Hello all. First post here. I am currently a single mom to 5 beautiful girls - ages 7 months, 5, 9, and 2 10 yr olds. I am a foster parent to some of these girls and an adoptive parent to the rest. I am really independent and love parenting and being a mom.
This has been a stressful few weeks with one of my kids very busy with her dancing - as it is competition time to spending lots of time at rehearsals and competitions. Also my sister, whom I am very close to, has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. My parents are older and have some health issues as well.
So I need some help and support right now. About the last month, I have felt more and more like I have totally lost any authority and control of my children. The baby is fine but the older girls are behaving so badly I keep saying 'I can't believe that you..." or "I have had enough of...". Prior to this they were generally fairly well behaved and I am not sure what the turning point was or if they are also just reacting to all my stress?? They lie to me continually - about everything - they steal from me (sometimes little things like all of my gum, my chocolates, etc. but also money lately), they do not listen nor do as they are asked most of the time. I have tried almost everything I can think of - but I struggle as the most effective way is doing things with them but it is just not feasible for me as a single parent to do this with a baby in the house and 4 older kids needing help. I also struggle as the oldest are 9 and 10 yrs old and really shouldn't need me to help them all the time should they??? I am just so frustrated - bedtime is a nightly battle - with 2 girls in each bedroom - they keep one another awake, play, talk, fool around, fight, etc. I am busy downstairs putting the baby to bed and cannot always go up and supervise them to get ready for bed, go to bed and fall asleep - that would take hours of my time every night. I feel like when I ask them something or remind them of the rules - I get lip service - "I know..." or "I didn't..." or "I will..." but no follow through. I feel horrible as this past week I have resorted to yelling at them, guilting them (not on purpose but I got so upset that I started crying and had to explain that I felt badly as none of them were listening or doing what they are asked to do), and even spanking my own 2 (I HATE that things have gotten this bad). I have always been a fairly strict parent - with rewards for good behaviour and consequences for not good behaviour. They are currently grounded - no computer, games, phone, friends - in their rooms after school unless they are in a specific activity that they cannot miss. I hate being the bad guy and it hurts to always hear how mean I am, how they hate me, etc.
I feel so frustrated - I feel like I am a good mom and these are all good kids - but it has all snowballed into a big mess. I feel like we need a fresh start but don't know where to even start. I don't trust any of them to tell the truth, do what i ask them to do, follow our house/family rules or behave appropriately. I don't know what else to do...help