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Old 10-07-2013, 09:03 PM
 
9,667 posts, read 7,638,989 times
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Okay, I just went back and read your post in the NC forum about living in "the projects" in Southern Pines. It seems that you've certainly been around a lot of violence - shootings and murders - glad you didn't get injured. But - I would assume that you told the mother of your children (whom you described in the same other thread as your "girlfriend") about it. If your older kids overheard these conversations - or heard and recognized nearby gunfire - I'd expect them to be absolutely terrified and to have residual fears.

Stealing food is nothing for a child who fears for his or her life and who has incomplete understanding, knows their father has been in mortal danger, and who knows that they themselves are small, weak, and helpless.

So - you've moved away from much of that, but still are not in an ideal neighborhood, from the sounds of it, and your work location is not the safest, either.

Right now, your priorities are not school, not excessive long hours at work - but taking care of your four children. Talk with them, play with them, love on them, praise them, make them feel safe. Stealing food is symptomatic of what they've gone through recently, I'd venture - it's just a symptom, not the underlying problem. It's also a cry for help.

Small children - and all of yours are small - need to feel absolutely safe and protected by their parents and caregivers. Since only recently, your children were NOT safe, they may be reaching out for whatever comfort and reassurance they can find, temporary and forbidden though it may be. If they think their little lives are in peril anyway, what does it matter if they take extra food or hoard or hide it? The older ones may have some notion of storing food so they'll have something to eat when disaster comes, or if they are forced to run away and fend for themselves.

So - assume your children overheard more than you intended for them to hear about the recent violence on your doorstep and around your workplace. That, combined with inadequate parental time and attention, are likely to be directly tied to the food "stealing".

You mentioned a fairly recent move to NC from your home state - if you have extended family back home, you might do well to consider moving back, as the crime rate and cost of living there are considerably less (in most places) than where you're presently living, and colleges and fast-food places are there as well. Do look into it - NC has recently cut way back on benefits of various kinds, while your former state, though not wealthy, has not.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
2,533 posts, read 2,693,967 times
Reputation: 3861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
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.
the projects, idk why they couldnt - the staff was incredibly incompetent. so incompetent, that an entire 3 minute news story was made about our complex (i will attach video at the end of the post). unfortunately we somehow do not qualify for food stamps...we did in our old county in the projetcs, but since we moved into a house in a different county they have denied us. we indeed did go to the food bank recently, and got tons of hot dogs and ham, it will be very helpful...

i am almost through school, should have my degree by july 2014...which is why i am taking so many classes at once, to get it over with! we have healthcare, and my wife was prescribed antidepressants, but neither of us are fans of taking pills with so much going on. the 2 youngest are on a waiting list for daycare assistance. again, we had it in our previous county - the daycare was 2 minutes from the apartment. it was $90 a month for ALL 4 of them. i have reread the post, and like many of the suggestions. many of them will be incorporated once i talk to their mother.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
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.
well, the 50 hours a week is rounded. it varies weekly, anywhere from 40-65 just averaging at 50 (no actual calculations, just guesstimates based on experiences), and of those 7 classes 5 are totally online. luckily the college is only 20 minutes away. she really doesnt usually fall asleep until i get back from class, so there's that.....

our monthly income is not 3300 a month - it is roughly 2500-2700 at absolute BEST.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
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.
i like these ideas very much,and i am going to try them the very next time we go grocery shopping(probably friday). i think this might work, knowing my children. yes the children have endured too much, they also had a 4 month old sister pass away from SIDS about 2 years ago, the oldest 2 have been through a lot.

luckily they did not see the murder in our yard, as they were sleeping. the commotion woke them up but as soon as i saw them in the hallway i sent them into the back bedroom (the girls room) and played some music for them to go back to sleep.

i wish we qualified for the food stamps, but somehow we dont. we are on a long long waiting list for subsidized daycare....

here is the video of the apartments we came from as promised in this pst....

Apartment complex is crime central in Southern Pines :: WRAL.com
Southern Pines police key in on apartment complex :: WRAL.com
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:16 PM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,447,336 times
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Children do not " Steal food", they eat because they are hungry.

What is with the control issue here? I never let my kids go hungry, food in the home was for them to eat. How is it stealing?

I suggest you get some therapy. And work with a pediatrician, and dietician, about amounts of food, types of food children should eat.

Your post is alarming to me....
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
2,533 posts, read 2,693,967 times
Reputation: 3861
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
Children do not " Steal food", they eat because they are hungry.

What is with the control issue here? I never let my kids go hungry, food in the home was for them to eat. How is it stealing?

I suggest you get some therapy. And work with a pediatrician, and dietician, about amounts of food, types of food children should eat.

Your post is alarming to me....
You are incorrect. Children do " Steal food", as you put it. I mean, it takes quite a simple google search to figure this out, or do you not know how to do that? Do I need to post every example of this I found on the web? .....cause I won't, so nevermind. Look it up.

And as it happens, a lot of the members in this thread have made posts that made perfect sense - unfortunately myself and their mother have been too busy trying to provide for them to really straight up deal with the symptoms. The children having lived in such a violence infested place, where they also lost their sister, no doubt contributes to the problem that you say doesnt exist. It would be nice, jasper, if you would read the entire thread before passing judgement. Until you do so, do not post in my thread again, thanks.

Anyways....having had these several days off from work myself, has really helped me....I have been able to reflect on whats going on in the family and ask for help, though not professional help....i plan on incorporating many many of these ideas ASAP, because I feel quite badly for the children thinking about it....I want them to have better memories than getting sent to the corner for wtching my videos during dinner, etc.....it brings me to tears, but if you read the thread, maybe you;d know why....
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:29 PM
 
9,667 posts, read 7,638,989 times
Reputation: 17505
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
Children do not " Steal food", they eat because they are hungry.

