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zebter's avatar

How do I my get kids to stop unfolding laundry and throwing toys all over the room?

Asked by zebter (571points) February 18th, 2010

I have 3 boys and they do not care how hard I try to keep their rooms and the house looking nice. They throw toys and do not even play with them right. I just do not get it. When I was a kid a car rolled on the floor it was not used to see who can make the biggest whole in the wall. Well most of their toys toys have now been taken away cause of this and the fact that they will not clean up no matter what is said or done.
Also I will wash their clothes but they keep taking the clothes off the shelves and throwing them all around the room. If I am not on top of it they will take off their dirty clothes and mix it with everything. I do not have any other help with this issue in my house I seem to be the only one who cares as I do not recall my husband saying much about this ever. I am at my wits end and I need anyone’s help.
I have been thinking about getting some trunks for toys and clothes and putting locks on them in their rooms. What would you do. I feel like pulling my hair out.

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44 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

Time to call the Super Nanny.

faye's avatar

I never did spank my kids but they knew I would if they behaved poorly enough. You need your husband with you on punishment issues. Taking away treats, tv time, going out with friends. Get a family counseller to talk with. Some people say stop cleaning up but I think boys would just wear anything to school and not care as much as you. For certain don’t put the clothes away, take toys away. I saw a show about family help from Britain. The children had their beds, a book, and a toy. They had to earn everything back with proper behavior.

zebter's avatar

we took away tv but it keeps getting plugged back in when we are not in the room. husband will only do so much when he is home. some times he is really good with the boys and other times I just wish he would help me with a better attitude.

zebter's avatar

we have tired all forms of punishment.. nothing seems to work..

zebter's avatar

All we have are two foam mattresses. No dressers because they would just climb on them and jump off. I wish we had real beds for them though.

Likeradar's avatar

@zebter The TV getting plugged back in is completely unacceptable. Remove the TV, or find some sort of lock for the outlet. Your children, with all due respect, sound like disrespectful brats and you need to stop letting them reverse your discipline.

I see nothing wrong at all with locking up their things… hell they’re not even their things. You bought them, they’re yours. Perhaps they can earn the use of your things through helping around the house.

And perhaps its time to see a professional if your children are so out of control that you can’t even put reasonable furniture in their rooms.

MissAusten's avatar

You don’t say how old the boys are, but I’m guessing they are rather young. I have two boys, a six year old and one that will be five next week. They are insane, and I can only imagine what it’s like to live with three boys!

First, I think it’s very important that you sit them down and talk about the rules. Explain that your job as Mommy is not to clean up after them. Make a poster of rules if you have to, with the rules as pictures instead of words if they can’t read yet. Then, enforce the rules.

If my boys make a mess in their bedrooms, they aren’t allowed out of their bedrooms until they are clean. They will get mad and throw a fit, but I calmly remind them, “It’s almost snack time. Just get it done so you don’t miss snack.” Since they are rather young, I will help them pick up the toys only if they are helping too. The minute they start to play or sit around instead of helping, I tell them they are on their own. Sometimes it helps to give them directions so the job doesn’t seem overwhelming. I’ll say, “Pick up all the Legos first, and when that’s done we’ll work on something else.” Breaking the job into smaller jobs helps them not feel like they will never be finished. It’s important to stick to your guns. They are used to getting away without helping, so they will not instantly fall into line. They will test you. Just keep reminding them, “You made this mess so you get to clean it up.” I do not give them an allowance or anything for cleaning up their own messes. I do praise them for doing a good job when they are done.

As for the toys, you should certainly take away things they are misusing. I even explain to my kids that we work hard to have money for things they want and we will not replace them if they are broken. If they can’t play with toys in a way that doesn’t risk injury to our house (or each other), I put the toys away for at least 24 hours. If they get a toy back and continue to abuse it, it gets taken away for longer.

I think you should pick up some inexpensive dressers. If the clothes are put away, the kids can’t mess them up. They can also help sort and put their clean laundry away. Give them some responsibilities to feel good about. Both of my boys are responsible for putting away their folded laundry (although I do help the youngest because his dressers are old and difficult to open!).

As I’m typing, I’m reading the responses above. It sounds like the biggest problem is that your boys know there isn’t going to be any follow-through with discipline. Nothing you try will work if you are inconsistent or if your husband isn’t on the same page. Things will only get worse as the kids get older. Seriously, what you need to do are set ground rules according to your priorities as a family and stick to them like glue. There is no magic cure for getting kids to behave overnight. You’ll all need to change your habits.

zebter's avatar

It is just not right and I do not feel like I am getting the help I need. In the past we have even had to put a lock on the pantry to keep them from eating all the food. They are just now starting to get into the food more. There is no respect and tonight I am just so tired on top of being really sick from a cold and I can hardly breath. Husband still is not home.. wondering where the heck he is at 7pm. hmmmm

Trillian's avatar

Get the cane.

