which of them was in the wrong?

(22 Posts)
howardbear Mon 26-Sep-16 11:05:06

I've had a nightmare with getting my boys to school this morning, and I can't work out which of them was the naughtiest and could do with an objective view on it (and maybe some advice, cos this kind of thing can happen a lot)

my youngest ds 3 wanted to hold hands with his brother 6 on the path up to school, my eldest refused saying his hand was too warm! the 3 year old starts crying, the 6 year old gets stubborn and cheeky. I asked the 6 year old if he would help me out by holding his hand because he was upsetting his brother by refusing and then he starts crying. so I've got 2 of them crying, neither wanting to 'give in' we just about got to school in time but it took me ages to console both of them before starting and it was all so unnecessary but i'm struggling to work out who was in the wrong. the 3 year old is bossy and wants everything his own way but the 6 year old was purposefully being spiteful.

how do I deal with this in the future? any advice gratefully received.

SharingMichelle Mon 26-Sep-16 11:10:06

It's very tempting to expect your 6yo to cave to his little brother's demands. Especially when you're racing to get to school. But it's actually fine for your 6yo to not pander to his brother - he's very little himself, even though to you he seems so much bigger than the 3yo.

GrubbyWindows Mon 26-Sep-16 11:10:58

Id say they are both in the wrong, but I think the only way out of that one would be distraction. Heaven knows what with though, I'm rubbish at coming up with something in those circumstances. A race? Spotting something interesting?

JinkxMonsoon Mon 26-Sep-16 11:11:21

Both and neither, really. Why are you analysing it so deeply? Your 3yo wanted to hold hands, your 6yo refused (which I'm sure was deliberate - my older child is rather keen on subtle acts of spitefulness to her younger sibling too) but they are quite entitled to say no. I think your mistake was trying to force the issue, which is why your 6yo got stubborn and cried.

Best thing to do is ignore the mean behaviour and encourage the 3yo to hold your hand instead.

Siblings, eh? Sometimes I wonder if my DD will always resent her brother confused

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Mon 26-Sep-16 11:11:44

Hmm... difficult.

As someone with an only child who regularly has to watch as he is expected to play with friends' younger siblings or it's "not fair" my original instinct is to say your 3 year old, reason being that he shouldn't "get his own way" all the time (especially not by crying). However he is only 3 so I wouldn't describe it as "naughty" or "in the wrong", just something he's got learn. Then again maybe your 6 year old needs to learn that sometimes we do things for other people because it's kind...

<incredibly unhelpful - sorry>

GrubbyWindows Mon 26-Sep-16 11:13:00

Yes, agree with sharing too- I actually think that sort of thing is the beginning of consent, you can't insist on a child being intimate. Although being kind is important!

longdiling Mon 26-Sep-16 11:13:21

6 year old was entitled to say no to holding hands. I'd have offered my hand to the 3 year old and tried to distract them. The more you try and force the 6 year old to look after their sibling the less they will want to do it. Back off and he'll probably voluntarily hold hands

LuchiMangsho Mon 26-Sep-16 11:31:19

No one was being unreasonable. If the 6 year old didn't want to hold hands, he didn't. The 3 year old is also old enough now to know that sometimes other people don't do as they want, and that's tough luck.
I think it's a bit worrying that you think your 6 year old is 'spiteful' for not wanting to hold his brother's hand.

How do you deal with it? You hold their hands and march them to the school gate ignoring the whinging along the way (and exchanging sympathetic glances with other parents because it has been One of Those Mornings). I wouldn't psychoanalyse it, or label the kids based on this.

howardbear Mon 26-Sep-16 11:38:21

its so hard sometimes...of course I offered my hand to the 3 year old but he was having none of it, and no amount of distraction was going to work on him this time.

I suppose I do expect my 6 year old to 'give in' to his little brother demands a bit too much (which doesn't help with his bossiness) and quite often he is happy to do so, but this morning I felt he was being spiteful for no good reason. fair enough if he didn't want to play a particular game etc but holding his brothers hand was hardly an unreasonable request.

I guess I wanted to know how to handle the discussion when I pick them up from school, so that we can avoid the same again tomorrow.

LetitiaCropleysCookbook Mon 26-Sep-16 11:47:07

holding his brothers hand was hardly an unreasonable request.

That's from a parent's perspective, though. If your 6 yr old didn't want to hold his brother's hand, he would regard it as an unreasonable request. Maybe he just wanted his own space?

howardbear Mon 26-Sep-16 12:08:08

so should I just be speaking to the 3 year old about his behaviour after school then?

I cant help but think that I would be doing my 6 year old no favours by allowing him to be so unkind?

Linpinfinwin Mon 26-Sep-16 12:18:30

I Don't think who was naughtiest is the right question.

"DS2 come and hold my hand instead. DS1 was that kind?" Squeeze/swing 3yo hand to distract.

But the moment has passed. I think going over it after school is over-doing it. You could maybe ask the older one what he could have done differently but the only answer is to give in, which he didn't want to do.

