To think my 6 year old should know better?(34 Posts)
I've just had a dd - born Christmas Eve. It has been a very stressful time as she was six weeks prem and we spent nearly a fortnight in hospital after she was born meaning I missed Christmas with ds and he was shoved from pillar to post a bit. Dh was always with him though.
We've been home nearly a week and ds is extremely rough with dd. I've been trying not to leave them alone but it's impossible when I need a shower or a wee etc! I've just come back from the toilet to discover ds practically lying on dd in her basket. I had to tell him three times to get off her before he did and I'm worried he's hurt her. He weighs about 4 stone. She seems ok but I'm livid with him. He is trying to be affectionate some of the time but he's just so rough. He was pulling her head earlier to try and turn it towards him.
He's six and a half and I think he should know better. I appreciate its a big change and I've been giving him lots of attention as dd is sleeping mostly but I realise it isn't the same as before.
Aibu to think I should be able to leave him with her for five minutes without him hurting her - intentionally or otherwise? Any advice from anyone?
Is he aware that he is being so rough? Or does he genuinely not notice?
He gets carried away I think but we keep reminding him. Then he sulks and says 'I'll just go away then' and I feel awful but I can't have him lying on her. I'm still worried now that he's hurt her. He's so loud and bouncy. She was on her changing mat earlier and he came racing in and jumped over her - he could easily have landed on her. So then he gets told off. But I don't want to keep telling him off as I know it's a tough time.
I've tried praising when he is gentle and I've tried having a chat about being more gentle as she's so small but it's made no difference.
Id say he should definiteky know better. My 5 yr old knows what gentle means, but we have had cats all her life so she has been raised having gentle constantly reinforced.
I think you need to give him a break, it's a huge change for him. And he genuinely might not know how rough he is. Seems like he just wants to be affectionate but not aware of his strength or how fragile she is. Speak to him about what he can do and to ask if he wants to hold her or pick her up.
Your 6yo needs some understanding.
He has really been through it, his whole life has changed, and he probably doesn't know how to respond or react.
I would get a baby chair and take baby with you for toilet/shower and really ramp up the praise when your ds helps with nappy changes or is gentle with your dd.
It is very difficult, I found the jump from 1 to 2 children was the most difficult, with your first your whole world revolves around them, when/if you go from 2 - 3 you are already adept at juggling your dcs needs. 1-2 is tough.
This sounds like how my two year old is with my newborn. I would expect a 6 year old to know better but if he isn't used to babies he may not realise.
I think you should give him a break. We had a similar ish situation, almost missed Christmas, 6yo DS all over the place while I was in hospital with ill newborn. It was really hard on DS1. He still talks about it now, and I know he felt very pushed out.
Try not to be angry, yes he should have more sense, but he's only 6. He's not used to the baby yet, but he'll get there. Give him some time to get used to it all.
Is he quite rough by nature? Or is this a new thing? I would have zero tolerance and never leave them alone together. However I'd also give DS lots more attention generally and show him how to touch baby carefully
And as far as advice goes - take your DS with you for now, if you have to do something. Ask him to do little things, take something upstairs for you, while you go to the loo. Get him to help you while you put clothes away, that sort of thing.
Does he get to hold his sister? DS was desperate to hold his brother all the time, so we let him as often as possible, so he got used to being extra careful.
He should know better. My ds was 4 when dd was born and I could trust him in the room without me.
Having said that, dd was born at home so we never had any tome without ds, he woke up and dd was there. It's possible your ds is feeling a bit put out x
He absolutely should know better. My son was nearly 6 when DD was born and he's incredible gentle and careful with her.
Maybe it's an attention thing. Has he had much from you lately?! (I don't ask that horrible, just know how wrapped it can get) maybe ask him to help with the baby and show him how to gently handle her? He will feel involved and more confident and like part of it all
I think it's different when there's been a long time away. A long hospital stay made our eldest feel really insecure, it was very hard for him - he didn't know how long I'd be away, if his brother would be ok,.
Especially with an prem/ill baby. They feel so much more fragile, and your oldest child just looks so huge and careless next to a baby that's needed lots of help.
Sorry, that should say *I think it's especially difficult....
Yes, he should know better. But....he's world has been rocked. I'd be really worried about the "I'll just go away then" comment.
Tomorrow, can you do something just you and him?