Likeradar's avatar

@zebter How old are your children? Has their behavior always been out of control? How do they act at school and other places when you’re not around?

From what you’re saying here, it sounds to me like you’re worn out, in over your head, and in need of some professional help.

zebter's avatar

9 (special needs), 7 (adhd and I think he may be bi polar cause he will be happy and then agnry in a split second and this has been happening since he was a infant.) He is the one I have most of the issues with. He acts out in school and today even through a tantrum. 4 years.. he is starting to act out more like the middle boy.

zebter's avatar

but when the little one is home alone during the day he is really good and does not get into anything.. all heck bakes out once the middle one is home. fighting, yelling you name it.. and it is driving me bonkers.

Likeradar's avatar

@zebter Are your children with special needs seeing any sort of therapist or taking any medication? Are they actually diagnosed by a professional or is it just your assumption?

The fact that they have special needs, if they actually do, likely factors a whole lot into their behavior. I’m kind of surprised you didn’t mention it in your OP.

tinyfaery's avatar

There are no amount of fluther questions that will solve your problems.

You need help from your husband.
You need to have your children evaluated and possibly be put on meds.
You need to learn some behavior management techniques and behavioral therapies.
Counseling would be good for all of you.

From all the questions you ask, you sound like you’re drowning.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

My punishment suggestion has already been covered

Finley's avatar

spank them.

zebter's avatar

@Finley I sure wished that worked. :)

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

You and y our husband must be present in the home together to deal with this. Contact the local child welfare agency and talk to a social worker. Tell them how you feel about these problems and ask for help to learn to deal more effectively with these children. They may be willing to put a worker into your home to teach you child management skills you have yet to learn. The eldest child’s special needs virtually guarantees that you will get some help.

chicadelplaya's avatar

@zebter Have your children been evaluated by an occupational therapist? It’s possible that one or all of them may be suffering from a sensory integrative dysfunction disorder or a processing disorder of some kind. This kind of thing will also affect a child’s behavior. If their school work is being affected, they should be able to get a referral from the school district. This is very important to look into!!!

Cruiser's avatar

Start with small victories! Encourage them to take responsibility for one simple task of regaining order after a good mess up. Teach them simply to refold and put away just even one towel…let know how good that made you feel to see them do such a great job and leave it at that. Repeat this the next time and as long a you are consistent in praise as opposed to complaints they will get the hint and before you know it they will be proud to do it themselves. It does work!

zebter's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence I actually am getting together with someone who is going to help point me in the right direction who will come to my home to talk about the issues soon.

zebter's avatar

oh and the lady I got in contact with is from the school system.

zebter's avatar

@Cruiser thank you I will try that as well because I know my kids must also get tired of hearing me get after them constantly.

YARNLADY's avatar

What I did when I had a throwing clothes and toys problem was to become the keeper of the toys and wardrobe mistress. They only were allowed to have one toy at a time, and exchange it for one other, or one set of clothing to wear, and all the rest under my control, plus he had to help with the laundry for a month.

At one time, we had to take the door off the bedroom when he slammed it, which was against the rules. We put it back on with his promise not to do it again a week later.

As for help from Dad, I can’t begin to imagine what would have happened if I didn’t have the full cooperation from my husband.

breedmitch's avatar

Spare the rod. Spoil the child.
Let the beatings commence.

zebter's avatar

I am going to go buy some trunks and put locks on them for each of the boys to store their clothes in until I can get dressers. Their toys will go the garage where they are not allowed to go. I will then go through the toys and anything broken or missing parts will be thrown away. I will pick out 1 or 2 toys for each of them to play with and that will be all they get. I will make up a house rules chart to display in the hall way and if they do not keep their room’s clean with what they have left or do not keep the house rules on where toys are to be played with and kept they will be taken away but they can earn them back if they do what is asked of them.

tinyfaery's avatar

And your husband…?

MissAusten's avatar

@tinyfaery Maybe he can go in the garage too?

mrentropy's avatar

@zebter What is your husband like? I ask because I’m in a similar situation with my step kids. They don’t take care of their things, they don’t take care of the house in general, they throw garbage on the floor, don’t flush toilets, etc. The list goes on and on.

