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Old 05-11-2020, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,949 posts, read 12,926,393 times
Reputation: 10911

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Hello all,

So, like a lot of Americans, my wife and I are working from home right now, and the kids are in the house with us. My daughter - who is 10 - is fine during the day, doing most of her online schooling with little help, and just spending the rest of the day watching Neflix and watching TV.

My son who is six on the other hand is another matter. He is ADD and really unable to be left alone for any length of time, which we unfortunately have to do. I do online schooling with him, but that's only a few hours out of the day, and my wife and I are supposed to work from home from 9-5. My wife has a much more defined schedule than I do, and really does not want to be bothered with him during the work day at all. She'll spend a little bit of time going into the playroom to yell at him, and go right back to work. I am a bit more flexible, but I can't be constantly watching him at all times - it's just not feasible. Unfortunately his sister wants nothing to do with him.

Just today he was in the playroom and got into all of his sister's stuff - meaning he trashed her art supplies and unplugged all of the cables on her computer. Then he took out all of his puzzles and mixed up the pieces so that he had no idea what was what. He also tied several of his toys to the blind strings. My wife came into the room, threatened to take all the pieces away unless he fixed things, and left. Soon after he peed his pants (which still happens a few times a week, unfortunately). I went downstairs to get him a change of clothes, and discovered he ransacked his bedroom, including pulling all of his socks and underwear out of his drawers and throwing them around the room. At which point I totally lost it with him, screaming at him even though my wife was on a Zoom call right in the other room. He started crying, and I felt bad about myself.

Seriously though, I don't know how we're going to get through this. My son actually does have recognition that he shouldn't be left alone. Sometimes he tells me to please stay with him so he doesn't do "anything crazy." But we still need to work full-time jobs, and I would get basically zero work done during the work day if I always had to be in the same room with him, as he doesn't understand as it is that I can't sit there with him and watch Netflix shows/play with him. My wife believes we should just continue to throw his toys away until he learns not to trash things. I'm wondering if we should remove everything that might get him in trouble out of the playroom and lock him inside (letting him out for bathroom breaks of course). Again, the unfortunate thing is the real solution - constant supervision - just isn't feasible, so we're left at a loss.
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
48,485 posts, read 46,735,666 times
Reputation: 94888
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Hello all,

So, like a lot of Americans, my wife and I are working from home right now, and the kids are in the house with us. My daughter - who is 10 - is fine during the day, doing most of her online schooling with little help, and just spending the rest of the day watching Neflix and watching TV.

My son who is six on the other hand is another matter. He is ADD and really unable to be left alone for any length of time, which we unfortunately have to do. I do online schooling with him, but that's only a few hours out of the day, and my wife and I are supposed to work from home from 9-5. My wife has a much more defined schedule than I do, and really does not want to be bothered with him during the work day at all. She'll spend a little bit of time going into the playroom to yell at him, and go right back to work. I am a bit more flexible, but I can't be constantly watching him at all times - it's just not feasible. Unfortunately his sister wants nothing to do with him.

Just today he was in the playroom and got into all of his sister's stuff - meaning he trashed her art supplies and unplugged all of the cables on her computer. Then he took out all of his puzzles and mixed up the pieces so that he had no idea what was what. He also tied several of his toys to the blind strings. My wife came into the room, threatened to take all the pieces away unless he fixed things, and left. Soon after he peed his pants (which still happens a few times a week, unfortunately). I went downstairs to get him a change of clothes, and discovered he ransacked his bedroom, including pulling all of his socks and underwear out of his drawers and throwing them around the room. At which point I totally lost it with him, screaming at him even though my wife was on a Zoom call right in the other room. He started crying, and I felt bad about myself.

