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Old 03-04-2018, 09:29 PM   #1
Findingjoy
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Default Help with GBD with older children and large family.

Hi, I am new here and to GBD, and am struggling so much in my parenting at this point. We have 6 children 10 did, 8 ds, 6 dd, 4ds, 2dd,and newborn ds. I have been a flip flopsy mom when it comes to discipline pretty much forever. I never wanted to spank, but did end up going that direction for a while ( my husband believes in spanking) I would so often just threaten a spanking because I hated actually doing it. Then I tend to jump to yelling, which is how I was disciplined. Basically I haven't been consistent at all. I decided a few months ago that I would not spank anymore. I realized I could never not do it in anger, and it hurts me and my children's relationships.

So I stumbled across this site, and have been reading through the archives. But I still can't figure out what I should do. I have jumped from punitive and am at this point extremely permissive because I just don't know how to handle the situations at all. So I am looking for help on what to do so I can parent effectively. Our kids are for the most part very well behaved, especially in public but recently there has been a lot of anger and physical and verbal attacks towards each other. They can be so sweet and best friends with each other but then they turn around and there is so much anger.

The biggest aggressors are my oldest 2 my DD who is 10 and my son who is almost 9. They have some problems with the younger children, but especially with each other. My oldest is extremely bossy, and wants everything to be her way. She doesn't always force it on people, but just refuses to do what anyone else wants the majority of the time. Also she gets annoyed really easy at her younger brother for the sounds, movements, etc he makes. It's always been an issue as he has always just hummed or sung or just makes noises and she is extremely sensitive to that. In turn he is at the point where he just tries to annoy her and will poke her or bump her as he walks by, and make all sorts of noises just to bug her. And get her attention. He really likes to play with her, but she doesn't usually want to play unless she is in charge and this frustrates him. She is much more patient with her younger siblings. She is very sweet for the most part, and is usually the one to make peace in the end. She tries very hard to do good usually. So siblings fighting is a big issue in our home.

The next big issue is whining, there is so much whining! How do you handle this? It's everyone really but my 4 year old is especially whinny he has always been this way, and I really think it is in part a personality thing. He has improved greatly but it is still there.

I would also like to ask for prayers that I will not just give up, and have the strength to parent my group of children well. I have the tendancy to be a lazy parent. And I give up easily on things, which is part of my inconsistency. I think a lot of the time I just dont know what to do, so just do nothing. I get overwhelmed and just want to check out.
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Old 03-04-2018, 10:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

First of all, hugs. So glad you are here!

Secondly, you have a newborn. That is always such a beautiful but tough time. Always when I feel at my lowest parenting-wise. The bigger kids are lucky to get the basics like food.

For the fighting I would make sure your 10 yo gets some alone time. Also lots of talking with them about how we can phrase things, how to take turns, apologize, forgive, etc.

For whining it depends on what it is. I ask my kids to try again and start with “mama would you please. . .” It makes them think about asking for a solution rather than just stating a problem and expecting you to fix it.
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

I also want to point out that the transition will be rough, and a *lot* of work at first, but you'll hit a tipping point where things click into place and you are suddenly living a whole different life. With 'normal' parenting it's easier when they are young but a nightmare by the teen years. GBD is the opposite, it's hard and a lot of work to start, but gets easier and easier.

For the fighting -and this may well be too much with a newborn, you may want to wait a while- I would (did) interrupt every time, asap. Have them explain the scene, backwards, in non-judgmental wording. They each take a turn explaining their version of each step without interruption from the other. I used "I saw x. What happened right before x?" Until you get to the beginning of the fuss. I don't comment on events, just gather the facts. Then when you have all the info I ask something like "what do you think you could have done differently to have her this from escalating?" Each child is responsible for their *own* behavior. I don't generally scold them for their parts of it, just ask them to brainstorm how it could have been handled better on their end. At any point when a child starts "but she..." I say "x is responsible for her behavoir, you are responsible for yours." This will take a little adjusting to, but soon they will politely take turns talking it out and such, as they learn quickly that each will get their say, and the same respect. Pretty soon my kids started identifying, on their own, where a situation turned ugly....and it wasn't awful long (and few months) they were often able to stop in the middle of an argument and agree to de-escalate. The goal is not to just stop the sibling bickering, it's to teach conflict resolution skills. They will still bicker on occasion, but mine usually would sort it out themselves after a cool down. The lovely thing is that they learned to sort it out by taking ownership of their *own* behavior and feelings rather than placing blame.

