My 10 year old son is so jealous and competitive with his younger brother it is making our lives a misery

(58 Posts)

Once again I have come to school to find that ds1 has been picking on ds2 (7) at break time. Ds2 does not have many friends, and he is lonely. Ds1 found him sitting on a bench by himself and decided it would be fun to keep nicking his hat and throwing it around. Ds2 stumbled and got hurt trying to get his hat back.

I was meant to take them swimming, they have lessons, but I could not face the whole pool palaver, I am so upset, and have come home. Ds1 is grounded to his room with homework.

Yesterday Ds2 had his first playdate in nearly a year. The two boys had been planning what to do for over a week, as they are both big fans of minecraft. Unbeknown to me, DS1 has logged into the game from his Ipod and kept shooting them, so they lost everything they had gathered, and could not build what they wanted. Ds2 was upset and crying. Both boys felt that Ds1 had ruined their game.

Ds1 admitted that he was jealous of ds2. Ds2 has always been good at sports, has a great balance, and is flexible and fast. Ds1 is not great at sport, but academic. Ds2 is not that academic.

Ds2 took up skateboarding, ds1 has managed to discourage him through constant put downs. Ds2 no longer wants to ski, as ds1 has discouraged and put him down. Everytime ds2 is happy that he has managed to do something, or achieve something, ds1 is there rubbishing it saying "oh that is nothing, not sure why you are boasting, I can do that much better". Even if he cant. And if he can, it is no wonder as he is more than 3 years older!

I am so sick of it, and so disheartened. He is making ds2s life, and our lives, totally crap.

My heart is breaking for my poor ds2, who is a really happy and lovely chap, and ds1 is so nasty to him that he seems to be succeeding in ruining all his confidence.

I really dislike what ds1 is doing.

I am again beginning to wonder if the only reasonable thing to do is for dh and I to live apart with one boy each. sad

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 06-Feb-13 16:14:26

Doesn't sound very happy does it. Can I just ask something to start with:
you say DS2 doesn't have many friends and is lonely - so how come DS1 has time to pick on his brother, doesn't he have friends to take him off somewhere so he can't annoy DS2?

With the kind of behaviour ds1 is exhibiting, he is hardly good companion. He is as friendless as ds2.

Ds2 is mostly not playing with the other boys because he feels he does not have anything in common with them, aside from that one boy.

Ds1 has been competitive and nasty with put downs to his class mates too, so they are not keen to be with him. He is therefore targeting the one little boy who actually loves him unconditionally to bully - his brother.

sad silly me, made me cry.

How about DS2, having his own thing that DS1 isnt involved with ie beavers etc? so he can be left to build his friendships without DS1 overpowering?

This situation cant be making DS1 happy, I wish I could say the right things but I`m a bit useless sorry.

Ds1 has managed to alienate most his classmates since he rejoined his old class in Y5, after being away for 3 years. He smirks, laughs at them, and is generally not very nice to them.

BiscuitMillionaire Wed 06-Feb-13 16:23:39

Maybe try the 'love bombing' technique?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/sep/22/oliver-james-love-bombing-children

I'm not an expert but I'm guessing it might work well with jealousy and insecurity in a child who thinks another child gets more attention or is more loved (not saying he does or is, just that may be DS1's perception).

I've been meaning to do this with mine.

BiscuitMillionaire Wed 06-Feb-13 16:24:14
SanityClause Wed 06-Feb-13 16:26:58

Have you read the Sibling Rivalry book by the How to talk so your kids wil listen.......people?

DD1 used to encourage her classmates to pick on DD2, when they were about 9 and 7. I spoke to the school about it, as well as using some of the ideas from the book.

Now they are at different schools, and that has really helped a lot, I think. (DD1 went to her secondary, and then when it was DD2's turn, she went to a different one). I don't know if that's an option for you?

The answer is a question, if that makes sense, why does DS1 alienate everyone?

I suppose during the three years he was away, new friendships were made and he doesnt fit in anymore, making it hard for him, perhaps his way of dealing with it is to be defensive to everyone. The more defensive, the more no one wants to play and so on, and on, and on..... By sorting out DS1 it helps DS2, how you do that, hopefully someone will come along with some good ideas. Start with talking to the teacher, what do they say about friendship groups.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 06-Feb-13 16:30:13

I agree with Sanity, you should read Siblings Without Rivalry. It will really help.

They both ski as they were doing it a lot in Norway. DS1 loves doing tricks on twin tips, DS2 likes to perfect his turns and increase his speed, he has normal slalom skis not twin tips. So, they like different things, yet still ds1 manages to put him down. Ds2 was so good technically, and so fast, when we were in Norway, he was asked to trial for the youth squad, aged 5.

Ds2 started skateboarding and ds1 has a stunt scooter. Even though ds1 does not have the balance to skate, he has still managed to ruin ds2s confidence.

I dont know why he feels jealous. He has been this way since ds2 was born. He thinks nothing of punching him in the face if he gets angry, or push him over so he falls flat on the street. By now, ds1 gets told off a lot, and ds2 gets comfort and cuddles, so it is a vicious circle. It is worse now that ds2 has become a free reader and reads the same books as ds1. He gets put downs about his reading speed...

I will look up those books and those articles.

It is affecting our family as dh goes ballistic and I end up defending ds1.

Hopefully it will get better when ds1 starts secondary next year, but I bet we will have another can of worms with his behaviour as I doubt he will be able to make friends, at this rate.

"why does DS1 alienate everyone?"

