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to be at the end of my tether with my three boys?

(52 Posts)
frazzlenz Tue 14-Jun-11 18:31:42

I have three sons between 6 and 12. They are good boys at heart but DH and I struggle to keep them under control. I do have rules and high expectations of good behaviour so its not for want of trying. Maybe I go back on punishments too much sometimes.

I really don't know what to do about today though. We were watching a school production and I left the elder two to go and get the youngest one from downstairs. While I was downstairs the middle boy comes down crying. Seems his older brother (12) punched him hard in the stomach after the middle boy hurt him while larking around. I know DS2 is not without blame but I am appalled at DS1s behaviour considering he is a senior at the school and it it was in front of teachers, parents, little kids. One mum intervened apparently.

I'm not sure how I should punish DS1 to be honest and I am so sick of feeling like I have to have the boys on a tight leash ALL of the time. There seems to be a lack of respect to each other and towards both me and DH. I thought I was a pretty tough parent doing a good job but their behaviour makes me wonder if I am any such thing. Part of me thinks that its to do with tiredness near end of term but I am also sick of making excuses for them all the time.

AIBU to expect better behaviour from three boys?

WriterofDreams Tue 14-Jun-11 18:53:09

I'm afraid I can't be much help, just wanted to give my sympathy. My mum was a very strict parent but my sisters and I still fought like cats and dogs. We rarely did it in public but at home we used to throw things at each other, pull each others' hair, scratch each other, the whole lot. Eventually my mother just kept out of it as there was very little she could do to stop it. It got better as we got older although we still had some stonking fights as teenagers. Others might be on with some good advice but in my experience this sort of behaviour is quite common among siblings. Of course if one son is bullying another or really hurting him you have to intervene but other than that I'm not sure what else you can do. Perhaps talk to them and let them know how much their fighting upsets you?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 14-Jun-11 18:57:11

I have no idea, OP, but your post sends shivers down my spine. I was the oldest (girl) of four children and my three brothers (the same age ranges as yours) were monsters. They didn't behave, were unruly and out of control... but they grew up eventually and stopped.

Batten down the hatches, exhaust them with every sport and other activity you can think of and fill them full of carbs so they sleep a lot... If I would have known then what I know now, that's what I would have begged my Mum to do.

Oh and never, ever let them get too hungry... they'll bounce off the walls. confused

Bonsoir Tue 14-Jun-11 18:59:11

Lots and lots and lots of sport, and separate them as much as possible - when boys are cooped up together they fight.

Can you throw them out in the garden to have wrestling matches with their Dad? It's what my Mum used to do with my brothers.

frazzlenz Tue 14-Jun-11 19:02:34

We do the sport, they eat well, we try to get them out lots to run off steam. Sometimes we are even in the middle of taking them somewhere nice when the crap starts and the day is ruined. Thanks for the replies, I don't want to sound defeatist, I just want to 'enjoy' being a mum more and be less of a sergeant-major.
No magic wand then???

frazzlenz Tue 14-Jun-11 19:04:54

Maybe more sport could help even if its just about splitting them up more.....
Arrrgghhhh but we have 8 weeks of holidays looming......

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 14-Jun-11 19:10:17

Let DH be the sargeant major... you can be the nice Mum. smile

He needs to take the lead, I think, my brothers missed having a hands-on dad and that was part of their problem. If DH takes them out and does plenty with them, separately and together, that will use up some of their steam.

brass Tue 14-Jun-11 19:11:26

I would certainly nip the physical thing in the bud.

You are right expect better treatment between brothers and it is an important lesson for males in keeping their cool as they go out into the testosterone fuelled male world.

I know boys like to wrestle (as do dads!) but any violence out of anger is a no no in our house. We do not tolerate any kind of hitting out in anger between them. As a result they are not in the habit of thinking it is ok.

I have noticed my nearly 12 year old is much more physically playful recently and I am sure it is testosterone but I am quick to tell him to leave it out where his younger brother is concerned. They pull ties, clip each other on the head and such at school but this can seem very domineering to a younger child. I don't like to see it and DS knows how I feel about it so is quick to rein himself if he gets carried away and I have to say something. On the whole he is a kind and gentle older brother.

Perhaps you and your DH need to sit them down and reinstate or introduce some rules and make it clear that you will not tolerate nasty winding up physical contact. Sanctions will depend on the child and what they will be motivated by. However you do need to be consistent and follow it through. Like I said it's a no no in our house and they understand that because they know we won't let it go.

PinotGrigiosKittens Tue 14-Jun-11 19:14:13

I too have 3 boys between 8 and 11. I feel your pain! My tips are run them like dogs - they need exercise every day, without fail. No crap food/crap drinks - healthy = better behaviour, and firm boundaries.

My boys know where the lines are and if they do cross them, they get grounded and lose privileges. It takes time and it's exhausting and I weep sometimes wink but boys don't need to be wild and shouldn't be allowed to be wild.

