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Old 10-07-2013, 10:45 PM
 
449 posts, read 1,430,523 times
Reputation: 191

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I second Craigs comment.
There already has been a lot of good advice given so I just wanted to add that I've done the school, work and young children part withe the money struggles which was very hard. You both have had it much harder and I think you should be proud of what you're trying to do.
It sounds as if you both are exhausted and stresses, not good for either of you. I know its gotta be hectic with you both trying to fit everything in, even when your home you're tring to so your online courses, house stuff etc and your kids are missing you being with them. Not just in the house at the same time, or you needing them to get done eating or whatever so you have time to finish the next thing due for class. If they take longer they get your attention longer. You're both tired and trying to squeeze in too much. Believe me the time with them will fly fast. Cut back on some of the school, esp your girlfriend because of the depression. With crazy schedules, its hard enough and while you probably can't have a perfect routine, at least some downtime and family time. You both really need to get enough sleep in turns, the children do need an adult who isn't exhausted or harried to be with them. And for you adults too, so you have time. You're aware its risky otherwise I'm sure. Your oldest is still young yet. You have time to get all those things you want, just take smaller steps. FWIW I still regret taking extra classes to graduate early to get ahead sooner, I wish I'd spent more time that last summer with my dd. Just having the time together.

Hope that i didn't offend you with that. Maybe something helpful there
Wish you well.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:22 PM
 
639 posts, read 1,451,724 times
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I want to add that if the kids eat 2 meals a day at school, they may very well not be eating all of it. If their bus gets them to school too late, they won't have much time for breakfast, and little kids don't manage time well. They may not be eating any breakfast at all. And they may throw out whatever lunch food they don't like or find inedible. For example, I remember being given green bananas many times when I was in elementary school. I don't consider that edible food. Maybe try to talk to the lunch monitors and find out what they are actually eating at school.

I think you need to make qualifying for welfare a priority. Your girlfriend can cut back to part-time at work or quit entirely and you should qualify for food stamps and such easily, and she will have time for the kids. Since you aren't married, does that impact how you qualify for welfare? I assume not all of the children belong to both of you? If your girlfriend is the (technically) single mother of 4, she should qualify for tons of aid.

Is the 50 hours a week the two of you combined or you work 50 hours each? If you work 50 hours each, you are making about minimum wage as fast food managers. That is crazy if you are paid so little, even with overtime. I know how hard jobs are to get but I would try to find a job that paid more. Working at a call center or as a UPS driver during the holidays pays a lot more, and doesn't require a college degree.

Or if the 50 hours is the two of you combined, you are making an okay wage, but at the same time you should have more time for the kids. That's 25 hours a week per person plus school...not too terrible.
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Old 10-08-2013, 12:00 AM
 
Location: THE D.C.
105 posts, read 47,542 times
Reputation: 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
This comes down to rules and supervision.

This isn't a really common problem, so let me ask you something and please don't get offended...are you and your family having trouble getting enough food? Could the kids be worried that they're not going to get enough? There are different food assistance programs that might be able to help your family...the youngest kids might be eligible for WIC, which would provide things like eggs, cheese, milk and cereal. The two who are school age might be able to get free school lunch and breakfast...usually the school cafeteria has a form so that you can apply for it. And the whole family might be eligible for food stamps, especially since you have a large family and you and your wife are both students. There's no shame in getting a little help while you're trying to get through school.

Also, don't keep the bread on top of the fridge. Most refrigerators get hot up there and it makes the bread spoil faster.
This is actually a VERY common problem. It usually has to do with boredom. Kids will ask to eat when they've just eaten 2 hours ago and can't possibly be hungry, but usually only do this if they are bored. The other issue is lack of supervision. I'm not saying that is what is happening with you, but it sounds like you have a lot of children that are close together and maybe are too overwhelmed trying to get the laundry done, helping this one with homework, that one with baths, etc. to really supervise. I would suggest using a bike lock and wrap it around the fridge doors if it's the kind with the handles in the middle. It looks ugly but it's cheap and it works. If you have a closet that has a door knob on it, it will only cost you about $5-10 to buy a new doorknob that has a key lock on it and just switch them out then keep the food locked up in there. Trust me, this is very common in lots of families, it's just most people don't admit it or just let their kids eat and eat (hence, weight problems).

The only other reason would be abuse/neglect and that doesn't sound like you at all because you wouldn't care enough to ask questions if it were that. I know families with children who are much old (10 & 12) who have to lock all of their food away because the girls will literally eat an entire warehouse jar of peanut butter in 4 days (and a loaf of bread in one) or eat an entire box of cereal at one sitting. They'll do this instead of eating the carrots, apples and other veggie or fruit snacks that are always available. So it's not hunger, it's spite at that age. HTH!!
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Old 10-08-2013, 12:13 AM
 
Location: THE D.C.
105 posts, read 47,542 times
Reputation: 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
Each working 50 hours per work, plus both going to school full time and homework, means the children are being neglected. It can't continue like this until they are done with school. One of them needs to free up time to raise the children while the other finishes school. When that one finishes and gets a better job, the other one can start school. But what the OP describes can't continue the way it is now.
That is really unfair to say. They work opposite shifts meaning one is always home. Mom probably naps when littles nap or have quiet time. There is nothing wrong with that. That is not neglect.

I am guessing those who are smug and self-righteous only have 1-2 kids, children that are grown & their memories of parenting are all glowy and wonderful or no kids.

If people think by putting their child in daycare while they work is not neglect, then they are fooling themselves. The only difference is, you are paying to have your child doing nothing all day until pick-up/drop-off time and paying someone who likely just graduated high school and has no childcare skills to speak of.

