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.

WhereMyMilk Wed 06-Feb-13 17:49:47

Not sure if this will help, but when I got to the end of my tether with DS1, read a lot about positive parenting. This really really works for him, as has done love bombing.

If we try any form of punishment or negative with him, he will automatically dig his heels in and do the opposite. So we have had to turn everything on it's head and praise what is good, and do rewards-gets stars per good thing, such as coming to table when called, not fighting with DD or DS2 etc, which he can then translate into something he really wants-this can be anything from a certain book or DVD to trip to cinema, bike ride with DH etc.

We also really determinedly now, each try to get some one to one time with each DC over the weekend, so they get your undivided attention. Sometimes just going for a walk, or doing a jigsaw, or trip out, sometimes, just a cuddle/chat/watch DVD together.

Sounds like it's worth a try. Good luck,x

I do actually think I have a lot of empathy and understanding into DS1, and can describe what he is doing, and understand why.

When I say that our youngest gets comfort and cuddles, while ds1 gets told off, this is only on each occasion where ds1 has hurt or upset ds2. I cant ignore it completely, that is not fair on ds2!

Ds1 gets comfort and cuddles plenty! No less than ds2! Ds2 comes over for hugs more often than ds1 though.

Our tactic so far has mostly been to talk to him, try to explain, and certain sanctions as ipod ban. He has still had his laptop, and play station!

We do have fun with him, either we do things separately, or together the 4 of us. They are in different groups at swimming where ds1 seems to be developing friendships with some of the boys, which I think is great. He has had more children home to play than ds2, because we have put bigger effort into ds1 than ds2.

What I realized yesterday, when ds2 had his friend over, was that we have probably gone about this the wrong way entirely. The result is that it seems to me that we have not done enough to protect ds2's confidence in this! Ds1 appears confident plenty, whereas ds2 now has little belief left in himself.
It seems to me that our approach to the problem, in building ds1 up, and bigging him up, as allowed him to put ds2 down. We have failed! Instead of building the confidence in both our boys, only ONE now seems to have confidence, and that is ds1!

Weekends are mostly devoted to doing things together as a family that all enjoy. They get to do skate-parks, indoor skiing, museums, bicycle rides, we go to the swimming pool, walks, trips to the cinema, or just relax at home watching a movie, playing a board game, etc.

They both get lots of attention.

Ds2 also goes to gymnastics, his brother does not do this activity. Ds2 however loves it, and will spend time at home doing gymnastics moves.
And I think this is part of the resentment. Ds2 is very flexible and strong, works hard, and won a gold medal in the club championships recently.

It is now a bone of contention for ds1 that he has not achieved something like this in any of the sports he has tried. He has not stuck with any sport long enough. He did not want to play tennis anymore, so we let him quit. He did not want to do fencing, so we let him quit. He is good at swimming! But he does not feel he is fast enough. But when we take him to the pool he just plays in the water and have no interest in actually swimming. Ds2, who is only level 4 for swimming, will actually spend time practicing his strokes and turns. So it appears to me that ds1 is not keen to practice, and gives up easily if he does not straight away master something.

This summer ds1 went with dad up a mountain that was 1300m from sea level. He got plenty of praise for that achievement. A couple of days later we all went up a mountain that was 1100. Ds2 struggled towards the end and needed lots of encouragement. He therefore got plenty of praise to keep him going. Ds1 did not struggle, but raised up ahead, he got annoyed with ds2s praise, as he felt it was undue, because HE had done a bigger achievement a few days earlier. He started sulking, and started dragging his feet coming down from the mountain. He seems envious of any praise ds2 gets, so the end result is that we have been trying NOT to praise ds2 so much when ds1 is around.

We just dont know what to do anymore.

It seems that our leniency and focus on helping ds1 is really putting ds2 at a disadvantage now.

CinnabarRed Wed 06-Feb-13 18:02:49

We just dont know what to do anymore.

Then another vote for family therapy, or counselling for DS1. What's to lose?

How do we go about finding family therapy?

bigTillyMint Wed 06-Feb-13 18:26:55

Yes, I agree, I think you should get a CAMHS referral. Go to your GP or SENCo at school and talk to them honestly about your concerns.

It sounds like, for whatever reasons, your DS1 is either very unhappy at the moment or perhaps has some undiagnosed social difficulties. Equally your DS2 needs support to rebuild his confidence. CAMHS should be able to assess and support.