---------- Post added at 07:02 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:58 AM ----------

For whining I say that I didn't understand them, can they tell me again more clearly.
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Old 03-05-2018, 08:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

I'm glad you found us.

The book which I found most helpful was, "Siblings Without Rivalry" by Faber and Mazlish.
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Old 03-05-2018, 10:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

Switching paradigms from punitive to grace-based parenting was so very difficult for me. I kept reading and posting here and practicing the things I was learning and, like a previous poster said, it finally clicked. It can be a long road, but just like we allow our kids baby steps, we can allow ourselves those baby steps. Grace is for mamas, too. You don't have to have it all figured out today. I've been on this journey a long time, and goodness knows, I'm still learning new ways of parenting.

I will list a few things that really helped me and my children in case you find it helpful in your family:

Scripting and do overs - If they were fighting or whining, I might give them a script and have them try again. If they are fighting over a toy, I might say something along the lines, "Let's try that again asking with kinder words." If they still aren't sure what to say, I might give them a script like, "May I have a turn with that toy?"

Problem solve - Or in the above example, I might have them problem solve (brainstorming can be fun and silly because anything goes) and come up with ideas with how they might share the toy. Maybe child one has it for ten minutes and child two the second ten minutes or they come up with a version of play where they can play with it together.

Reflecting emotions - Oh my, this one is hard for me, but most often if I can reflect back what a child is feeling, it usually diffuses the situation.

Forgiveness - I was a yeller, too. It made me so upset with myself. The best thing I did to repair my relationship with my children was to apologize to them each and every time I yelled at them. And it blessed my heart how forgiving children can be, and truly made me want to try better. I would also use the do over on myself, too. I might say, "Mom, needs a do over; let me try that again with a kinder tone of voice." In that way, I was modeling what I wanted from them. Modeling is definitely a powerful teaching tool.

Actively engaging - the other thing that helped yelling was to get up and actually go to my child when I was talking with them or trying to get a point across. Touching them on the shoulder, getting their attention, looking eye to eye, and being in close proximity, really helped me not to need to yell.

So glad you here! You'll get this, mama. Keep practicing and asking questions. What a blessing you are to your children.
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Old 03-07-2018, 04:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

Yes! Making sure you *really* have their attention. The touch may need to be used with "I need you to look at me." Or something along those lines. As yall get used to things all those looooong phrases get shortened into a code of sorts, thank goodness. But *actually* having their attention was huge for us- ADHD, lol.
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Old 03-07-2018, 04:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

You can do this. Be patient and kind to yourself and it will trickle down. The swing from punitive to permissive is pretty normal when you are wanting to switch. With effort you will settle into the middle where discipline and grace share space.

Big thing for us with whining was “try again please using your clear voice.” Or “do you hear how this sounds?” Exaggerated whining voice “does it sound pleasing to your ears? Or does this sound more polite and like you want to listen to what’s i have to say?” Using a normal clear voice.

It all takes time.
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

I agree with the other replies. Especially with a newborn, it will TAKE TIME. There will be an adjustment. Your kids are used to a "tit for tat" system and they will need time to understand that you are moving to a "we take care of each other" system. It's a completely different paradigm for them, too.
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

I'm just checking in to see how things are going?
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Old 03-15-2018, 02:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

10 can be a very hard time because of hormones.if you can make a quiet corner that is hers alone it helps a lot. My older grandgirl made a place in their garage with an old comfy chair and a fan on warm days where she could retreat and read. validating that you know those boy noises get to her but that is just his thing and if it starts to bug her she can go to her quiet corner.
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

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Old 03-25-2018, 12:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

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Old 03-25-2018, 12:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

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Old 03-25-2018, 12:47 PM   #14
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

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Old 03-25-2018, 05:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: Help with GBD with older children and large family.

What everyone said! It takes time.

Slowly you have more days where you are the parent that you want to be than days you don't. But start small - with small changes and don't beat yourself up when you resort to yelling (even though I still did!)

Even now Im probably still not always the parent I want to be every moment and thats with years here, reading, changing, reading books recommended to me, etc. etc. But I keep working at it.

I would get stuck on what to do - ie could only think of something punitive, so like you, would do nothing. But I would post my specific situation here and get great advice and slowly it became more natural (though I still need advice and help at times).

I hope you stick around and I hope we hear back from you soon!
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