ones anyways, and if they don't eat, then they have to wait till breakfast... sometimes we will have snack after dinner as well... but not usually because bed time is at 7:30. So maybe that's why they steal food all the time, because they didnt' eat their dinner and so they are hungry when they wake up (at 5:30) so they just take what they want. But i'm not the persone who is going to make them special food just because they don't want what I made.

These kids can eat all day long if I let them, and I don't. It's not healthy for them to eat all day long. So I make sure to limit when they get to eat. Sometimes if they've been better than the days before, they'll get a snack when they don't expect it. Oh and on that note, the 2 that go to headstart, eat 2 lunches a day... they have the opportunity to eat at 11:30 here with me, or they can eat at school as well... they have that choice. I know the school doesn't want me to feed them lunch because they get food there, but what am I to do. They are the only ones who get the chance to eat at school, the older one just gets snack, that I send with her. so I have to feed the oldest and the 2 youngest before the one goes to school. so why feed them and not the others. So I give them the choice and if they eat great, if not, no big deal.

It's been nice lately, the ones who are picky eaters (headstart) have been eating all their food at dinner and usually at lunch as well.
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You might want to throw in a morning snack and an evening one too, even if it's just a cut up apple. I worked in daycare for awhile too and in the classes we took they said children are growing so fast they need to eat every two to three hours, even if it's something small. That might explain why they're stealing food. They may really be hungry! Just a thought.
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Avatar_f_tn
Yeah - I would definitely throw in a few more healthy snacks. It sounds like maybe too long of a stretch between meals for them.    It's not bad for them to have snacks as long as they are healthy.  That may be part of your problem.. they are hungry!! : )  
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