What is with the control issue here? I never let my kids go hungry, food in the home was for them to eat. How is it stealing?

I suggest you get some therapy. And work with a pediatrician, and dietician, about amounts of food, types of food children should eat.

Your post is alarming to me....
Not all "food stealing/hoarding" by children is due solely to physical hunger. Remember "Heidi" hoarding soft dinner rolls and hiding them in her room in Frankfurt when she was living as Clara's "companion" and was bitterly homesick for her grandfather and the Alps? Yes, that's fiction - a 19th century children's classic - but that behavior was very accurately depicted. Heidi certainly wasn't underfed or going hungry - for anything but love and attention and the people and places she cared about most.

Food symbolizes love, nourishment - emotional as well as physical, and security. Given the difficult and dangerous circumstances under which the OP and his family have lived recently, I think it's highly likely that his children are taking food for reasons other than (or possibly in addition to) physical hunger, especially as he recently described a typical dinner at his house in another thread: lasagna, garlic bread, salad, etc., along with a description of a full breakfast which made my mouth water. No child is going to leave a table like that hungry...at least, not hungry for food.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:32 PM
 
9,667 posts, read 7,638,989 times
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LH, I was very moved to read that you'd found others' posts in this thread helpful, and that you plan to make use of some of the suggestions. It's clear you love and care about your children very much, and I wish all of you well.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,270 posts, read 86,054,517 times
Reputation: 39669
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordHelmit View Post
Okay....since tons of people are just insulting us and calling us bad parents, let me make a long post elaborating further.

My wife and I work 50 hours a week, alternating shifts at the same job and go to school full time - sorry but unfortunately we do not always have the time to sit down with them and eat dinner with them. First, we only have a 4 person dinner table with a 6 person family. 2nd, no we do not get food stamps or WIC because apparently we do not qualify. We have applied and been denied. We have been visited by DSS, and they informed us that we NEEDED a 3 bedroom house, so we got one and it happens to be slightly out of our range (considering we both only have sh*tty jobs as management at fast food). Along with all the other bills including food. Before, we were living in the low income housing projects and a dead body ended up on our doorstep - so not only did DSS say we had to move, we decided yeah this is no way for kids to grow up. Also, since many people are asking, I am assuming my wife was asleep because she worked from 3PM-3AM and got up at 6AM to get the girls on the bus, while I was up getting the 3 year old and myself ready for school. She is at work again tonight, another 3P-3A shift.

I am incredibly offended that people are saying "those poor children" they must be being starved or famished or what the hell ever, we do the best we can with the hand we were dealt. They are happy children, they do well in school, they get free lunches at school, and they are overall very very well behaved children. Except when it comes to food. They indeed have 3 meals a day, 2 of which are at school. 1 at home. When they get home, they always have a snack. Usually cereal, or crackers, or goldfish, or fruit, or sandwich. It depends entirely on the money situation. How on earth does a 3 year old eat 6 cinnabons? It's not difficult. I am not even entirely sure he actually ate them all - I just know when I got home they were missing.

I've also noticed people saying it is unusual for children to be stealing food - a quick google search proves this to be untrue. I don't know what the hell you guys are searching, but everything I type in comes up with tons of results of people in similar situations. However, I suppose it is *possible* that every single one of these cases that I am reading about in my google searches are totally famished and deprived children, but somehow I doubt it.

We do not "reward" the children with food, and the only time we punish them about it is when they take it without asking. You members saying no limit on food - really? With a 4 kids all under the age of 8, you would just let them raid the fridge whenever they please? Well, I want whatever job you have to be able to afford that kind of nonsense - because that it nonsense. Kids that age should not be in control of the fridge. These kids would eat literally all day if we let them. So you know what? Who knows. Maybe they do have a disease where they never feel full.

I do like some of thee responses in here, telling the 7 yr old to be the food police, a shelf, etc. However, some people, like "Hopes", do not post in my thread again.
You've got much bigger issues than you realize, so don't waste any energy getting angry at posters here for simply pointing that out.

Use your energy instead for finding some help for your family.

Help that includes finding more food for starters. I know you think you are feeding your kids well, but unless they all have the same medical disorder (which is unlikely), they are hungry.

Since you don't qualify for food stamps, try visiting a few food pantries at local churches for some extra groceries.

Also, look into whether or not there is a "Backpack Buddy" program in your local schools. Volunteers fill backpacks with food on Friday's that help children from food insecure homes get enough to eat through the weekend.

And for goodness sakes, do not punish them for wanting to eat! Talk about setting them up for even more issues as they continue to grow up

Next, since DSS has been involved in your life, was there any help offered to you through their office for parenting classes and therapy? It sounds as though you and your wife are in need of some mentoring and support. I sincerely hope you get it as you continue to try to improve your lives.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:42 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 88,978,939 times
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Thank you for coming here today and being open minded enough to share and listen to ideas.

Try to not be offended by subsequent posts by members who haven't read all the way through the thread.

There are many good people here who will give you great advice to help you through this.

I wish your family the best.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:49 PM
 
9,667 posts, read 7,638,989 times
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I, too, would urge everyone to read completely through this thread before rushing to judgment. The issues involved in this situation are complex, and not readily discernible by reading only the first page of the thread.
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:30 PM
 
1,242 posts, read 1,170,897 times
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I know you are trying your hardest, but one of you should quit school and wait until the other is finished. It will likely cut you expenses and give you more time with the kids, they need someone to take care of them.

We did it, it wasn't easy but it worked. Also no one should watch tv at dinner. It should be family time, and your table size isn't relevant. You can all sit on the floor if you have to.
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