Seriously though, I don't know how we're going to get through this. My son actually does have recognition that he shouldn't be left alone. Sometimes he tells me to please stay with him so he doesn't do "anything crazy." But we still need to work full-time jobs, and I would get basically zero work done during the work day if I always had to be in the same room with him, as he doesn't understand as it is that I can't sit there with him and watch Netflix shows/play with him. My wife believes we should just continue to throw his toys away until he learns not to trash things. I'm wondering if we should remove everything that might get him in trouble out of the playroom and lock him inside (letting him out for bathroom breaks of course). Again, the unfortunate thing is the real solution - constant supervision - just isn't feasible, so we're left at a loss.
1) Have you spoken to his doctor about these destructive episodes?
2) Can you take some days off to work toward getting things on track?
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Old 05-11-2020, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,949 posts, read 12,926,393 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieBelle View Post
1) Have you spoken to his doctor about these destructive episodes?
Not since the start of this, no. Previous to lockdown we were doing PCIT therapy with him and his behavior improved dramatically. We still do some of those things with him, but the laborious system of time outs really doesn't help that much in this particular circumstance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieBelle View Post
2) Can you take some days off to work toward getting things on track?
Some days? Yes. I have over 4 weeks of vacation I haven't used yet this year, plus I'm probably going to take a week or two of voluntary temporary furlough coming up.

I can't be with him constantly though.
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Old 05-11-2020, 03:29 PM
 
974 posts, read 408,885 times
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My wife has a much more defined schedule than I do, and really does not want to be bothered with him during the work day at all. She'll spend a little bit of time going into the playroom to yell at him, and go right back to work. I am a bit more flexible...

Throwing your wife under the schoolbus will not fix your problem.
Teachers are used to taking care of ADD kids from 9-3 but the quarantine is showing parents what a full day with their kid is really like. I have teachers in my family and one quit her beloved career due to parents who would not take responsibility for their part.

Sounds like no one is really giving your son a structured schedule.
If both of you have well-paid jobs then think about hiring a teacher/babysitter for half a day and then one of you take turns the other hours.

If you adults cannot agree then talk to a counselor, someone should offer online couples counseling, domestic problems have risen during these stressful times. But a word of advice: don't start a sentence in counseling with "she", say "we" or "us".
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Old 05-11-2020, 04:50 PM
 
13,467 posts, read 21,842,742 times
Reputation: 36969
Quote:
Originally Posted by twinkletwinkle22 View Post
[.

Sounds like no one is really giving your son a structured schedule.
If both of you have well-paid jobs then think about hiring a teacher/babysitter for half a day and then one of you take turns the other hours.
My thought exactly. A six year old should not be left to entertain himself for hours. He sounds overwhelmed. You need to bring in some help, Dad.
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Old 05-11-2020, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
18,457 posts, read 19,219,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
My thought exactly.
A six year old should not be left to entertain himself for hours. He sounds overwhelmed. You need to bring in some help, Dad.
One, or both, of you need to work with your bosses to make sure that your son is safely supervised at all times. One couple that I know switches off, one day Dad takes their four and six year old to a park to play outside (under his direct supervision) for four to six hours and Mom works on her work computer in a quiet house. And, the next day they switch. They do this six (and sometimes seven) days a week. In addition, both of them put in extra work hours either early in the morning before the kids wake up (perhaps 4AM or 5AM until 9AM) or after the kids do to sleep (work from 9PM until midnight).

Is it hard? Heck, yes!!! But both parents have been able to work their normal 40 hours a week. They arrange it that the right parent is home working when they are scheduled for on-line staff meetings and things like that. Luckily, both jobs are very flexible about when the work is done as long as it gets done.

Of course, if your boss says that you must work a M-F 9 to 5 schedule you have to figure something else out. I agree that you may need to hire a babysitter or find a day care center that is open.

Another family that I know had one spouse take an unpaid leave of absence from their job (to home school during the pandemic) so that the other spouse (the main breadwinner) could work from home. I know another family where the grandparents were willing to risk their health to care for their grandkids during the day.

Perhaps you can use your vacation time until you can arrange for other care for your children? Good luck.

Last edited by germaine2626; 05-11-2020 at 05:59 PM..
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Old 05-11-2020, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
48,485 posts, read 46,735,666 times
Reputation: 94888
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post

I can't be with him constantly though.
You need to figure out how you can.

This is a crisis situation, and you can't expect business as usual. Even a "typical" 6-year-old would be overwhelmed with the set-up, but your son obviously is not capable of managing this himself.

Some adult in his life is going to have to figure out how to help him. Can you take the volunteer furlough ASAP?

