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Old 10-07-2013, 07:35 PM
 
Location: here
24,472 posts, read 28,756,384 times
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I'll ask again... who watches the kids while you and your wife are at work and school? I'm guessing no one since CPS is already involved.

ETA I re-read that you work opposite shifts. That answers my question.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:37 PM
 
1,263 posts, read 2,647,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibbiekat View Post
Something doesn't sound right. Every kid is going to sneak candy or cookies if they have the chance. Sneaking chicken and bread is just not normal. They must either be hungry or sick (there is that disorder where you never feel full). I don't think rules and punishment are the answer. I think you need to really look at the reason for this behavior. If they have a set schedule of meals and snacks, they shouldn't be eating so much "extra" food. You should make, serve, and watch them eat all meals and snacks. When they are done, meal time is over, and food goes away.
This is what I'm thinking - they aren't just stealing candy and goodies, they're also stealing large amounts of bread and chicken. That means they're HUNGRY. They ate an entire loaf of bread at one sitting?! You need to feed them more often.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:37 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 89,033,856 times
Reputation: 30256
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordHelmit View Post
I can only assume both of you didn't read properly. Your posts make it sound as if I make them eat dog food ont he laundry room floor while I am in the living room watching spongebob or dora the explorer. no. the only way they eat on the laundry room floor is if they don't follow directions numerous times and continue to turn around during their dinner to watch my videos on finding derivatives and integrals, and watch my videos on calculus based physics. you know, since the eldest is 7, i'm just assuming they dont know what a "derivative" is. so there is no reasonf or them to take an hour to eat their dinner because of the TV. however, since i made that post, i have remedied the situation by keeping my math and science videos to my computer only, and not hooking them up to the distracting TV.
That is food related punishment. You are punishing them for not eating fast enough. It's one thing to have a time out in the corner. It's entirely different to make a child eat in a corner. Look at everything that was shared about institutionalized children. Please be open minded to what we are saying. You are creating an environment that is similar to institutions by not having enough time for your children via your schedules and not making mealtimes warm, loving, family experiences.

A 20 month old wouldn't be feeding herself/himself crackers unless the mother slept through making and providing meals on a regular schedule. Your children are fending for themselves via survival instincts.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
2,533 posts, read 2,698,182 times
Reputation: 3861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
That is food related punishment. You are punishing them for not eating fast enough. It's one thing to have a time out in the corner. It's entirely different to make a child eat in a corner. Look at everything that was shared about institutionalized children. Please be open minded to what we are saying. You are creating an environment that is similar to institutions by not having enough time for your children via your schedules and not making mealtimes warm, loving, family experiences.
Sigh. I guess you're right. I'm sorry, I'm not meaning to be hard headed or anything, I just don't know what to do. we are so stressed out. I promise, we don't like not being able to spend time with them. We love our children unconditionally. Which is exactly why we are both working so much and going to school - so we CAN provide for them with better jobs than Burger King. So we CAN have more money to feed them more often, so we CAN have happier times with them. It really does pain me to have to punish them for things such as this, but I mean...like I said, idk what else to do. On nights like tonight, when I have homework for 7 classes to take care of (in classes like Calculus, physics, chemistry, etc) and taking care of them by myself....i guess I just lose my patience too quickly I just dn't really know what else to do. We are trying the best we can with what we were given....and yeah, the food stealing has to be more of an attention thing, because when we lived in the projects (rent was 105 a month instead of 650......) we had much more time with them, and the only food stealing happening was the then 2 year old rummaging through old halloween candy.......

sorry that i'm a bad parent, we are just struggling. like i said 15 times, idk what to do. it would be helpful if we could get food stamps, but we were denied. so idk.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:52 PM
 
Location: in my mind
4,616 posts, read 6,124,493 times
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In order to make true headway on this issue, you are going to have to figure out what the cause of the behavior is- what motivates it, and what reinforces it. Only when you know this will you be able to take steps to change it.

I'm wondering if the kids are not feeling like they get enough attention and are seeking food as a form of comfort. Before you discount that idea, consider this- even if you love your kids and take care of them, they may still feel that they aren't getting enough quality time with a parent on a regular basis. Given the hours you cited in your OP, this does seem possible to me. They might start finding that stealing food gets a lot of your attention, so that would then become a reinforcer of the behavior, which is something that will cause the behavior to continue.

