AIBU teaching my 11yo a lesson?

(91 Posts)
Nicki1111 Mon 01-Feb-16 17:20:54

I just came back from a two week holiday to Australia with my two sons, 6 & 11. We had a great time, but my eldest was "picking on" his brother about the fact that he cant swim (we've already booked him lessons) during the final week of the holiday.

As my youngest can't swim, he wears armbands (waterwings) to keep him afloat. But, my eldest kept going on how he could go underwater because he can swim and "doesn't need armbands like a baby". It went on for an hour or so, and my youngest was getting quite upset. But, my eldest wouldn't stop, even with giving him two warnings.

To teach him a life lesson in treating people with respect, including his brother, I bought an extra pair of armbands and didn't allow him near the water without them for the final week of the holiday. My thought in doing this was that he would no longer pick on his brother. And, it worked! No more bickering about the matter for the rest of the holiday. However, my eldest really didn't like the punishment and I fear that I was unreasonable. Was I?

TL/DR: Made my eldest wear armbands to stop him picking on his brother.

goodnightdarthvader1 Mon 01-Feb-16 17:25:57

You'll get loads of posters saying YABU. I don't think you were. You taught him very well that he needs to respect his brother and not be so rude. Well done.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Mon 01-Feb-16 17:26:55

By teaching him what is acceptable and what is not. Teaching him about being sensitive to the needs of others.
YA most certainly NBU. You're his mentor, his role model. You're a good mum instilling discipline and consequences. And Yes granted perhaps not now, but
He'll come to respect you for it.

Nicki1111 Mon 01-Feb-16 17:32:42

Thanks, goodnightdarthvader1. I've kept the armbands as a reminder for him in case the same thing occures again. They worked very well at keeping him safe in and around the water. We may bring them out again when we go on our little boat and all of the free lifejackets are being used (as long as I stay close to both of them).

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Mon 01-Feb-16 17:39:55

I'll bite and say of course you were being unreasonable!

He teased his brother for one hour and you humiliated him for one week and are continuing to hold the threat over him.

I suppose your 6 year old is angelic and never winds his brother up, or that if he does you are equally harsh?

I hour teasing is not OK of course - but the punishment should fit the crime (and so, last about an hour) and not last a week and take the form of public humiliation. 1 hour teasing meaning 1 week of humiliation is very unreasonable. Wearing arm bands is deeply humiliating to an 11 year old who can swim. Humiliation is not usually a great parenting technique, and he may not have teased his brother after you began humiliating him but he has probably started to hate really resent him seeing how extremely you took his side.

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Mon 01-Feb-16 17:43:27

So many parents crack down really hard on anything but perfect behaviour from eldest to youngest but allow a lifetime of low level bullying from a younger sibling because the older one should be old enough to rise above it (no matter that this continues to be the line when the youngest reaches the age at which the eldest was initially informed of their mature and able to rise above teasing, pestering, having their possessions broken, having their privacy invaded, being deliberately embarrassed in front of their friends, being jumped on and called names etc. status).

Nicki1111 Mon 01-Feb-16 17:45:05

My aim was not to humiliate my son, but to teach him to respect his brother and other. He only wore the armbands in the private pool and we didn't go to any beahces

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 01-Feb-16 17:45:13

Hmm, YANBU to be angry about the bullying, but I think YWBVU to humiliate an 11 year old for an entire week. For the rest of the day, maybe, but not for half of his holiday. That's OTT and really harsh to the oldest, imo.

Canyouforgiveher Mon 01-Feb-16 17:45:32

I don't like punishments that are designed to humiliate as this one was so no I don't think this was your finest hour as a parent.

Also the punishment went on for half of your holiday - a long on-going humiliating punishment because he teased his younger brother and didn't listen to you. What will you do if he does something truly bad?

I also don't understand why the teasing went on for an hour? Surely when you heard him stop you told him to stop teasing? Why the 2 warnings over a 2 hour period and no action? I'd have reacted immediately and told him he wasn't going to swim that afternoon or have an icecream or whatever the thing was he wanted to do because he was teasing and not listening to you.

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Mon 01-Feb-16 18:20:40

I also don't understand why the teasing went on for an hour? Surely when you heard him stop you told him to stop teasing? Why the 2 warnings over a 2 hour period and no action? I'd have reacted immediately and told him he wasn't going to swim that afternoon or have an icecream or whatever the thing was he wanted to do because he was teasing and not listening to you.

This too!

This occurred to me as I was cooking dinner and being over invested in just how unreasonable the OP has been to her DS1!

Presumably a parent is very close to a non swimmer in a pool and the teasing could have been knocked on the head within the first 2 minutes, not gone on for an hour and then been responded to by a week long punishment - and of course you meant to humiliate him!

If wearing arm bands is not humiliating to an 11 year old why did you view it as a punishment? No reason to make him do it, except to punish him by humiliating him. For a week.

DD has a frenimy whose horrible bullying excuse for a father makes her fish poo out of the toilet with her hands if she forgets to flush - nobody outside her family sees (normally) but the entire reason it is so hideous is because it is humiliating. Humiliation does not need to be witnessed by an entire beach full of people to be humiliation.