I'm not too worried about the'i'll go away then' as he's a little melodramatic at the best of times and has said things like that before in reponse to being told off.
Truth be told I miss our old life too even though dd was much wanted so I'm feeling a bit emotional about it all.
My 5 year old had our son arrive a week before her 5th birthday and I recognise a lot of what you're describing. He had an easy arrival with no drama though so I'm sure it's doubly hard for him. She is quite often rough when cuddling him, I have to ask several times for her to stop sometimes. It's worse when she's tired or hasn't seen me/him all day. He's a big 9 month old now though so more often than not her roughness makes him laugh, which makes it tricky when I'm telling her not to do it! I just try to give her responsibility but not too much, praise her for being helpful, try to relate what she does to her and how she would feel. It's still difficult though and I do find myself losing it occasionally when she just won't stop manhandling him.
I reckon he will be getting his own back in time though so I guess it all evens out..
In all seriousness though just limit the time they're alone together for now and give him time alone with you if you can? I found a sling really helped as I could keep baby close so they slept whilst I played with dd.
I'm trying to give him as much time as possible, but I am recovering from a c section and am still in quite a bit of pain. I'm playing games and reading with him etc.
He generally is quite physical and rough with everyone, it's not specific to dd.
Oh god, what have I done? It was so easy with just ds and now we aren't going to be able to do anything nice ever again.
'Siblings Without Rivalry' is a great book to read in these circumstances. As far as I remember they would advise praising every single moment he is gently around the baby, giving specific time to spend with the six year old, acknowledging the negative feelings your ds might have about the arrival of a new baby, as this will help him to let those feelings go.
He is probably massively shaken up - my eldest was very suddenly taken ill recently and I had to stay in hospital with her totally unexpectedly. My 8 yo DC2 was really shaken up by it, although he was with DH (or at school) the whole time. He hid how he felt really well though and I actually only found out because of a piece of school work where he'd written about it, and his friends mums telling him he'd stunned and shocked the class by crying in class about it (he is not normally one to cry in front of peers, it was apparently newsworthy enough that more than one parent was told about it by their child and subsequently the parents asked me about it!) That's all without it going on over Christmas and without a new sibling coming into his life!
He should know better if his sister had come home at the expected time and with the expected build up and time for you to introduce them in a perfect, planned scenario etc etc. My eldest was 2 and then 5 when she acquired siblings, and my DC2 was 3 when he became a big brother, and they were both lovely and gentle and I was able to leave them in a room with the baby for a minute or so fairly early on... but the babies arrived on schedule (actually planned sections) so we were able to prepare them fairly easily and in a lot of detail, and to stage manage everything to quite a degree.
I think you can't expect your 6 yo to deal with things as well as he would have if your DD had been born aound her due date with only a brief night or two in hospital and everything nicely stage managed. He's probably still very shaken up by the events of the last couple of weeks and dealing with a massive onslaught of mixed emotions, including "coming down" from the shock and fear and confusion he may well have kept hidden even from himself while you and his baby sister were in hospital.
sorry, cross post!
Don't worry, it WILL get better. You will heal, he will get used to the new situation...you have given your DS as sibling, he will soon love playing with him I promise.
I've PM'd you.
But yes, it will get better
Of course it will get better - all too quickly your DD won't be a fragile tiny newborn, and you won't feel nearly as worried when she's a rough and tumble chunky toddler giving as good as she gets (if any child hurts any other in our house it is invariably the youngest who has clouted one of the older ones! That's our challenge - the older two are an awful lot bigger physically than the youngest and we seem to be unable to convince him that he actually hurts them sometimes and it is just as much not allowed as it would be if one of them ever hit him... not that they ever do - its amazing how often I have to tell fairly delicately built 4 yo DC3 to be gentle with his sturdy, sporty, twice his size big brother!)
I think you need to keep reminding him to be gentle, but without telling him off so much.
He's 6, his Mummy was in hospital at Christmas, his entire family was probably stressed out and not only does he have a new sibling, but he has a very tiny and delicate new sibling.
Does he have a lot of experience around babies?
It'll get better because he won't always be 6 and she won't always be so tiny. I also wouldn't be dismissing the "I'll go away" thing, even if he is dramatic. 6 is prime age for sibling rivalry imo, especially if in his mind his sister got to spend Christmas with you and he didn't.
Join the discussion
Please login first.