It also seems like there needs to be more supervision. These kids are quite young, so its not like you're dealing with older teens who are home while you're not and can bring all of their friends over and raid the cabinets. When I was a kid, I would get into the snacks and candy, but I only did this when my parents weren't home - such as when they left us with a babysitter. I figured out all of the hiding spots in the kitchen and was quite adept at getting into those.

After you find out exactly what they are eating at school, consult their pediatrician to see what a normal calorie intake should be at each of their ages, and then assess if they are getting enough nutrition and calories each day. It may be they are eating food at school, but if the nutritional value is low, they might be stealing food to compensate.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,097 posts, read 37,751,245 times
Reputation: 73780
We know you don't want it to be this way.

But you are too tired to properly parent. There is nothing harder, and when funds are limited, it's even harder.

1) You both need to use birth control.

2) One of you should scale back your hours so the preschoolers are adequately supervised. Find out if there is a subsidized preschool program in your area. Someone needs to be awake and involved during those after-school hours when the oldest come home.

3) Get the youngest ones on a regular nap and feeding schedule.

Stay patient. Be smart. Keep the kids at the top of the list.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:07 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 89,033,856 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordHelmit View Post
Sigh. I guess you're right. I'm sorry, I'm not meaning to be hard headed or anything, I just don't know what to do. we are so stressed out. I promise, we don't like not being able to spend time with them. We love our children unconditionally. Which is exactly why we are both working so much and going to school - so we CAN provide for them with better jobs than Burger King. So we CAN have more money to feed them more often, so we CAN have happier times with them. It really does pain me to have to punish them for things such as this, but I mean...like I said, idk what else to do. On nights like tonight, when I have homework for 7 classes to take care of (in classes like Calculus, physics, chemistry, etc) and taking care of them by myself....i guess I just lose my patience too quickly I just dn't really know what else to do. We are trying the best we can with what we were given....and yeah, the food stealing has to be more of an attention thing, because when we lived in the projects (rent was 105 a month instead of 650......) we had much more time with them, and the only food stealing happening was the then 2 year old rummaging through old halloween candy.......

sorry that i'm a bad parent, we are just struggling. like i said 15 times, idk what to do. it would be helpful if we could get food stamps, but we were denied. so idk.
This post tells me you're not a bad parent at heart! You're over stressed and struggling. Being open minded to what's happening means you're a good parent who loves your kids.

I can understand why the social workers made you move into a 3 bedroom apartment, but I can't understand why the projects couldn't provide you with a 3 bedroom apartment. Have you looked into all that's available to you? Do you qualify for food stamps? Can you go to the food banks to supplement the food you already buy so there's more food?

How far along are you in school? Which one of you can take a break? You are stressed out. Do you have access to healthcare? Can you talk to your doctor and perhaps get on antidepressants to help you handle the stress better? Can you qualify for subsidized childcare? Can you at least get the 20 month old into childcare so someone is watching her while your wife sleeps?

Instead of punishing the kids, look for ways to relieve the stress so you can get back to the family you were when you weren't financially struggling. Re-read that post about institutionalized children and follow the advice on what to do about mealtimes, etc. It's a blueprint from someone who knows what he/she is talking about.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:32 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
10,864 posts, read 18,917,965 times
Reputation: 25118
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordHelmit View Post
Sigh. I guess you're right. I'm sorry, I'm not meaning to be hard headed or anything, I just don't know what to do. we are so stressed out. I promise, we don't like not being able to spend time with them. We love our children unconditionally. Which is exactly why we are both working so much and going to school - so we CAN provide for them with better jobs than Burger King. So we CAN have more money to feed them more often, so we CAN have happier times with them. It really does pain me to have to punish them for things such as this, but I mean...like I said, idk what else to do. On nights like tonight, when I have homework for 7 classes to take care of (in classes like Calculus, physics, chemistry, etc) and taking care of them by myself....i guess I just lose my patience too quickly I just dn't really know what else to do. We are trying the best we can with what we were given....and yeah, the food stealing has to be more of an attention thing, because when we lived in the projects (rent was 105 a month instead of 650......) we had much more time with them, and the only food stealing happening was the then 2 year old rummaging through old halloween candy.......

