Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kids And Contracts

This morning I got an email from E-how, about an article on "How To Make A Contract With Your Teen On School." My kids are still little, one of them not even in school yet, but I thought the article might give me some insight on dealing with issues that currently plague my family.

My oldest only slightly remembers his bio father. My husband is 'Dad' and he's raised them as his own. However, my oldest does exhibit some signs of extreme inability to control his emotions. I won't lie, I'm having a very hard time controlling mine lately as well. And so is my husband.

The video is short, and there's a transcript. But it gives a very simple overview of why and how to use a contract to set expectations, track, and reward or apply consequences to behavior.

I have no doubt that my son's behaviors were learned by the time he was 22 months old, from his bio, and as a result of his bio leaving. Until bio left, his standard MO was to scream and stomp his fee in a rage, until he got his way. Behaviors are learned in early childhood and my son certainly seems to have learned that one.

I've battled with him over this since he was 2 years old. But in the past week or two, he's become just unreal. It doesn't help that hubby and I are working long hours and we have no 'family' to help us out. When they are demanding attention, and we are just too tired to give it to them, there is no one we can call to say "take them off our hands for a while."

We're working all the time right now. Which is causing them to get no attention at all. So they keep acting out to get attention. We're sleep deprived and short tempered with regards to their acting out, so all their behavior manages to accomplish, is to make us angry and punish them.

They still aren't getting attention though, so they just keep acting out, in spite of it not getting the results they want.

Most days lately, I really want to just give up on raising them at all. I wasn't cut out for this, and I really believe that to raise a family, you need to have a family yourself- for a support system. I always knew my 'family' wasn't any kind of 'family' and never were or would be a support system for me if I had kids. The one thing they never let me down on, was the fact that they would in fact, let me down. Knowing that I didn't have a family was the reason that I didn't want to have kids of my own. I always knew I would be completely on my own with them if I did.

Their bio convinced me otherwise. What he left out of his empty promises, was that if I stopped paying them to be a family to us, they would cease to be one. Once the money stopped, they walked out, and said they would still take the kids, but there would be another price to pay for that too. Any time they have my kids, I have to tolerate harassment from them.

My wonderful mother seems to think that I should send the kids to these people to 'get a break,' even at the cost of the harassment, and of the kids learning from these people, to treat people this way. After all, it must be ok if they're still allowed to go there, right?

I'm lost in this life. These kids will never have a 'family.' Both my husband and I are practically orphans. His mother and mine are both too self-involved, self-absorbed and self-centered to realize that while they had their own parents to help raise their kids, they don't seem to think they should do the same for their own kids. They seem to think it's up to welfare and daycare and babysitters to act in the capacity that their own parents acted in, family.

I know that 'consistency' is the key in teaching children acceptable, healthy behaviors. I'm going to try a contract to help with that conistency, and pray that it helps. I just don't know how the enforcement of consequences will pan out with a child who rages when he doesn't get his way, and no family support system to step in and help out when I'm at the end of my rope and ready to just strangle him.

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