I read the love bombing thing. It seems to be quite close to the approach we have followed, on a regular basis the last year.

They have both gotten treat days where they have been on control, and decided what to do and got plenty of love and attention. Not to the point of weekends away alone with just one parent.

But ds1 is very money focused and wants things bought for him constantly.

Iwasagnome Wed 06-Feb-13 18:32:33

Can I recommend the 7 habits series of books,either The 7 habits of highly effective families(!)or the one aimed at teenagers.
If things haven't gone too far try to get them to see your family as a team.
Sorry you are going through this

didldidi Wed 06-Feb-13 18:49:58

This sounds very much like my DS1 who is about to turn 10. He also can't accept his brother (also nearly 7) is stronger academically and does put him down alot.

DS1 does has dyslexic traits and mears irlen (?) syndrome, difficulty concentrating, very low self esteem and struggles to stick at hobbies. He feels the need to be in control and can't see when he's in the wrong!

Chandon Wed 06-Feb-13 18:54:47

Yes, forgot to say ypu have my sympathy too.

And also, do not tink other families are perfect.

Imo, parenting is a constant challenge as the goal posts keep moving! I always feel I am one step behind...

mercibucket Wed 06-Feb-13 19:19:36

I'm so pleased you would consider family therapy, this is such a sad thread. I feel the key is ds1, even though that sounds counter-intuitive, he sounds v unhappy and is making those around him unhappy too.

I don't think your DS1 sounds confident at all. It seems to me that he actually has quite low self esteem, hence the need to put others down and big himself up. He's looking outside himself to find ways to escape whatever uncomfortable feelings he has. Perhaps you or a counsellor can help him get to the root of why it upsets him so much to see other people praised, what he thinks that means and how it impacts on him. It seems like he has some underlying beliefs about himself in relation to others that need to be dispelled and then the behaviour will stop. Just my thoughts based on what I see here though. You sound very caring and supportive so I'm sure you will get to the bottom of this as a family. Good luck.

TheSecondComing Wed 06-Feb-13 21:23:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I think ds1s problem is that he is thinking too much, and he takes everything really to heart.

He does appear to like us. He appears to enjoy spending time with us. But I imagine his problems really are that he wants friends, and he cant seem to be able to make any.

He told me this evening during our "quiet evening chat time" (I usually go in and chat to him after he has gone to bed. Sit down on his bed and just talk a bit. Give him a massage if his neck is sore, etc) that two of the stronger characters in his class had started standing up for him a bit, they had said how unfair it was that the others were picking on him. Both these kids are awesome and sporty. He felt good about that. What is bothering him the most is a girl that gives him the wimpy kid treatment. Pretend he is not there. Talk to him and when he replies says stuff like "Is there a talking door here?" and stuff like that.
He does not know how to deal with things like that.

It is not like it is like this every day. It can be months, where everything seems fine, and then suddenly BAM!

Most of the time I feel that I am a good and fair mum. I just dont know how to make things better for him.

Uprooting him from London in Y1 and spending 3 years in Norway seems to have really caused him trouble.

Chandon Thu 07-Feb-13 10:05:24

We moved country twice, and it is a ig deal and kids need time an space and help to settle again.

What is your husband's relationship with DS1 like? I find that my husband is a vey important figure for the oys, at this age ( sometimes I even feel like the second choice parent!), also, when my DS 1 clashes with DH it is because they are so similar, if that makes sense. What is that like for your family?

It soudns as if you feel solely responsible for DS happiness, what does your DH do?

TheSecondComing Thu 07-Feb-13 11:32:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

50shadesofvomit Thu 07-Feb-13 11:55:40

My 11 and 9 year old went through this when they were 7 and 5.

I would spend more time with ds1. Do you think he went up to ds2 at school because he had nobody to play with? If so, I'd talk to him about playing with ds2 in a nice way. Playing catch or tag is fun but not teasing etc.
As others said, treat the 2 as separate individuals with different interests and activities. This worked well here.
I have talked to ds1 about my relationship with my siblings and how annoying they were and jealous I felt. He liked hearing that. I try to make time just for him (even 10 minutes a day) and I tell him what I love about him as I felt that we were in a cycle of him feeling bad about himself.

