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My parenting problem: ObCD Obsessive Commenting Disorder


74Heaven
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So I have 5 kids; 2 are grown and on their own. It was never this bad when they were teens.

 

I have the equivalent of 3 teens at home: 12.5yob, 15yob, 17yog. The 17yo is a constant "problem child" in our home, in a rebellious stage (but improving). She is constantly complaining about fairness between her brothers and herself. And she is constantly stirring up trouble. 15yo son is a in that "I know it all" teen stage - but usually compliant and helpful.

 

With our "problem child", our motto is to not engage in her attempts to argue and stay calm and keep parenting!

 

They comment on EVERYTHING; interrupt my husband and I, boss each other around, etc. The oldest two at home are very much typical oldest children - very bossy and competitive with one another. (My husband and I are working on their interruptions, having not noticed as soon as we should -  and are having some progress.

 

Now without dissecting my many and glorious parenting flaws, how can we deal with this?

 

Mostly, I use nonemotional MYOBs, please don't interrupt, let it go, stop the bickering..... etc.

Constant reminders are not working. Warnings, etc.

 

The problem is constant and the topic is completely irrelevant. (It is noteworthy that our home is an open concept home where the three main rooms are all combined so all 5 of us are often within earshot of each other.)

 

Here's an example:

 

ME: I have got to remember to turn in my team T-shirt. (I have missed 2-3 opptys when it was with me.)

 

BOY 15: Oh I reminded you about that.    (At an unhelpful time like in the middle of an algebra lesson)

 

GIRL: YOU didn't turn yours IN? I turned mine in the NEXT DAY!    ( judgmental tone - I washed it and gave it to her)

 

BOY 12: It is on the dash in the car. (True, unnecessary tho cuz I knew that)

 

BOY 15: No, its not. Its in the laundry room.    

 

GIRL: What, you haven't even WASHED it YET?   (judgmental tone)

 

ME: Yes, its in the car. I guess I need to write myself a note. (no signs of exasperation usually - really, veteran parent)

 

BOY 15: No, its in the laundry room, I saw it. (3 days ago)

 

BOY 12: It is NOT in the laundry room. I put it in the car for mom. (2 cents worth)

 

GIRL: Its in the car but its in the trunk. (its not, never was)

 

BOY 15: No, its not in the car. I'm positive it is in the laundry room. (3 days ago)

 

ANNOYED HUSBAND: Mom said it's in the car. Not DROP IT! (slightly raised voice)

 

GIRL: Mom ASKED us where it was!!! (I did not)

 

MOM: I DID NOT. I just mentioned returning my T-shirt. (Annoyed, Exasperated, Tired)

 

So, as you can see, most of these comments are useless. Most of the time *I* don't even say anything - I don't even say the original comment because I realize what will happen (the above) and it exhausts me.

 

Recent topics are chores, other people's homework, pets, is it allowance day, etc. I know I'm not alone because my two walking partners have grown children and they assure me it is normal.

 

So advice, thoughts - gentle ones please - condolences..... :)

 

Lisa J, mom to 5

 

 

 

 

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So advice, thoughts - gentle ones please - condolences.....

My condolences. We are having a similar crop of comments in my household, except that DH can be as much of a problem as the kids. My kids are even similar ages. It does puzzle me, because I remember when we were all happy together. I miss that.

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I don't understand.  If you mention something outloud, aren't you sort of inviting a conversation about it?   I get how the comments from the kids are annoying, especially when they are arguing about a non-issue and pecking at each other...but your sort of invited it, didn't you? 

 

Or were you talking just to DH?  If that's the case, this makes more sense.  In which case I would start a MYOB campaign by carrying a squirt gun in my pocket.  When they stick their nose into something that isn't for them, squirt them.  Say nothing.  Just squirt.

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It does sound kind of normal but normal teen behavior is often cause for wanting to tear your hair out.  I just walk away to the other side of the room, bathroom etc... What they really want is to be snarky and pick at each other.  I have an 11 y.o. dd and 13 y.o. ds who are the best of friends and they still do this occasionally.  Other then walking away I will also tell them to get out of my space and I don't want to hear it, I'm not horribly polite about it.

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Yep, that drives me nuts but I deal with it too. Only the three kids in that scenario are the 12 year old, the 13 year old and my husband who seems to dearly love bickering, especially with our first born. I've threatened to move away and change my name. Might still do that some day. ;)

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I was complaining about this to a friend the other day and she pointed out that it was God's way of helping us let go of the dc. I think she may be right as mine are 161/2 and 18 and we are happy to spend time apart from each other more and more frequently as they flex their independence.

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I don't understand.  If you mention something outloud, aren't you sort of inviting a conversation about it?   I get how the comments from the kids are annoying, especially when they are arguing about a non-issue and pecking at each other...but your sort of invited it, didn't you? 