Crazypetlady Mon 01-Feb-16 18:27:02

This was definitely humiliation. Your oldest son was out of order completely but here you come across as a bully. YABU

Sangria Mon 01-Feb-16 18:37:52

It worked, you've proved your point and your authority. Maybe next time you could give him another chance after (say) a day.

You need to keep an eye open for more subtle bullying from the younger one, though, if he gets the idea that he can use you against his brother.

tictactoad Mon 01-Feb-16 18:46:50

You made the point but yes, YWBVVU.

I'm amazed you managed to get him into them at all let alone for a week but in any case a week was far, far too long.

Fairenuff Mon 01-Feb-16 18:50:30

You were unreasonable to humiliate him like that. Also in failing to stop him teasing his brother by not stepping in at the time. Two warnings and then what? Why two warnings, one is the norm.

multivac Mon 01-Feb-16 18:51:12

Are you looking for a medal?

Personally, I wouldn't humiliate one of my children in an attempt to teach them respect for others. Not least because at 11, they are both smart enough to point out the ridiculous hypocrisy.

Fairenuff Mon 01-Feb-16 18:52:40

We may bring them out again when we go on our little boat and all of the free lifejackets are being used (as long as I stay close to both of them)

Also, please don't do this. Make sure there are enough lifejackets for everyone.

Nanny0gg Mon 01-Feb-16 18:57:42

You allowed the 'teasing' to go on for too long and the same for the punishment.

The theory behind the punishment was sound but to make it last a week was highly unreasonable.

And I hope you crack down on the youngest in the same way when he winds his brother up.

PennyHasNoSurname Mon 01-Feb-16 18:58:09

Maybe you should address with your eldest the fact that he wont follow instruction (to stop teasing his brother) from you and why the warnings were useless?

Do you have a habit of issuing empty threats/warnings and as such he doesnt listen when you tell him not to do something?

Ywbvu to allow the bullying to go on that long - defend your youngest fgs!!

Ywnbu to make him wear the armbands for an hour in solidarity with his younger brother. A whole week is nasty though.

marfisa Mon 01-Feb-16 19:09:22

Sorry OP, your post made me cringe. As an adult, you're supposed to be modelling good behaviour, not humiliating your own child. You don't humiliate a child in order to teach him not to humiliate someone else. Just as you don't hit a child in order to teach him not to be violent.

What your DS will take away from this is resentment against you.

You're right to stop him from teasing his brother, but you need to respond in a way that gives him a chance to improve his behaviour. I would say something to him like, 'OK, if I hear you teasing your brother again, you'll have to leave the water immediately. After half an hour, if you apologise to your brother, you can go back in again.' Or something like that. An achievable goal that gives him an incentive to mend his ways. A week is far too long and you're not giving him a chance to change his behaviour and practise being kind to his brother.

My two DC are similar in age though and it does drive me bonkers to hear the older one teasing the younger one.

IHaveBrilloHair Mon 01-Feb-16 19:11:13

A week?
Fuck me, that's harsh

SomewhereInbetween Mon 01-Feb-16 19:14:41

Oh yeah, humiliating a child is an absolutely fantastic job at parenting, well done op, you should be so ashamed proud of yourself! hmm

That poor child.

multivac Mon 01-Feb-16 19:16:06

Also rather a short-sighted tactic in terms of the message it was sending to your younger son: Yes, swimming aids are indeed silly and babyish - ha ha!

BackforGood Mon 01-Feb-16 19:17:49

Another who thinks you were wrong to humiliate your son for a week shock for teasing his brother. Something instant and enforceable at the time if he ignored your warning would have been far more appropriate.

VoldysGoneMouldy Mon 01-Feb-16 19:25:33

You humiliated and belittled a child for being a bit of a shit to his brother? For a week? Yes, you were very unreasonable, and fucking cruel.

And why the fuck did you allow your older one to pick on your youngest for that long? What were you doing other than dealing with this situation?

And at the same time, you've sent your child the message that they are something to be ashamed of by embarrassing him with them.

Fucking hell.

Arfarfanarf Mon 01-Feb-16 19:27:04

I dont want you to feel like this is turning into a pile on but with the greatest respect i too think that there were better ways to handle it.
Humiliation/embarrassment are not imo the way to get the best response. They can lead to resentment and youmay see some retaliation against your younger son who your eldest may (wrongly of course but he's only 11) see as the reason he got made tolook a fool.

I do think it would have been better to not allow him to behave like that for an hour. One warning then out of thepool may have been effective. having to get dressed and miss out on that session. Repeated if his teasing was repeated.

Sometimes we do want to give them a good shake up but i think that it could have been done differently. In a way that meant your younger son didnt suffer the teasing for an hour, your elder son had an immediate and effective consequence that wasnt dragged out over several days. I think a week was far too much.

Im sure you're a great mum and i hope you dont feel attacked but i think maybe on this occasion it might have been slightly misjudged, sorry.

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