My husband is working a lot. We are under a lot of pressure as we nearly lost our uk business in the years we were in Norway, and we have the normal recession issues as well. This also means he is working a lot in the evenings, and sometimes at the weekends too.

Having said that, when he does have a window of opportunity, his first choice is the kids. He is a very hands on dad. He does breakfast and drives them to school most mornings. They plan fantastic projects together, like they build a cart like this when we were in Norway, so the kids could participate in races. They were planning a massive trebuchet with left over materials, but that did not happen (thankfully). He takes them skiing on his own, and to the pool. In Christmas he took them out cross country skiing in the evening nearly everyday. He has had lots of fun Lego Mindstorm projects with DS1.

He bought them a skating ramp for the garden, and they are currently planning on extending it. I think he is the "fun dad" and I am the "nurturing mum". Ds1 keeps saying "You are the best mum ever". We both can be a bit shouty when they bicker and argue, especially if ds1 hurts ds2.

We were talking about it yesterday, the only time we are really angry is if ds1 is putting ds2 in danger. Like when he held his head under water in the pool. When he pushed a pencil so far into ds2s hand the pencil was standing up! When he punched him in the head, etc. Other than that we are gently (maybe too gentle) and loving parents. They have clear boundaries, which they break, and the consequences is usually just lack of screen time for a day or two.

I honestly dont think it is an attention thing. Our friends keep saying "oh you are so good doing things with your kids and going places".

50shades, good point telling him what he can do rather what he cant such as "if you and your brother are lonely, why dont you play tag together" etc.

RosemaryandThyme Thu 07-Feb-13 12:56:52

The suggestions here are really good.

One more point that might help, there is a lot of materialism mentioned throughout your posts, ipods, expensive games and gadgets, pricey ski lessons etc, desire by DS1 to have yet more stuff bought for him etc.

is it possible that the kid is swamped by all this stuff ?

you might find he gets to his authentic decent self through much more traditional childhood fun, could you box up all the electronic gizmos, abandon the mount everest climbing type focus, and give him a chance to get back to the roots of childhood ?

How would he be with a morning on a blustary British beach with nothing for that ice-cream money and a football ?

deXavia Thu 07-Feb-13 13:11:36

So from what you've said DS1 was about 6 when you left, 3 years away and now back to your original home - for what a year? And he is someone who takes things to heart. Sounds like he imagined how he'd come back - a bit different, a bit special - but that didn't pan out. Pretty tough especially as he probably remembered the other kids from when he was 6, thought he knew what he was coming back to but of course everything changes. Also the things he enjoyed and was good at when living abroad - sking for example - he can't do here. Net result he is lashing out.

If it was me I'd take two approaches
i) get him some support, someone he can talk to and relearn social skills. Also to learn how to be just a normal kid here. I agree with Rosemary - stop the fencing, tennis and big projects, kick back and chill. Let everyone get settled back into mundane UK life. And frankly I'd do it now before yet another big change with Secondary school.
ii) set up some base rules (then cut slack on the other stuff) so for example no violence, end of story. Sanctions need to be significant and based on things that matter. Maybe if your DS2 knew that was non negotiable he'd feel more secure.

We do find it is a bit difficult to "just do nothing".
One of the main reason why we are doing so much is perhaps that this keep the boys from bickering. They get on perfectly fine if we are out cycling, and doing stuff.

Living in London we are quite far from a typical British beach. We have a garden, but it is a bit cold now. And the boys find it a bit boring, and not much to do in the garden.

They had three years of living by the woods, next to a little stream. They would go out picking blueberries behind the house, and just play by the stream. Ds2 would spend hours enjoying the wildlife, collecting beetles from leaves, etc. Ds1 could go jogging on his own. There were always things to just do outside the house.

It sounds idyllic, but the other kids in the street did exclude ds1 quite a bit. They had grown up together, and when the first novelty of "the boy from Britain" wore off, they were saying stuff like "The English are stupid and we dont play with foreigners" - even though I am Norwegian, and dh Polish, so strictly speaking not English at all. He would be heartbroken that the other kids would play on his neighbours trampoline, and not his. And they did not let him join.

I think it is terrible. His entire life he has been excluded. And no matter how hard we have tried to get him settled with friends, it has not worked. We really hoped coming back would be better.

