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Friday, June 29, 2012

Demolition and Destruction

My kids destroy things.  Their favorite game must be how quickly they can ruin anything in their site.  I kept hoping it was a phase that would pass, but it is just getting worse and I need help!!

Justin’s home all day alone with the 3 of them.  If he spends more than a minute doing anything other than watching their every move the find something to demolish.

In the last year they have managed to:

1. Color on things: The “paint” in our house is ghetto cheap and when you try to wash it with anything stronger then dish soap the paint comes off.  So anytime my kids color on anything it stays…seriously we cannot get it off without taking the paint off.  Apparently after coloring one day a crayon must have fallen on the floor and rolled under something and Jordan found this crayon and into her pocket it went.  Around came nap time and she colored a wall and hanging artwork (awesome paintings that Shanda got for us for our wedding!!!).  Destroyed.  After a party one night where a permanent marker was used to write names on cups the marker (and cups) were left on the counter for clean up the following morning.  Jordan woke up before us and pulled a chair to the counter to climb onto the counter to get the marker. Her and Elijah took turns coloring on the blinds, beds, walls, and doors.  Destroyed.

2. Dumping things out: If something is used to store something else then its purpose in life must actually be to remain empty.  Elijah takes it upon himself to dump out the laundry baskets constantly so that he can turn it upside down on himself and just there… his own “cave” of sorts?  The tubs in their room that keep their toys organized are constantly dumped into one pile in the room (leading to number 3).  Of course all the girls toys have tiny pieces that take 100 years to re-sort.  I exaggerate… it takes about 2 hours to sit with them and force them to sort through them.

3. Throwing things:  If something is on the floor it is made to be thrown.  After dumping out all of their toys or taking all of the board games off the shelves and dumping those out they must then throw handfuls of toys at the ceilings and the walls.  This is worst when trying to get them to clean up.  So they spent 2 minutes dumping out every toy they own in their room while Justin is preparing lunch.  He then asks them to clean up and goes back to making lunch only to come back to a room that is 10x worse with everything tossed everywhere.  Almost all of their games and toys are missing pieces!

4. Water:  I hate water.  No…I hate my kids and water.  Elijah is beginning interest in potty training and so the toilet and toilet paper is a new fascination.  We now must keep the door closed at all times (he can’t open doors yet) to keep him out to avoid overflowing the toilet…again.  This means that we require the girls to close the door while using the restroom.  You may think “well,duh – they should have privacy or be taught privacy while using the bathroom”.  To that I respond “Well then you are more then welcome to clean up the mess”.  The kids rarely go the bathroom on their own without washing their hands by flinging water on the walls, floor, counter, and mirror.  Water EVERYwhere…all the time.  At least 1 time a day.

I’m getting overwhelmed and lost as to what to do next.  I do not think my kids are poorly behaved, but I feel like we screwed up somewhere along the line for them to think the above behaviors are ok and we just don’t know how to fix it.  In general my kids are polite and good listeners. 

We’ve talked about “throwing away” all of the things they ruin (aka throwing in our storage room outside), but then we’ll just end up with bored kids without any toys to entertain them and I feel like that would just be worse.  For those of you that are thinking they just need to be watched more closely you are right about 10% of the time.  There are some of these occurrences that happen when Justin and/or I get distracted with something stupid, but a majority of the time these things happen when we are doing something that must get done like using the bathroom, making a meal, dealing with another child issue.

The problems occur when they think (know) they are not being watched.  How do you instill in a child the need to behave because it is “right” and not because somebody is watching?  How do you instill in a child good morals.  It’s easier explaining to a 5 year old we don’t do things because how it makes others feel (how would feel if I did XYZ to you?), but for a 2 and 3 year old who cares how somebody else feels? (Yay for egocentrism)

Do you have any ideas?! I’m open to anything really.  The kids have worn Justin and me out.  Mommies and Daddies out there…the Davis’ need some help.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I'm not sure what you have tried, and/or been told to try. The biggest thing you can do it change from negative reinforcement to positive reinforcement. Find anything and everything you can to tell your kids what an awesome job they are doing. Make sure that the others hear and see you reinforcing too. Chances are one of them will respond, and when they see the reward (stickers, candy, special one-on-one time with mom or dad), they will want to do the same.

    I also saw this idea where someone had a large plastic bin with a top and any time something was not used correctly it was put inside, and the child had to complete a chore in order to regain the privilege of using that toy.

    If they like dumping things out, maybe try only keeping a few toys in the bin so when they dump them out it won't be a huge mess, and then they only need to clean up at the end of the day. Try giving Eli his own laundry basket with some clothes in it that he can dump out without getting in trouble. That way he can be mommy's helper. You can try teaching him to fold right now (the girls too), and then they would be able to help you!

    Also remember they are children, and they will be a little crazy. Always reinforce what the "right" thing to do is. Don't just say "no", demonstrate and explain what is the right thing to do.

    If you are allowed to paint the walls you could get some of that chalkboard paint and paint one wall in the place that would be a designated spot for them to color.

    Good luck hon!