 

Or were you talking just to DH?  If that's the case, this makes more sense.  In which case I would start a MYOB campaign by carrying a squirt gun in my pocket.  When they stick their nose into something that isn't for them, squirt them.  Say nothing.  Just squirt.

 

 

OMG...THIS THIS THIS...    I clicked here b/c we are having SUCH A HUGE problem with this too between my two.  And it's not conversation, it's know it all, competition, arguements that are there for the sake of pushing each other around.  Yes, I know it's pretty normal to some extent, but my two completely ruin any peace around here.  This is my house and I want peace, so when it goes too far , I am going to squirt away!!  LOL

 

I understand exactly where you're coming from, OP!  

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I would use humor.  I'd write myself a note and say "Ok, who's forehead should I staple it to?" or something equally dumb.  If  you take a light tone then so will they.  I don't see anything they said as rebellious or anything.  Just teenagerish.  Then I would remember to not interrupt Algebra if I didn't want to get my teen off track.  And I'd remember to just quietly write a note next time without making it a committee decision.  

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I don't understand.  If you mention something outloud, aren't you sort of inviting a conversation about it?   I get how the comments from the kids are annoying, especially when they are arguing about a non-issue and pecking at each other...but your sort of invited it, didn't you? 

 

Or were you talking just to DH?  If that's the case, this makes more sense.  In which case I would start a MYOB campaign by carrying a squirt gun in my pocket.  When they stick their nose into something that isn't for them, squirt them.  Say nothing.  Just squirt.

 

Thanks for the squirt gun idea. i like it. I am trying to enjoy more light moments and laughter with the kids. They'd like that altho I know they'd (boys!!!) one up me with bigger guns & I wouldn't find that amusing.

 

As far as the mentioning something aloud, I usually don't. It is just when anyone mentions anything aloud, including dh.... then all the kids comment and it turns into a disagreement or lengthy meaningless dialogue. Five talkative people too.

 

Just constant commenting disorder

 

Thanks for all the replies!

 

Lisa J

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Thanks for the squirt gun idea. i like it. I am trying to enjoy more light moments and laughter with the kids. They'd like that altho I know they'd (boys!!!) one up me with bigger guns & I wouldn't find that amusing.

 

As far as the mentioning something aloud, I usually don't. It is just when anyone mentions anything aloud, including dh.... then all the kids comment and it turns into a disagreement or lengthy meaningless dialogue. Five talkative people too.

 

Just constant commenting disorder

 

Thanks for all the replies!

 

Lisa J

I totally get this, because it is the same way here. It's as though if there's going to be any spoken words at all, it's going to devolve into a nit-picking heap of sass. It doesn't matter who made the first remark or what was specifically said. There's just this irritating dynamic that happens regardless. In recent history, topics that have devolved included: the driver of the vehicle's choice of road to take home from church (FROM CHURCH!), whether a teacher going on a mission trip was admirable or crazy, and whether or not cinnamon is an acceptable ingredient in a chicken spice rub.

 

I grow weary.

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That happens around here, too, but DH and I find ourselves joining in, only not at the same time. I'll catch DH bickering back at the kids and ask him to stop and then the next day it's *me* doing the bickering and he has to tell me to stop. We're all guilty in this household!

 

Now that I've read this thread it's really been brought to the forefront of my attention and I suppose the change will have to start with DH and me. The kids are just following our lead really. We don't nip it in the bud but rather we water it and let it grow!

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Oh boy, can I relate! I have no solutions, but I just had to chime in to say to the OP that your parenthetical commentaries made me laugh!

 

Maybe they get their incessant commenting from you, lol??

 

:lol:

 

J/k. I feel you, I really really do. Hoping to read for solutions...

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That happens around here, too, but DH and I find ourselves joining in, only not at the same time. I'll catch DH bickering back at the kids and ask him to stop and then the next day it's *me* doing the bickering and he has to tell me to stop. We're all guilty in this household!

 

Now that I've read this thread it's really been brought to the forefront of my attention and I suppose the change will have to start with DH and me. The kids are just following our lead really. We don't nip it in the bud but rather we water it and let it grow!

So true! Guilty here!

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If you happen to have, or can get your hands on, Critical Thinking Book 1 (http://www.criticalthinking.com/critical-thinking-series.html) it has a great chart in the front titled something like "When It's Stupid to Argue."  DS asked me to make 2 copies for him!  :p

 

Two relevant bits that come to mind right now:

 

1.  If the item in question is a factual matter (e.g., the exact current location of the shirt - someone can just go look and then no one will have to argue!)

2.  If the item in question is a matter of opinion (e.g., Quill's cinnamon as an element of a spice rub)

 

 

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 (It is noteworthy that our home is an open concept home where the three main rooms are all combined so all 5 of us are often within earshot of each other.)