Ds2 is so easy going, he has not really been bothered either way. He was only 3 when we moved to Norway, and 6 when we returned. So he went straight from nursery in Norway and to Y2, and has worked his socks off but coped fine.

deXavia Thu 07-Feb-13 13:35:48

Two things struck me from your last post
i) you had space in Norway - so maybe its as simple as they are more penned in than before. Going for a jog on his own, pottering around collecting beetles is doing nothing if you have the countryside next door. Maybe they miss that chance for space
ii) DS1 also had trouble making friends in Norway. Honestly I think thats your root cause, and if its been going on that long I think he needs some outside help. Maybe he was miserable in Norway with lack of friends and thought coming home would solve that - and then it didn't. Maybe its something about how he interacts with kids.
Lots of maybe's but he does sound like he needs some help.

RosemaryandThyme Thu 07-Feb-13 13:41:31

"Keeps them from bickering " - LET THEM BICKER !! you can't save them endlessly, they need to argue, bicker, and find ways to resolve their differences verbally, both boys are each others best training ground - they have the sibling advantage of being able to learn life skills in negotiation, in losing, in pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, before they are out in the real world of unpredictable friends, bosses, colleagues etc.

Garden a bit boring - LET THEM BE BORED !!! - LET THEM STAY BORED - from utter boredom comes imagination, creativity, dreams and schemes, plans and hopes, appreciation of the company of your fellow man, connectedness with your enviroment and the people and animals that inhabit it - boredom makes the intellect click, ideas be born and true happiness take flight.
Constant entertainment gets in the way, distracts and vanishes as soon as theres a power-cut or the money runs out.

Give him the nothingness he deserves, to get to meet himself, only then will his jug be full enough to share out with others.

We have an appointment with his gp today, maybe I can talk to her about getting him some counselling.

I rather get the ball rolling before he starts secondary.

He is a lot happier at the school here. He is in a small RC primary, and he says at least he is not bullied. Children here are not big bullies like in Norway. He also says that if he could move his school to Norway and live in Norway, it would be perfect.

It is almost as if life was better, but school not, so combination of his London school with life in Norway would be perfect. Ish. He likes skiing, mountains and beaches, he enjoyed that life. Just not the cold, and bullying classmates.

Rosemary a lot of what you say resonate with me.

It just occurs to me that part of the problem could be that dh works from home, and either from in the house or the garden office. He cant concentrate if they are out being bored in the garden.

We need to ensure that they have space to be kids.

However, I want us to hire an office space so we can keep work and family life separate. He is unwilling to do this yet, as finances wont allow it. We may have to close down this spring, so silly to take on an office lease if we are on the verge of giving up. So many factors.

RosemaryandThyme Thu 07-Feb-13 13:54:09

Oh - the working from home scenario must put you under a lot of pressure to keep the boys quite so that dad can work, I've three, two of them boys and the combination can be sooo noisy - even when they are getting on well, noise seems to be an inherent part of play of almost any kind.

Is there a park near school or home that they could head to?

Could Dad take paper-work and computer to pub for an hour after school some days ?

Also some office spaces can be rented by the hour, meeting rooms, hotel conference rooms etc.

All the best.

The work at home situation should hopefully be sorted within the next couple of months. Taking his work to a pub, or out, is not that practical, he is on many telephone conferences, so spend half his afternoon on the phone. (Not sales, technical issues)

I did mention our issues to the GP, regards to moving, being bullied and unsettled, and then returning and having problems with confidence and developing friendships. GP said there was very little help for his age group, and if I wanted to go private. I said anything really, if it can help his confidence and to work through issues, prior to starting secondary. So he should have a think and see what he can find, and I am to come back in two weeks to discuss further. So hopefully we will get somewhere!

bigTillyMint Thu 07-Feb-13 17:37:26

Pure, well done for going to the GP. No family is perfect and you definitely have my sympathies.

I can't believe that (if you are in N London) there is no CAMHS (although there may be very long waiting lists) - he should be able to refer you there, but if not, you could try the school SENCO/inclusion manager. In the meantime, maybe it is worth eploring private support.

Could be that waiting lists are long!

DS1 was very happy that I asked for this help for him.

He is having daddy day tomorrow, with a trip to the snow center after school, going by Ikea to by him a new desk. He got 100% in his assessment tests for maths, so he is also very pleased with that. He is going to do a solo at a choir festival next month. He was chosen to pay macbeth in a co production between local primaries, and captain for the basket ball team, so plenty for him to boost his confidence, but not from a social friendship perspective. He just does not really see his own achievements.