Call your pediatrician tomorrow, explain the behavior, and ask for resources you can employ immediately. He can't just destroy the house in between bouts of being yelled at all day.
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Old 05-11-2020, 07:05 PM
 
1,970 posts, read 573,303 times
Reputation: 1521
It sounds selfish if your wife to not want to be bothered with him from 9 to 5 other than to yell at him. My son is almost 6 and he is very active to the point I’ve wondered if he has add also. My daughter just turned 4 and is fine but the two get each other going big time. It isn’t easy. My boss is understanding that I need to take care of my kids. My husband is home also and we just moved into a new house so it’s been very craZy. We do turn on the tv when we really need to get things done. It seems like people think tv and screens are poison even in this pandemic but for sanity reasons Ive had to do it. We also use this site called epic a lot where kids can have stories read to them or read themselves. My kids also want us with them 24/7. They don’t like to be in the playroom alone, they don’t like to be in the yard alone. Yesterday my husband sat them down and firmly told them that they need to play in the yard alone for a bit. I’m talking 30 minutes, just some time where we can get things done. It’s been rough I know but I do think your wife needs to understand this isn’t just about her job.

Last edited by Bridge781; 05-11-2020 at 07:06 PM.. Reason: K
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:22 PM
 
17,776 posts, read 21,877,310 times
Reputation: 36035
Quote:
Originally Posted by twinkletwinkle22 View Post
My wife has a much more defined schedule than I do, and really does not want to be bothered with him during the work day at all. She'll spend a little bit of time going into the playroom to yell at him, and go right back to work. I am a bit more flexible...

Throwing your wife under the schoolbus will not fix your problem.
Teachers are used to taking care of ADD kids from 9-3 but the quarantine is showing parents what a full day with their kid is really like. I have teachers in my family and one quit her beloved career due to parents who would not take responsibility for their part.

Sounds like no one is really giving your son a structured schedule.
If both of you have well-paid jobs then think about hiring a teacher/babysitter for half a day and then one of you take turns the other hours.

If you adults cannot agree then talk to a counselor, someone should offer online couples counseling, domestic problems have risen during these stressful times. But a word of advice: don't start a sentence in counseling with "she", say "we" or "us".
Exactly.

OP, be grateful you and your wife both still have jobs, hopefully that doesn't change. We will be seeing 25% unemployed once all those who can't even apply due to state systems are crashing(going on here in CA) are actually counted.

The bolded part is excellent advice.

Parents who don't want to be bothered, oh my, you sound like these whiny Hollywood celebrities about how being cooped up in their 25 million dollar mansion with children is so hard. That's gone over real well with people....LOL.

If you're so overwhelmed at the other poster said hire someone.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,949 posts, read 12,926,393 times
Reputation: 10911
As a little update, tonight after dinner we realized that my son had gotten into and destroyed something of my wife's that was hidden under the bed in the playroom (an art project she made in graduate school which really had sentimental value for her). She blew her top at him - I was a bit worried she was going to smack him - she was throwing toys at him and such. She made him clean up the entire playroom (I secretly helped, because it was way too messy for him to clean up before bedtime) then she sent him to bed with no blankets or stuffed animals as punishment.

To make it clear, it's not like I leave him totally by himself all day. The typical schedule is something like this:

7:15 - I wake him up, dress him, get him breakfast, have him take his Vyvanse.
8:15 - I send him to the playroom.
9:00 - I collect him for morning meeting (online conference call) with his teacher/class.
9:45 - I send him back to the playroom
11:00 - Second class of the day. Typically a 30-minute online session of Music/Art/Gym/Library
11:30 - Send him back to the playroom again:
12:00 - Head down for lunch
1:00 - We work on schoolwork:
2:00 - 5:00 largely unstructured time he spends in the playroom. I usually check in on him every 30 minutes or so.
5:00 - I start making dinner (I'm the cook in the household), and normal evening routine starts - which caps off with his going to bed by 8:00.

Really I think the afternoon block is where things often go awry, because it's the only large period of time he's left by himself. Otherwise he's just left alone for 30-45 minute blocks.

I generally find he's better behaved if I let him watch a tablet. Often if it's something he's seen before he will not really pay close attention to it, just letting it play in the background. My wife tends to think of the tablet more as a "privilege" type of thing though. If he makes a mess in the playroom she'll take it away, and tell him that he won't get it back until he cleans the room, and then leave him alone in the room. This never really works, because he has about a 30-second attention span, and as soon as someone leaves the room he'll get distracted away from cleaning onto something else. He'll often start acting out even more if he doesn't have some show to watch as well. I'm not entirely sure how much of this is by accident, versus on purpose.
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