Find your inner RAARRRRRR!! and go get em!

bosch Tue 14-Jun-11 19:20:36

frazzlenz, I have hairs standing on the back of my neck. My boys are aged between 4 and 9 and like you I'd say they are good boys but... It took me a long time to realise how tired the boys got during the term, but now I feel like I've gone to the other extreme and I excuse bad behaviour for tiredness on the first day of term!

I just talked to my 9 year old and he suggested that the punishment should be either 'no treats for the rest of the week' OR ask them what their punishment should be.

He is powerfully motivated by the need to play on the computer and xbox so if I ask him to suggest his own punishment, he will normally suggest that he's not allowed on them for way longer than I would have said.

I'm not sure that what they did is THAT bad, but I wouldn't let them know that. But then again I wasn't there (and I do good mortified when my boys behave badly)

brass Tue 14-Jun-11 19:20:37

What I mean is

You don't let the physical side become a HABIT. They should understand they have over stepped a boundary by hitting out. Otherwise respect is just a word.

brass Tue 14-Jun-11 19:24:09

pinotgrigio is right - they don't need to be wild but some parents seem to think that's how boys are. They just need to be taught and reminded when hormones sometimes take over.

pleasekeepcalmandcarryon Tue 14-Jun-11 19:27:44

Mother of three boys here too. I understand your pain!

I think people who have mixed gender children probably struggle to understand the 'pack' mentality of a few brothers together.

I don't think the goading and fighting will ever completely stop but as another poster said there has to be consequences for serious violence. It's hard though to define what is horseplay and what is bullying.

Good luck, we are just about to hit the teen years with DS1 so I am batoning down the hatches already!

PinotGrigiosKittens Tue 14-Jun-11 19:30:45

We should form our own support group!

Great point from pkcaco about the pack mentality. Hear hear!

You do earn your spurs raising just sons but by God they're great aren't they? smile

exoticfruits Tue 14-Jun-11 19:31:02

I have 3 boys-there is one answer-lots and lots of exercise-exhaust them!

Chandon Tue 14-Jun-11 19:36:13

Having grown up with brothers, and having boys now, I think that they REALLY KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HORSEPLAY AND BULLYING. At a very young age. (sorry for shouting, I don't know how to do cursive or underline)

And a rule that works is: If someone is crying, it wasn't fun. So you're in trouble.

And a big one: it's ok to FEEL angry, but it is never ok to lash out.

Sounds like I have all the answers, but sadly I don't grin

Chandon Tue 14-Jun-11 19:39:13

OP you mention a sergeant major.

I have a "sergeant Major voice" when I mean business.

It's a LOW voice.

brass Tue 14-Jun-11 19:40:44

all brothers growing up for me too chandon.

and yes horseplay ok (usually they gang up on DH)

bullying beating not acceptable ever.

uptomyeyes Tue 14-Jun-11 19:47:16

Hi 3 boys here aged 5-13, and yes it sometimes gets out of hand, sometimes they are like angels together, most of the time they rub along in some combination of 2:1 constantly changing allegiance. I think DS1 is just about to turn a corner and start ignoring the younger 2 as teenagerdom proper kicks in.

We have a trampoline (brilliant for boys), a tree house, a goal post and a climbing wall in our pretty large garden.But only yesterday DH said to me - that garden it getting too small for those boys - its almost 200 foot long.....not sure where we move to next or what we need to provide to facilitate them any longer!

4madboys Tue 14-Jun-11 19:48:49

4 boys here and we do get the odd occasion where they fight physically, well probably more than the odd occasion.... but we do come down on it hard, its NOT acceptable to be violent at all. currently its the youngest boy who is 3 who is the worst, the others are 6, 8 and 11 and tbh they have their moments but they are pretty good.

i love having my gang of boys tbh, they do have their moments and they definitely need to be OUTSIDE lots but then my 6mth old dd is always happy when outside as well, so maybe thats just all children.

i think that all siblings regardless of their sex will fight and bicker, its part of having siblings, i know i did iwth my sister and there is almost 6yrs between us, we get on fine now.

and whilst my boys may fight with each other, heaven forbid that someone else is mean to one of them as they will all stick up for each other!

4madboys Tue 14-Jun-11 19:50:15

trampoline here as well tho we often have to let them go on seperately to avoid too much over enthusiasm that leads to tears! climbing frame as well and they are allowed out in the cul de sac where we live to play football etc.

am also lucky thats its a good half hour walk to school, so they run most of that or bike or scooter!

PinotGrigiosKittens Tue 14-Jun-11 19:51:32

4madboys Mine are fiercely loyal too. Love that. I imagine them all going to the footie and the pub together, then coming back to mine for Mums roast dinner <<dreams>>

verytellytubby Tue 14-Jun-11 19:58:25

I'll watch this with interest as I'm struggling with my twin boys at the moment.

PinotGrigiosKittens Tue 14-Jun-11 19:59:25

How old are they very?

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