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Any suggestions?

My husband is in the military and he's going to be gone for a few months, my 13 year old sister that I’ve had custardy of for 7 years (she calls my husband pop and me Mimi) and we have a 4 year old son they’re good kids they say please and thank you, yes mama/sir no mama/sir, holds our hand or stays by our side in public, my sister always told me where she was going and when she would be back, was getting straight A’s in school and my son helps my sister feed her cats as his chore, we rarely have to discipline them and if we do we both sit with them and explain why they were disciplined, but since my husband and I told them and he has been doing a lot of prep and training to leave they both have been acting out of the ordinary, my sister got into a fight at school, her grades have been going down, she’s not coming home after school till late without calling or asking, and she locks herself in her room and my son is throwing fits, screaming, covering his head when we talk to him. We’ve tried talking to them, disciplining them, taken them out on one on one “dates” to see if that would help but it seems like we’re not getting anywhere and we don’t know what else to do, can someone give us any suggestions ?

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Asked by Anonymous at 6:45 AM on Mar. 30, 2011 in General Parenting

Answers (6)
  • Sorry they are reacting so strongly to the upcoming situation. Set up strict guidelines for the 13 year old so things don't get worse. Monitor everything she does and maybe start picking her up at school? Go in and talk to her teachers so they are aware of what is going on. Work together with them to help her. Keep doing the one on one time. It will pay off eventually, for sure. You might also tell them how much you will need their "help" when your husband is gone (but not so much that they feel additional pressure). And make sure they feel loved. Look into getting Skype or any video messaging like that. If you don't have it already have them help with the research for it. I hope this "rough patch" doesn't last too long. I wish all of you the best and thank your husband for his service. GL

    Answer by elizabr at 7:08 AM on Mar. 30, 2011

  • Sounds like a serious separation anxiety issue. They've no doubt seen the war played on television, online, in the newspaper (at least your sister has) and knowing that their dad is headed there...very very scary and frightening for them. Elizabr has excellent suggestions. I hope everything works out and your husband is home soon.

    Answer by meooma at 7:20 AM on Mar. 30, 2011

  • Sounds like separation anxiety! She could be scared and really needs to talk about it... is there a school counselor she could open up to? It also sounds like he's acting out because he see's her act out.


    Answer by anichols1 at 7:23 AM on Mar. 30, 2011

  • they're upset about him leaving. sit them down and have an open discussion about why he has to leave and why it's important for the family as well as the country. let this be a "honest zone" where they can say exactly what's on their mind without being labeled "childish" or being punished. let them know that their opinions are important to the both of you. if this doesn't help, you should seek out family counseling.

    Answer by TiffanieK at 7:29 AM on Mar. 30, 2011

  • The previous answers are very good advice. They seemed to have "nailed" the problems and where they are coming from. Use a part of each of their suggestions and don't give up. Loving them, supporting their opinions, and helping them with their fears are of the utmost importance right now. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.

    Answer by rosiemendo at 7:41 AM on Mar. 30, 2011

  • Dont be to hard on their acting out. Set expectations by all means, dont let that slide but understand that they are missing him already.They are afraid.He is very important to them &the vacancy is scary for them Help them to understand,why he is leaving &he will return.That you both love them very much. You arent leaving &you can be counted on. Plan parties for Dad to help with the separation anxiety. Separation Anxiety is tuff, so you will need to be aware of every detail of their emotions to stay ahead of it so they dont make bad choices, and understand their choices when they do... but dont overact to their bad doings as negative attention is easier to address with negative attention than positive &separation anxiety often flourishes negative attention. Bcuz their hurting &feel out of control of their normal environment so they strike out to find that control even if its unusual negative behavior. I hope this make since...

    Answer by lacyjones at 10:17 AM on Mar. 30, 2011

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