OP - maybe you and your wife need to sit down and work out a new plan where only one of you goes to school right now. Your littles will be in school soon enough and then the other parent can go to school. This is such a short time in their lives, you don't want to miss it. Fast food is one of the most difficult jobs out there and I know you need the money. If one of you takes a break (the one who will take the longest to finish) and just focuses on raising the kids, then you can switch off. The kids will still steal food because that's what kids do, but you won't be so annoyed or frustrated by it. I commend you on keeping them off of the TV and screen time. They might be the only children left in America that have imaginations.
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Old 10-08-2013, 12:28 AM
 
43,012 posts, read 88,958,716 times
Reputation: 30256
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnSmithJones View Post
I would suggest using a bike lock and wrap it around the fridge doors if it's the kind with the handles in the middle. It looks ugly but it's cheap and it works. If you have a closet that has a door knob on it, it will only cost you about $5-10 to buy a new doorknob that has a key lock on it and just switch them out then keep the food locked up in there.

Trust me, this is very common in lots of families, it's just most people don't admit it or just let their kids eat and eat (hence, weight problems).

The only other reason would be abuse/neglect and that doesn't sound like you at all because you wouldn't care enough to ask questions if it were that. I know families with children who are much old (10 & 12) who have to lock all of their food away because the girls will literally eat an entire warehouse jar of peanut butter in 4 days (and a loaf of bread in one) or eat an entire box of cereal at one sitting. They'll do this instead of eating the carrots, apples and other veggie or fruit snacks that are always available. So it's not hunger, it's spite at that age. HTH!!
I sure hope the OP doesn't take your advice, because it will cause more problems. Children with eating disorders are more likely to be children whose parents caused the disorders via restricting food, punishing and/or rewarding with food, etc. My children had free run of the kitchen and they were never overweight. Lock up food and limit their access, and you're creating kids who will eat everything they can get their hands on. It's not hunger, it's psychological and locking up food is the worst thing that can be done. The only children I've known who steal and hoard food have had serious problems.

ETA: To challenge your claim that children who are allowed to eat whatever whenever they want are overweight:

Quote:
More than 1 in 4 overweight children in a recent survey of parents were "sneaking and hoarding" food between meals, possibly as a consequence of their parents restricting their food intake at mealtime, researchers say.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/771719
Quote:
Food restrictions are common among parents of obese adolescents....

...food-related parenting habits, such as "encouraging children to eat and restricting intake of palatable foods," have been shown to significantly impact children's weight outcomes in prior research....

..."Parents are doing way too much in controlling the way kids eat," commented Elaine Schulte, MD, of Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital in Ohio, who was not involved in the study...

http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatri...isorders/38596

Last edited by Hopes; 10-08-2013 at 12:41 AM..
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:10 AM
 
17,158 posts, read 22,167,733 times
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first of all, kudos to you are spouse for working, trying to do the right thing, with a house full of kids-not easy


kids hoard or hide food,,,,because of fear of not having any someday....
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:22 AM
 
1,913 posts, read 2,704,256 times
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OP, I understand you have a lot of stress & have read through all of the posts, but I still think these kids are hungry and need more protein. Even a few extra cheeseburgers from your workplace. You could take turns going to school & still get out of your bad situation.
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:30 AM
 
Location: Monnem Germany/ from San Diego
2,242 posts, read 2,314,898 times
Reputation: 4639
The thought of children stealing food at home I can´t really understand- you are a family and the food is as much theirs as yours.
Unless they are stealing it from the store the are just getting something to eat like anyone else. Just try to keep mostly healthy stuff around.
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:34 AM
 
Location: too far from the sea
17,985 posts, read 17,140,226 times
Reputation: 30120
Quote:
Originally Posted by mainebrokerman View Post
first of all, kudos to you are spouse for working, trying to do the right thing, with a house full of kids-not easy


kids hoard or hide food,,,,because of fear of not having any someday....
Or just plain fear. The fear that came from that horrible project they were living in where someone was murdered and the fear that occurred when their baby sister died. These kids have been though more than a lot of adults have been through. There is no one to comfort them because the parents are too busy.

Food could equal comfort or survival. Another fear they could have is of having no place to live because they lost their other home and live in a different place now. Moving can be hard on kids, especially if no one had the time to explain it to them.

So they are trying to find something to hang onto. Really they need attention and love and time spent with them. One adult needs to quit working or just work part time. But then how would you pay the rent.

One thing is turn off the tv while all of you eat and talk together. The kids need undivided attention. Play with them and read to them. How about going to the library and asking for a good read aloud book? Then read aloud to them while they sit around you. I bet they would love it. They get the attention, they get to enjoy books and reading, they feel calm and safe. Read one chapter every night--if somebody doesn't behave, their punishment would be to miss reading time. It would be a great family activity and a good librarian could find a book that would be suitable for all age levels. The youngest kids appreciate the sound and rhythm of the spoken word even if they don't understand.
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Old 10-08-2013, 02:04 AM
 
1,035 posts, read 1,556,296 times
Reputation: 2154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
How about a snack shelf in the refrigerator, or a tray on the counter, that they can have free access to? I'm thinking healthier options such as pretzels or fruit. You control the contents, everything else is off limits.


A lot of the stealing or hoarding behavior in young children has a psychological basis sometimes related to food and sometimes wherein food is symholic rather than stemming from an actual physical hunger. I agree with those who say to examine your kids a bit more closely as far as their dynamic with each other and you and also when this behavior spikes (and on which parent's watch it seems to happen most).

Note any differences in what's taken, note when the food is taken in relation to when it arrives in the house, and also ask questions. Not in a scolding way but like you're having a conversation about the food and what they're doing with it. Your kids are young but what will spill out is often telling. The more patterns you notice, the more you can start piecing together what's behind this. Good luck at any rate!
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