Ds2 is going to a birthday party. His second in the last 7 days. Ds1 has not been to a birthday party since October. His age group does not do big parties. He sees other Y6 boys go home together after school, and he is upset. He interprets that as them going off to have fun, and he gets resentful. I know however, that they just walk together as they live nearby. They will part on the next road down from the school! He sees everything as a slight on him.

sashh Fri 08-Feb-13 06:32:22

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".

From his point of view because he is always in trouble so it might as well be for something he has done.

As for making friends, I moved schools three times in three years and I just thought there was no point making friends because we would be moving again.

Daddy day sounds like a good idea. Keeping them apart as much as possible with different hobbies will also help.

Have you tried 'catch them doing something good', ie praise the good stuff. Even if he has been a little shit all day, if he does something good praise him, don't do the, 'well it's about time you behaved'.

What rewards has he got for his good work / part in the play/ whatever? Sporting achievements are often praised whilst academic achievements are not.

What I mean is, if you are good at skiing you get picked for a team, if you get 100% on an exam .............. well what do you get?

Doyouthinktheysaurus Fri 08-Feb-13 07:41:42

What a sad thread....I feel for you and your dses, it must be so hard.

For what it's worth, DH moved away for several years during his schooling at a similar age and has always said how much he struggled returning to the same school later. Friendship groups had moved on and they had different life experiences. He's 52 now and still talks about it so it certainly had a lasting impact.

I changed schools at 10 and never settled, it's not easy for some children.

My 10 year old ds1 can be a little like yours, he tends to boost his confidence by telling us what he is good athmm and ignoring the stuff he isn't good at completely. He struggles with giving others praise too, especially his 8 year old brother. Ds2 is very laid back though and doesn't take it to heart. I think ds2 is confident enough in his own abilities not to be fussed by ds1 trying to make out he is better at everything. They generally do have a very strong bond too and play together all the time so it's not quite the same as your situation.

Your ds1 does sound very unhappy. Not sure what the answer is but I think counselling for him would probably be a really good start.

superbabysmummy Fri 08-Feb-13 17:27:09

Haven't read the whole thread but wanted to offer some thoughts... Based on personal experience - I have no relationship with my sister through what started as sibling rivalry and was never dealt with by my parents, now I hardly ever see my parents (we even live in the same town!) & have nothing at all to do with my sister.

Looking back the main cause of the problem was because they took from me to give to her, my sister revelled in this & my parents didn't recognise it. As I was older I was always the one in the wrong so my sister played on this. On one occasion she actually cried & told my parents that I had hit her and I hadn't, I was punished & she was rewarded. I understand that children need to share but they also need to have things of their own otherwise it breeds resentment, you also need to spend quality alone time with each child, make them feel they have your 100% attention and each one has 'their thing' in common with you. It's so hard to divide time up especially if you work but I can't tell you how important it is to give your undivided attention equally to each child.

Sorry for not coming back, it has been a busy couple of days. I have really tried to re-examine the time we spend with both children, and although I thought we have a good balance, maybe we need to work harder to make up for the hard things. The moving, my sons having to cope with my mums Alzheimers, the unsettling and resettling.

You are all right about his confidence.

On Friday, dh took ds straight from school to Ikea to get a desk, and then on to the snow center. They spent 4 hours learning tricks, with an instructor who was at hand helping the kids out. It transpires that ds1 feels bad about his skiing abilities because he feels he is getting rusty and his Norwegian mates were so much better. They had been laughing at him on the slopes. Rubbish really, as ds1 is an excellent skier. He is fast, he masters the turns technically, he can do jumps and tricks. But, he has not been skiing everyday thought the season as his old classmates have, the last two years.

He is not sporty as such, but he wants to be. The biggest problem at school is during sports/PE. He had a great PE lesson today and was really keen to talk about it. Also, DS2 was praised in Assembly for being pupil of the week for his amazing academic progress. It seemed that ds1 was not jealous of this, as by the time ds2 told me, I had spent the entire car journey home listening to ds1 talk about PE and praised him on his good efforts and been genuinely happy for him.

He feels that he is the slowest swimmer in his group.

I guess there is a big disparity between how he feels about his achievements and what we think of them, as we think he is doing great, but he does not really agree?

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