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Kids and mom both out of control!

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I've recently become involved with a single mother, Cindy, whom has 2 kids ages 8 and 12 living with her. I have been married but never any kids.


Cindy has led a very rollercoaster life…she's been married three times and oftentimes leads a fairly wild lifestyle. She often works six days a week, so the kids are latchkey. If she has to work the weekend, they're home alone.


What I am observing is a household out of control. Cindy appears to have absolutely no tolerance for her kids….and her kids don't seem to listen to her at all. The typical day is Cindy comes home from work, walks in the front door and starts screaming at the kids for all the messes they've made, or whatever. And when I say screaming I mean screaming laced with F-word profanity. She also seems to find reason to spank the kids nearly everyday! Yet the kids still continue to make messes or do whatever the offense was that got them in trouble sometimes just minutes before….it appears they don't care and their mom has no ability to control their behavior. This goes on every day…I'm not kidding.


I have seen her yell at the kids for something…lets say leaving their shoes in the middle of the floor…and even spank them for it. Yet 15 minutes later, they'll do the exact same thing again! And they'll do it over and over again. If I was the kid…I'd never leave my shoes there again.


Both kids are constantly whining, too…


Cindy does not set a good example…she obviously makes no effort to clean house and often leaves her own clothes thrown around. There are other things she does that does not set a good example.


I've also noticed that Cindy doesn't seem too concerned whether the kids eat or not…often leaving the kids to fend for themselves.


The kids father is a drunk and a drug user. They spend about every other weekend with him. Ugh!


When Cindy is not around her kids she is a totally different person….calm, sweet, rational, humorous, and amazingly compassionate!


She has told me she is at her wits end. I truly believe if she could pawn her kids off on their father she would do it. I don't believe she would ever intentionally hurt them physically. I think she just doesn't want to be bothered with being a parent anymore…she has admitted she doesn't give them any quality time…mostly because when she does have a few minutes to relax, she would rather do something she enjoys…not deal with kids.


And for the record, one of the kids is ADD and takes Ridalyn (sp?)…and Cindy believes she has adult ADD although I don't believe she has been professionally diagnosed as such.


Cindy has many other redeeming qualities….parenting just doesn't appear to be one of them. I would like to help Cindy with all of this but I have no idea where to start. And I doubt that she will change her behaviors to try to set a good example….I think she thinks yelling is easier and less time consuming, yet she admits it doesn't work.


I guess the first and most obvious thing you will tell me is she needs to accept her role as the parent. I don't know if I can fix that. I'm also concerned that she is building up serious resentment toward her kids….on the rare occasions they do something nice or sweet, she blows it off.

But is there any other advice you have that can lower the tension and conflict between mom and kids? Such as why the kids aren't listening? How could Cindy better get them to do what they're supposed to without so much yelling and spanking?

Any help is appreciated. Oh and I don't know if counseling is an option if for no other reason they already are barely surviving paycheck to paycheck.

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Hello Marco,


Wow that is a tough position for you. I can see that you care for this woman, yet are concerned with how she is acting toward her kids.


I think you have every right to be concerned. Frankly I am extremely concerned about these children. If they aren't getting enough to eat and being spanked repeatedly I think that constitutes abuse. She is going to have to do a serious turn around for the sake of her children or the state is going to remove them from her home.


One thing that you said concerns me deeply:

And I doubt that she will change her behaviors to try to set a good example

I am curious why you have said this. Because if this is truly the case, that would make her a lost cause. If you truly believe that she will not change, I implore you to involve social services for the health and welfare of these children. I know it isn't what you want to do - but I ask you to put the needs of the children ahead of your own needs and Cindy's needs in this case.


Now if we assume that she COULD change if given the proper assistance - there are many low cost or free classes that Cindy could arrange through social services or the welfare office for low income families. They have classes on anger management, parenting, parenting special needs children, time management, and so forth. She should check these classes out. Also there are support groups available where parents can meet together to discuss problems in raising their children.