LuchiMangsho Mon 26-Sep-16 12:24:28

But it isn't kind/unkind not to want to hold hands. He didn't make his brother cry in the first place so it's not his 'problem' per se to solve. Yes, it would be wonderful if he was empathetic enough to offer to hold his hands- but he is only six and is well within his rights to refuse. This is particularly true if he's constantly having to give in to what the 3 year old wants otherwise.
I don't know what you want to speak to them about. I don't think they'll remember the incident- mine certainly wouldn't.
I would just ensure that in the future the 3 year old doesn't get to rule the roost, and that within the limitations of what is feasible for a 6 year old, he is kind to his sibling.

Note that your 6 year old didn't hit his sibling, he didn't refuse to share, he didn't take something away from him, he didn't cause the initial upset, he didn't do something actively mean. It's not his job to regulate his sibling's emotional temperature. He just refused to hold his hand. If you label that as spiteful and unkind, I think you are being very unrealistic.

Orsono Mon 26-Sep-16 13:58:41

I wouldn't mention it at all after school, you will achieve nothing apart from possibly putting all of you in a bad mood for the afternoon and kicking off more of the same behaviour. You will get much better results giving them both a hug and talking about something fun on the way home. I would also say that neither of them were 'in the wrong', they were just being kids, guided by instinct and emotion.

I agree with everyone else that you can't force a child to be kind, no matter how much we want to. If you had managed to coerce the 6 year old to hold hands, through guilt or whatever, it wouldn't have been a long term lesson, just a short term victory. You can only teach kindness by modelling it and praising it.

I find the blogs by Janet Lansbury very useful with this kind of stuff - it's all about not trying to micro manage ours kids' social relationships and behaviour. Here's one on a slightly different subject, but with some useful stuff about siblings.

www.janetlansbury.com/2015/04/4-reasons-to-relax-about-sibling-toy-taking/

By the way, I know it's all very easy to give out advice on other people's kids from a distance and much harder to actually do this stuff when you're late for school, stressed and irritated (I know from experience!) , but I think it does pay to take a step back and leave them to it if you can.

WowOoo Mon 26-Sep-16 14:05:50

Agree with linpinwinfin and other posters.

My eldest is just the same with my younger son. He's never been keen on holding hands with his affectionate little brother.

I tell ds2 to hold my hand instead and talk about something instantly distracting....like Christmas presents or pocket money or food!

As Orsono said - they sort it out themselves.

mycatstares Mon 26-Sep-16 14:14:55

Your 6yr old wasn't being unkind, he didn't want to hold hands as he was hot. Your 3yr old is a 3yr old and isn't really being naughty just need to learn no.

But you can't make your eldest child do things to keep the younger one happy. Like a pp said its all about consent as well.

LetitiaCropleysCookbook Mon 26-Sep-16 17:06:57

I cant help but think that I would be doing my 6 year old no favours by allowing him to be so unkind?

But he wasn't really being unkind. I could understand your pov, if the 6 year old had whacked his brother, or pushed him away. He didn't want to hold his 3yr old brother's sweaty hand, that's all! I do think you should be able to explain to your 3 year old that his brother just isn't in the mood for hand-holding, without guilt-tripping the 6 year old for it.

NotCitrus Mon 26-Sep-16 17:13:46

Ok then, both of you, each hold one of my hands. I don't care if you don't want to.

Being the meanie gets my children united against me faster than anything!

Kariana Thu 29-Sep-16 12:07:26

Sometimes my dh who is the kindest person you'll meet doesn't want to hold my hand because it's too hot. He's not being unkind and I don't start an argument about it, he's just being a human with thoughts and preferences of his own. I'm sure you wouldn't advocate that I force him to hold my hand or lecture him about kindness, so why do this to a 6 year old?

I'm afraid your 6 year old is growing up, he's no longer a baby and he has thoughts and feelings of his own about his personal space. As his mum it's your job to respect these and to parent the toddler - he shouldn't have to be responsible for your toddler's emotional state.

VioletBam Thu 29-Sep-16 15:13:30

It's very important to teach children that they have autonomy over their own bodies and equally to teach them that they cannot demand things of other people which involved those other people, allowing contact which is not wanted.

And yes, it can begin as young as 3.

WittyCakeMeister Thu 29-Sep-16 16:23:16

I would ignore the fact that the 6 year old is trying to be spiteful. Spiteful behaviour is a demand for someone to notice the spite. If you act as if you haven't noticed it, it soon loses its intended affect. He is entitled not to hold someone's hand if he doesn't want to.

I'd just say calmly. "That's OK 3yo, 6yo doesn't want to hold hands this morning, but I'd like to hold your hand", and offer yours. Or then opt for distraction if he doesn't take your hand.

Don't show any anger or annoyance in your voice. Eventually, the spiteful behaviour will stop or lessen (hopefully!)

VioletBam Sun 02-Oct-16 06:04:42

Cake not wanting to hold hands is not automatically "spiteful". People have the right to keep themselves to themselves. I certainly don't always want to hold hands when asked!

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