sorry that i'm a bad parent, we are just struggling. like i said 15 times, idk what to do. it would be helpful if we could get food stamps, but we were denied. so idk.
If you are each working 50 hours a week and going to school full time (we'll assume 21 hours a week if there are 7 classes), that would be 142 hours a week that one of you is gone from the house, not counting commute time. There are only 168 hours in a week. There's no way that you can be keeping a schedule like that every week, getting enough sleep, and watching the kids well enough. Something has to give...either one of you will have a heart attack or a stroke, or some other illness related to overwork, or one of your children will be injured because you can't stay awake to watch them, or something worse will happen...sometime when your wife is napping, your 3 year old will drag the chair over to the stove, turn it on, and start a fire, or open the front door and take off, walk out into the street...

I understand what you're trying to do for your family but it's probably just not possible all at once. If you're not eligible for food stamps, then your household income must be more than $3300/month and you're talking about not being able to afford locks for the cupboards for a couple more paychecks. If you've got car payments and credit card bills that are taking up most of your income, maybe you need to pay those off before you try going to school...that way one of you could work and one could go to school, then when that one graduates and finds a job, the other one can go to school.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:34 PM
 
9,707 posts, read 7,658,575 times
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I'm sorry things are so tough for you and your family right now. Might your children qualify for the WIC program?

Meanwhile, your two eldest children are old enough to reason with - the little ones are not. So, make time to calmly discuss the problem with the older kids - they'll probably deny their behavior, so don't put them on the spot. Try saying something like, "Your mom and I have noticed that you seem to be hungry a lot after school (or whenever the problem occurs), and that you're taking food when it's not dinner time. Do you think you could find another way to deal with that?" Then hear them out - they may deny it or come up with some really off-the-wall suggestions: Candy! Marshmallows! Ice cream! Cookies!

But then - tell them, "This is what I thought we might try. We'll put a special plate (or bowl, or container of some kind) on the shelf (or in the refrigerator) with things you can have any time you want to eat. But you can't eat other things until it's dinner time" If they ask you what sort of things they can have, tell them it will be a surprise, but you think they'll like it.

Then fix that container: apples, bananas, raisins, cheese cubes, pretzels - things kids like that are good for them, will take the edge off their appetites, and don't cost an arm and a leg. You and your wife could even write little affectionate messages and stick inside with the snacks: "These apples will make your cheeks rosy!" "You're as sweet as these bananas!" and so on. Make it fun, and change the container's contents every few days, so the playful surprise element will be there.

Back to my message about institutionalized children: obviously your children have never endured such situations, but from your description of their recent everyday lives, it's clear that they have undergone a lot: I am so thankful to read that your family has moved to better, safer quarters - how scary that earlier place must have been for everyone, and even if the adults around them tried to keep the death-on-the-doorstep quiet, children have a way of picking up on things and possibly misunderstanding what was clearly an already terrible situation. Now that they are physically safer, and your family has a little more room, I hope the other presently challenging aspects of your lives will also ease up.

A good subsidized daycare would be helpful for your younger two and would also make life easier for you and your wife - most cities of any size have some sort of public agency which deals with available childcare facilities of this kind, so I hope you can look into it. Also, if there's an after-school daycare program at your older children's school, that would probably be helpful as well, since both you and your wife are working such long, exhausting hours. I also wonder if there might be someone nearby who'd be willing to babysit your children for a couple of hours each day - perhaps a responsible older teen, or a grandma-type older lady?

It's commendable to go back to school, and it sounds as if you are taking a very full load of classes - might it be better to drop a class or two and pick them up later, in the interests of having more time and energy to devote to your family? It sounds as if you are stretched to the max right now, and that's rough on everyone.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:43 PM
 
1,025 posts, read 964,247 times
Reputation: 1775
It is great that you are trying to better your life. That is admirable, but your kids will only be young for a little while, so don't forget they need you too.

Is it possible that the older kids are taking food from the younger ones during dinners when you are studying or working? That could explain why the little ones are stealing food. It could even be that the older ones are threatening them not to tell. Just a thought.
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