 

 

OMG, I just read this.  If I may, here's my advice: MOVE.  I don't understand open concept homes or how anyone is supposed to have a conversation that everyone else isn't involved in.  It's no wonder at all that they are all getting on each other's nerves.  This is one of the reasons that I love older homes with not only lots of different rooms, but also doors that close those rooms off.  We recently put french doors on the openings from our LR to our kit and DR.  If the kids want to play a board game at the table, I don't want to hear every second of it. Nor do they want to hear everything that the ladies say when they come over to knit.  Oy.

 

If you can't move, I strongly suggest you do what you can to create more separate spaces in your home.  Build in some walls, add some screens, something.

 

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You've probably addressed this, but are they wearing themselves out with exercise?? 

 

IME (with my kids and myself) lack of enough exercise and way too many hormones and emotions makes us edgy. That's one of the things that could drive nitpicking with everyone. 

 

I find it very, very healthy to have my kids in sports or running or playing outside or on the swim team so that there's a positive place to expend pent-up hormones (hello, testosterone!) And running is hugely helps me take the edge off my nerves. 

 

Also sending you  :grouphug:  and praying you can receive wisdom for how to respond and parent though this! 

 

Lisa

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So I'm the only one to whom this sounds totally normal?

The only thing needing fixing is the mother's exasperation. Other than that, I really don't see the issue. 

If you want more quiet, I would just ask for that. Like have a set time where people agree to work quietly & not talk to each other unless there's blood or fire involved. Or even point blank saying 'can you knock it off, I need quiet now'

And if I was going to try to fix it, I would not apply +P methods but rather +R.  Operant conditioning

You could take them aside individually & tell them they're giving you grey hairs & an eye twitch & could they please start to self-monitor and stick to comments that are actually helpful.

Also see The 8 Ways of Changing Behavior (4 bad fairies, 4 good fairies)

Also see Sheldon Training Penny

https://youtu.be/bDZCyObMfkA



 

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So I'm the only one to whom this sounds totally normal?

 

 

 

 

No.  But I love teens.  We all bicker and make sarcastic comments and all but it has an underlying camaraderie and respect for each other to it.  Every now and then my Aspie starts to take things to seriously but overall, no one's nose gets too bent out of shape.  If it gets too wild I make an outrageous threat and they back down a bit.  But that's the way it was in my high school classes I taught too.  Occasionally I will tell them that I'm too tired or am feeling stressed and they'll take pity on me!  

 

I agree that having your own space might be the way to go.  

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So I'm the only one to whom this sounds totally normal?

 

 

 

 

 

 

No, I don't think it's normal.  Common, sure, but not normal.  Two people (especially parents, but really all people) should be able to have a conversation without bystanders (or children) butting in, making unsolicited comments, and using every thing uttered aloud as material for bickering and being obnoxious.

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I try to ignore and/or respond that the comment was rude, or I do that whole was that comment true, neccessary, or kind?!? thing.  I have at times made one go through a concordance and find and copy every bible verse about silence and idle words.  But I think this is mostly a stage.

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I've been giving this some more thought and I wonder if it's just who they are, personality wise?  My sisters and I communicate in a very similar manner, it frustrates the heck out of my mom.  She ends up telling us to "stop bickering" and we think it's funny because to us we're just talking.  We've been this way for 30+ years and I don't think it's going to change.  She usually just goes outside or turns the TV up. 

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hornblower...

as the daughter of an alcoholic narcissitic mom who got pregnant when she was VERY young, I struggle with modeling and enforcing healthy discipline methods instead of going back to what I naturally absorbed throughout my childhood.

 

I was intrigued by your links and just knowing there are other ways of correcting behaviors gave me a quick lift of my spirits this morning.

 

Thanks for sharing, and I sent DH your youtube clip about reinforcing with chocolate.  In a house of almost all girls, that would work well, lol.  JK (kind of)

I know that's not a healthy thing, but it was funny to see in action, lol.

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Thanks for all the comments, condolences, etc.  I guess this is an area where we'll have to work on with more concentrated effort. 

 

I also think that this problem is exacerbated by more people/kids (i.e. more people to comment), extroverted kids and the open concept home. And always "togetherness" which is part of our rural location, homeschooling, shared hobbies, etc.

I am also a slightly burned-out, tired homeschooling momma. I thirst for quiet. My idea of family night, is snacks and everyone get a good book and a comfy spot in the family room and don't say a word! (The only ones who think that sounds awesome are my adult homeschooling mom friends!!!) My 85yo mom lives alone and has a quiet life and I always tell her, semi-jokingly, "You're living my dream!"

 

The hardest part is the "constant" part of the comments. They just never end and no subject (cinnamon as spice rub ingredient) is too trivial.

 

You are all great! I appreciate you

 

Lisa J, mom to 5

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