I think several reasons:

He is very needy.
He also needs to feel superior, so he is prone to put people down.
He is easily wound up.
He punched one of the boys in his class in the face shortly after joining the class.
He made a couple of racist remarks
He has been getting in to fights with younger children.

It all has us exasperated because we have really tried to bring him up well, and teach him right from wrong. He seems to chose to do wrong deliberately, as on every turn I think "He knows this behaviour is wrong, so why on earth is he doing it".

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 06-Feb-13 16:43:26

I expect you've tried this already but I'd use something DS1 really likes doing as a carrot. Eg Skiing. If he complies and controls his behaviour with DS2, he gets to go skiing with his brother - or at least, they travel together, but I think it's important they are in separate groups.

I know it sounds like lack of confidence is the least of DS1's problems but does he need building up?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 06-Feb-13 16:44:32

I'm not saying, 'reward' bad behaviour, but is there something sporty DS1 hasn't tried before that DS2 isn't yet proficient at?

SanityClause Wed 06-Feb-13 16:44:55

I always envisaged my DDs would grow up as good friends, but DD1 was jealous from day one.

I think that, now they have different hobbies and strengths, things have improved a lot. There isn't the competition, always.

But it does sound to me like your DS1 is really unhappy for some reason, and he's taking it out on DS2. Understandable, but not acceptable!

TheSecondComing Wed 06-Feb-13 16:49:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I think ds1 is unhappy most of all about his lack of friends.

He said he was jealous that ds2 had a boy over to play, as he is never invited anywhere. But, I am not surprised the way he is behaving! He does not see the cause and effect of his own behaviour.

We had the ipod confiscated for three months. That seems to help, as he was trying to be good to get it back. He got it back for Christmas, and things have deteriorated since then.

Last weekend ds1 got to go to the skate park and met up with some classmates. Ds2 was home with me relaxing and making dessert.

TheSecondComing Wed 06-Feb-13 16:56:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CinnabarRed Wed 06-Feb-13 16:57:52

Could DS1 start an out-of-school activity with a different social circle, so he has a fresh start to make friends?

I appreciate that this is a long way off, but secondary school is over the horizon for him too, which is another chance to meet new people.

Finally, do you think it's worth asking your GP for a referral to CAMHS or equivalent? Or some private counselling?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 06-Feb-13 16:58:43

I don't know the answers but just thinking if OP has tried banning treats and hobbies and they haven't worked, maybe it's time to try something else, (?love-bombing?).

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 06-Feb-13 17:02:00

I don't think waiting for DS1 to start high school will help if he's already acting out - he'll be a little fish in an even bigger pond.

I knew two brothers like this, it got to a point where the younger brother got to a size where he beat the crap out of his older brother - you really don't want it to get that far.

Chandon Wed 06-Feb-13 17:06:27

Oh, I have 2 boys this age. It can be a complicated relationship. I have to " manage" them by letting them each have their own sport ( where they can t compete) and their own friends, and also by giving them each more or less equal amounts of praise and attention. I would say that 95% of the time they play nicely, and 5% is trouble and arguments.

Still, I may be completely wrong, but just what Pick up from your post is that you slightly favour Ds2 and DS2 behaviour ( he is your sweet one, I think you say) and also, maybe connected, I hazard a guess that your DS1 is not a very happy boy. For whatever reason. Is something in his life upsetting him? Does he miss his old friends? it is hard to settle in with a group of boys by year 5, really hard. Are you helping him to make new friends?

My oldest DS needs to feel he is listened to ( by me) and still quite a lot of cuddles, and a bit of help with friendships.

Can you talk to his teacher? Does he need a social-emotional IEP? ( my son had one).

It seems to me that if you can help your poor DS1, it will help the whole family. Compared to a sweet 7 year old, a 10 year old can seem like a big boy, but I find lots of boys that age can be quite insecure and worried about things, and need patience and love too.

TorianaTollywobbles Wed 06-Feb-13 17:23:31

Is the school doing anything to help?

My dd is about to start a programme of weekly sessions designed to help boost her confidence and help her make and keep friends. She is 8 and was in a similar situation, with no friends.Because she was unhappy she would snap at others which made them less likely to want to play with her and it became a vicious circle. She is happier already knowing that something is being done to help her.

Can you see if your son's school offers a similar programme to help him? Definitely speak to his teacher and keep going in about it. This programme was only offered to dd after we had been in about it a third time.

mablemurple Wed 06-Feb-13 17:29:49

I really think you need to concentrate on DS1, do things with him alone without his younger brother so that he knows that you still love and value him as an individual and want to spend time with him. I feel for your DS1. There was a 7 year gap between me, the eldest, and my first sister and I felt that my parents just abandoned me to get on with things on my own after she was born. I doubt it really was like that, but it seemed like it to me at the time and I was very jealous of all the attention she was getting.
By now, ds1 gets told off a lot, and ds2 gets comfort and cuddles
I think this is very telling, are you ever affectionate with your older son at all now?
But, I am not surprised the way he is behaving! He does not see the cause and effect of his own behaviour
Also this. He is still very young, too young to resist the impulse to make himself feel important by putting others down. You seem to have no insight into his behaviour or empathy with him. I feel sorry for the lad. Please stop being so harsh with him and have some fun with him instead.

neolara Wed 06-Feb-13 17:39:53

Family therapy? If you're thinking of separating from you dh over this, things are obviously serious. Some opportunity to work things out with a bit of support might be helpful. It's probably going to be expensive, but in the long run if it gets things back on track, it could be a fantastic investment.

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