I can't give you any quick fixes to this situation. Because I firmly believe the problem is Cindy - and not the children. She is the one who is going to have to get help. But I beg you - as a father myself, please do what is right for these children. Lay it on the line for Cindy and tell her she really has no choice. She MUST work on things. If she refuses, I ask you to please contact social services for help. Yes it will end the relationship with Cindy - but you will have saved some children in return.



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You don't say how old her children are - but I agree with avman - something needs to be done. They can be stubborn, uncooperative, and whiny - but they're still the kids, and hey, kids can be trying at times, it comes with the territory, she's the parent. I don't think it's possible to NEVER lose patience with your family, kids, spouse on occasion - but this kind of conflict shouldn't be a daily event, it's not good for the kids at all, they sound like they'll take ANY attention, even the most negative, over no attention. There are several programs in most states that are free on parenting, plenty of support groups that are also free, maybe if you look some of them up and present her with the information you can talk her into going to one and see if she'll take advantage of them. If not, you might be in the position of going to social services, if only for the welfare of the kids.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It actually sounds to me like the kids are really normal. The 8 year old may be a little more cooperative but the 12 year old is starting into adolesense. This is a tough time for any child.


Cindy sounds overworked and exhausted. She probably could use some help with the house work and with the kids. It's tough to come home from work and have to deal with the house and the kids. I agree that spanking and cussing at the kids is inappropriate and that Cindy could benefit from some parenting classes, but what she could probably use even more is support from her friends and family. Have you thought about helping Cindy out around the house? If you're there when she arrives home from work, are you helping the kids to pick up, helping them with homework or making dinner?


I'm concerned for the well being of Cindy and her kids, but I'm actually more concerned with your attitude towards Cindy. When you say that she doesn't keep a clean house and are complaining about how she handles the kids I wonder if you really think that Cindy is all that great?

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Thanks for all your insight. First, let me say I don't see the kids as being in any danger. I think what I was seeing was the climax of the clash of an overworked, underpaid, overstressed single mom and some kids who we're trying to be as difficult as possible. Things have got better since. I talked to Cindy and told her, from my totally inexperienced view, she needed to a) find better leverage points with her kids (instead of yelling and screaming), b) think and maybe take a break before she yells at the kids about something.


She is trying it and we're seeing results! Instead of yelling matches, Cindy has instead started taking away things (toys and priviledges) from the kids when they don't do what they're supposed to do like keep their room clean or clean up their messes in the rest of the house...and believe me they're not asked to do much! This is working very well and the shouting and tension has almost disappeared.

I think the main issue Cindy was facing was I think she was going through some depression and she just let the house go herself....so the kids were following her example. So when she started asking them to keep things clean, they couldn't understand why the change. Plus the ADD kid is now on a different med which is calming things down greatly.

Yes!, I do help out around the house quite a bit. I wash the dishes, vacuum, do laundry, fix things, help the kids with homework (if they don't already have it done), etc.

No its not a pefect situation...mom works too many hours, can barely pay the bills, and is not a great role model. But you have to understand, she has sacrificed everything for these kids herself, and of course gets no help from the kids fathers. She stays home every night to be there for the kids. I'll continue to try to help and advise, and will take your advice and try to seek some parenting help for her...and I'll also try to talk to her about the example she sets.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks again!

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Something else that can help immensely - once a week if possible, you or someone she's close to take the kids to a park, McDs playplace for an ice cream or something cheap but active - and let her have the house to herself for a while to read a book, have a bubble bath, basically kick back WITHOUT needing to worry about hearing "MOOOOOOMMMMMM, he's LOOKING at ME!!!" as soon as she's settled. Everyone needs some true "downtime" to really relax without any pressure from anyone - and it doesn't sound like she gets much of that. I love my kids to death - and there's days I could scream and want to hide because I'd KILL for just a little peace and quiet, not as much now they're older, but when they were younger... oh boy. And there's nothing more romantic than things that really look at and address something you don't know how to ask for for yourself either!

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  • 7 months later...

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