Their mother is… a problem. She does nothing around the house. She sits in front of the TV or the computer and has everyone else do things. This has caused quite a bit of animosity. You see, the kids are all right when they’re at a friend’s or relative’s house. They’re polite and neat as can be. And when their mother isn’t around they’re pretty well behaved.

zebter's avatar

@mrentropy my husband is the kind of man that will step in as a last resort type of person. When I am at my braking point is normally when he steps in and then tells me to calm down. My boys do the same thing with garbage and not flushing. I just do not get it. So far they have only been home less than a hour and are behaving pretty well this evening. I took away some toys this morning because I have warned them enough and locked them away. The only have just a couple toys left to play with now. I told them they have to stay in the room and if they bring them out I will not yell and I will take them away and they will have to earn them back by following the house rules. So far there also has been no yelling or fighting which I am surprised with but I am enjoying the peace at the moment. :) thank you everyone for your encouragement and words of advice. Some of it I will try and some of it I have already tried and did not work well for us. Thank you all again. :)

faye's avatar

Keep trying-determination will win.

zebter's avatar

I have a meeting on tues. with the woman form the school and the teacher told me about the love and logic class offered to parents. I think I will take it cause I need to refresh this part as it has been a year since I took one class on it. the school I was at before did not do any more sessions after the first one. any how. thanks again. :) chin up shoulders back and March’n forward… wish me luck. lol ;)

mrentropy's avatar

I do wish you luck. Frankly, though, I think your husband needs to step in more.

zebter's avatar

Well now I am the bad guy.. I am sorry I even mentioned my husband..

tinyfaery's avatar

Who said you were the bad guy?

mrentropy's avatar

I don’t think you’re the bad guy. At all. It’s just that in the relationship I’m in, which is all I have to go by, my wife does, literally, nothing. And the kids see that and figure, “if she doesn’t have to do anything, why do I?” And that makes life very difficult for me.

Granted, these are step-kids, but I would think the principal applies. Although I didn’t mean what’s he like when it comes to disciplining the kids (which he shouldn’t wait until you’re ready to snap), but rather what does he do around the house?

Minor edit: What she does do is make a mess. She leaves cans, bottles, and all kinds of stuff all over the house and then tries to make everyone else pick it up. Hence, the kids get the attitude that since they’re being forced to pick up someone else’s mess, they may as well go ahead and make their own.

faye's avatar

I am confused as to how any accepting of bad behavior doesn’t make the whole family feel bad. How do you ever have a fun family movie marathon day with a picnic on the living room floor if mom’s burnt out? And day to day living is a constant battle?

zebter's avatar

Well apparently my husband did not like me talking about him on here and thus hurtful names were tossed in the air tonight. I feel bad because I really do not like calling names and in my book its a huge sign of disrespect. I feel horrible because I was the first to call him a name tonight and it goes against how I believe. I honestly never thought I was doing anything wrong by asking for help. Heck none of you even know who I really am or what my name is so I am not sure why he cares what people think if we are using basically fake id’s.

I will be the first to admit that I do my fair share of sitting on my butt in front of my laptop. My house is not spotless but it is not to bad for a family with 3 boys and a dog. I do clean but the moment I do clean the other rooms are being destroyed. So I figure half the time why the heck am I killing myself at all. To many other things on my mind to take care of in my life so I tackle stuff a little at a time. I am not perfect nor will I ever claim to be.

What does my husband do.. basically the same.. he sits in his office when he is not at work and play’s games most of the time. I am up and down a lot. I have to give it to him though.. he has been a bit more helpful since Oct when he came home from over seas.

mrentropy's avatar

I see. Well, if it would help, tell him I’m sorry, too. Thankfully, it sounds like your situation is different than mine.

I may start adopting your method, too, although it’ll be a bit harder around here.

thriftymaid's avatar

Little kids are not concerned with how nice and tidy the house might be, by nature. They learn bit by bit what you expect of them through your stressed patience. Remember, they do grow up.

zebter's avatar

I am just to sick this week to care much. Just thankful I have had some help today so could get some much needed rest. I am hungry off to find something to eat.

Silhouette's avatar

You don’t have to call Super Nanny but you should watch and learn. It’s a battle of wills, did deep. If you tell them they can’t have any pudding until they eat their meant, you have to mean it. This site might have a few helpful hints for you.

zebter's avatar

Thanks for the link I will go there. I have been putting my foot down and my husband has also been helping more more and more so this is good.

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