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the 7 yr. old is a boy.(Connor) He has started copying Allie as far as not wanting to be corrected. He is repeating the same things she says to me but he feels badly afterwards because he shows it through his eyes. He's not difficult to handle yet and I hope will not get as bad as Allie is.
The 5 yr. old boy, Matt, is a sweetheart. He helps me get dinner on the table and helps clean up afterward. He is a pleasant child who never speaks of his mother since he has been mistreated and injured throughout his young childhood by her.
Allie is the favorite child. Being the oldest she has had to raise the two boys so she has missed out on being a child herself. She carries her pink baby blanket with her in the car and sleeps with it and a teddy bear. She will be 9 in sept. Don't you think there is a problem with this or not? I think she needs to stop the blanket thing but since she sees Matt carrying his around she probably feels like she wants to have something to hug as well.
I have to have the children every night of the week, after picking them up from daycare. we have dinner together. In their house, they sit on the couch or the floor to eat since their mom gave their table and chairs away. My brother never bought another one. In my home, they aren't allowed to do that. I make them sit at the table all together. this was a shock for them in the beginning but now they are used to it. At their home, they help themselves to what's in the frig at any time but in my home they have to ask. I honestly don't know what's going to happen in the future with them but I do know that if my brother divorces his wife he better get a therapist to work the children. Next in line will be me after all of this is over. I am at my wits end and still have four more months to go! please advise me on what I can do to make our lives work together as an extended family.
I thought I'd post this in this room where there are single parents who can advise me on what to do for my neice and nephews. I certainly don't want to have them think of me as their "mean aunt" who gives them rules to follow. My daughter tried to help me with them while she was home and she even had a difficult time. They can be unruly at times. I also need a trick to keep them from fighting in the car. what I'm doing is I will pull into a parking lot for five minutes until they get quiet. so far, that seems to be working fairly well.
Maybe I didn't read carefully enough, but what is your brother's role in all of this? I'm guessing he's working full-time? But what about when he's not working? How long has this all been going on? I mean, they don't even have a kitchen table....when did that happen? Why hadn't your brother gotten something to replace it?
Speaking as a single mom of 3 teens (ages 14, 16, and 18), but who started being a single mom when they were 2, 4, and 6 combined with me being an elementary teacher (mostly grades 4, 5, and 6) you won't gain control if you can't work out some serious rules with consequences (positive ones, when they adhere to the rules, and negative ones when they don't) if your brother isn't a part of the process, and follows through. Can you share more?
While he must rely on you, he also must be the leader of his family to the greatest degree he can, even if it's not much. He needs to shore up his role as leader -- and he needs to make it clear that YOU are the leader when he's not around.
2. The little girl sleeps with a blanket? GOOD.
She's a child. Let her be a child. Kids in a situation like this need as much normalcy and continuity as possible.
3. Don't sweat the small stuff.
Whether you eat at table or on the floor is not important. Kindness to brothers and sisters (and aunt) IS.
I personally never had a problem with kids going to the fridge whenever. I always figured, at least they are eating.
4. You say, if he divorces mom the kids will need a therapist.
IMHO, they need a therapist NOW.
It is good that you are able to help out. I am sure your brother is overwhelmed as well. First of all the little ones need stability and boundaries, and most importantly love.
I would also suggest that they need to be in counseling right now, not if their dad divorces their mom. They are not stupid, they know things aren't normal and aren't right, but they don't have the skills they need to cope with them.
I would not try to take away Allie's blanket at all, nor would I make comments about her giving it up. It is literally her security and brings her comfort. And, she needs that right now.
I would suggest that you figure out how to get a table and chairs. I say this, because my kiddos who are all grown now, still talk about dinner at the table. For awhile we didn't have one, because our table wouldn't fit in the dining area. My kids really missed that. When we do family dinners now, they want to eat at the table. And, I can say, growing up we always ate together at the table and it was a time of bonding and sharing and we often spent hours at the table afterwards or on the front porch if the weather was nice. Kids need this and they need to see normal.
Allie may see you as usupring her mother's place, and no matter how dysfunctional a mother is, they are the mother. She may also be expecting you to "abandon" her as well, so they push it along, trying to make it happen by being unruly and rude, etc. Easier to push you away then for you to walk away. She's angry and confused and needs you to be there, unconditionally. Correct her yes, but don't let her see you disapprove. Does that make sense? Gotta love her no matter how badly she acts out. Find some way to bond with her, keep trying something will work.
I never worried about kids being in the fridge either and had a basket of snacks on the table that anyone could access at any time. I never did make separate dinners, if the kids didn't eat, they didn't eat. I suspect it is mostly a control battle at this point, not having anything to do with whether they like the food or not. Perhaps you could ask each one to pick out a meal, and no matter how odd it my sound go with it, sometimes the best meals are a hodgepodge. Can also try the brownie bite rule, you don't have to eat it all if you don't like it, but you do have to take a brownie bite -- because taste buds change :-) so something you don't like might become something you do like later.
Her roles are out of whack and she can't allow herself to be a child, until she knows the adults in her life can be adults.
I will keep you all in prayer. You can do this. And, those babies need you. Hugs, Lauren
Good luck and our prayers are with you.
Good luck and our prayers are with you.
He is a loving dad. As tired as he is he makes sure he takes them on an all day outing on the weekend days. Not many dads would do that for their kids when in the same situation. The kids haven't seen their mother in 30 days but have spoken to her on a phone a few times and they are exchanging letters and cards. Allie is visably upset which worries me a lot. I will try harder to reach her, to make her my best friend. It's not easy for me when she's giving me "those looks" though when I ask her to do something.
I love the car ideas that were presented here. I'll make sure to follow through with those ideas. The best news I heard tonight is that Chuck is quitting his late night job to get a 9 to 5 one, next week. He has one already lined up. Thank goodness for small favors. I will most likely have to continue to have them for sleepovers on some weekends . chuck has worried about him ruining my summer vacation since all of this began but he didn't have any way out except to have me babysit. I think I will suggest that we all take a vacation to Disney World on his next weekend off!