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To feel sad that Dc's can't be in the same room unsupervised for fear of really hurting one another

(67 Posts)
Notthinkingclearly Tue 03-Jan-17 17:53:48

I have 2 Dc's eldest is a boy of 9 and a girl if 7. They have lovely moments where they can play nicely together but it is short lived and I can't seem to leave them unsupervised as arguments seem to start very suddenly and they are both very keen to hurt one another when they fall out. I have a younger brother and can honestly say that I never remember fighting so this is making me so sad. I have recently stopped all ipad and wi use as a form of punishment but it seems to have no effect. Stupidly left them tonight in same room playing board with neighbours child. Suddenly I realised that there was a commotion and ds was stood over his sister and ramming his fist into her chest. I grabbed him off and sent him to his room but I just feel so sad why they would want to behave like this. They are never aggressive to other children. I have told them that if behaviour improves they can have limited ipad use as a reward but would love to know any other suggestions please.

harderandharder2breathe Tue 03-Jan-17 17:57:18

My sister and I were like this. I think with us we were both bitterly jealous of everything the other had, and everything was seen as unfair (my parents couldn't win, I do see that now!)

It might be worth sitting down with them one at a time and discussing their feelings towards each other.

pickledparsnip Tue 03-Jan-17 18:00:37

Sorry I don't really have any advice. Just wanted to say that my sisters and I were exactly the same. We couldn't be left alone at all and the teenage years were hell. We're now all in our thirties and they are my best friends.

GashleyCrumbTiny Tue 03-Jan-17 18:02:14

My brother and I were like this throughout our childhood years. We both lost teeth! Get on fine now though. It's a pain in the neck for parents but I don't think there's anything that would have fixed us - we just used to wind each other up!

SnatchedPencil Tue 03-Jan-17 18:03:34

It's more common than you think. They will probably grow out of physically abusing one another, but the resentment, hatred even, may well linger on into adult life. Physical violence will often evolve into psychological torment as children get older.

Possibly the only option you have is to keep them apart as much as you can, and hope the damage is not too long term when they have to spend time together. Keep a close watch to see whether one seems to be the instigator; often one child will provoke an outburst but be very good at playing innocent themselves!

If you feel one of them is at risk of actual harm, you should not hesitate to get professional help. Forget the stigma you think this may bring, your children's wellbeing is all that matters here.

angeldelightedme Tue 03-Jan-17 18:06:27

Was there a bigger age gap between you and your brother? My brother and I were 16 months apart and fought like cat and dog til I left home!

harderandharder2breathe Tue 03-Jan-17 18:10:28

Ageee with SnatchedPencil, my sister would wind me up until I lashed out, then go crying to our parents.

Obviously you have to punish the child who hit, but I think if that's what's happened the wind up merchant also needs punishing

Daydream007 Tue 03-Jan-17 18:21:18

That's pretty common when the age gap is 2 years or so. Hopefully they will grow out of it soon and although they love each other the close age gap won't be helping as they probably have sibling jealousy. There is a 5 year age gap between my two which works really well as the older one looks after his little sister and is protective of her.

SomethingLikeFlying Tue 03-Jan-17 18:21:43

Ds2 (middle) really doesn't like ds3 (youngest). He hates him playing with his toys, playing with him whilst he's playing with his toys, pushes him out of the way, bosses him around etc...
ds3 is getting to the age where he's starting to fight back now as well so it becomes world war 3 in this house sometimes.

Ds2 will play beautifully with ds1 and ds1 and ds3 have no problems playing together either. Ds2 just does not like ds3 at all.

JsOtherHalf Tue 03-Jan-17 18:25:28

A year between DB and I.

He was younger, and much more physically agressive.
I got knocked out at least once, and ended up on the floor being kicked in the ribs as a teenager.
He was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult.

We aren't close.

Witchend Tue 03-Jan-17 18:26:34

I would suggest taking them each out separately and just asking if there's anything going on.
My and younger sibling were like that very suddenly, mostly stemming from a couple of incidents that hurt me very badly, but my parents refused to admit they could be an issue at all. I tried talking about it, and was told I couldn't possibly mind, which very much added up to the feeling I was worth less.
If they'd listened and dealt with, I think things could have been very different. Unfortunately they chose to take the easy option which was basically give way to the (admitted by them) more awkward one.

After that, I think they're young enough to say things along the lines of, if you get on we can <insert treat>.
Don't force them to do "family time" and don't always give way to the younger, or have the younger always following the older. Make sure they do different interests, and have their own space. Encourage them to be themselves and not just want to beat the other one.
And make sure punishments are fair-which isn't always equal. Grounding them both isn't equal if one is due to go out with friends tomorrow and the other wouldn't go out at weekends/evening if you paid them.

But most of all listen to them. Not when they're going "it's not fair, he had two grains more than me" and "she pulled a face at me". But when it's them talking separately, not in the heat of the moment. If they say something has upset them, then it probably has, and telling them they can't possibly be upset because it's too small/they didn't say anything at the time etc. Talk it through, let them know that sometimes you can't be equal, that sometimes they will disagree with your decisions, but at the same time, they can come and talk to you and you'll take it seriously. Let them feel that they are as important.

Famalam13 Tue 03-Jan-17 18:27:03

No advice but DH and his sister were the same and it is one of the many reasons DS will be an only.

Mrsglitterfairy Tue 03-Jan-17 18:30:30

My DSs (5 & 8) are like this. Say they hate each other, are constantly sniping at each other, hitting, fighting, name calling. Im just living in the hope that they will eventually grow up and grow out of it. It does make me sad though as I always pictured them to be the best of friends by this age but they can't even play a board game together as a family without one of them kicking off over something the other has said or done sad

lozzylizzy Tue 03-Jan-17 18:33:46

My 4 and 8 year old fight constantly. The eldest pushes, shoves and wrestles and the youngest punches and uses 'weapons' like toys, remote controls etc to hit him on the head. It drives me bonkers.

I always say to DH, what happens if they carry on like this when they are in their teens and most probably taller than me. His reply was open the back door, coax them out and shut it behind you!

Purplebluebird Tue 03-Jan-17 18:40:34

A good friend of mine and her 6 year younger brother were like this! I was shocked when I saw how they would fight each other, but they have a normal relationship now as adults.

ethelb Tue 03-Jan-17 18:40:50

You said your son was punching his sister in the chest and you are punishing them for 'their' behaviour.

What has your daughter done? Sounds like she is the victim.

brasty Tue 03-Jan-17 18:42:18

Yes I wondered if it was really one of them bullying the other one?

woundedplacerias Tue 03-Jan-17 18:45:41

My two (both boys) sound just the same. The howls and yells when I have a shower - inevitable as I am a lp - have to be heard to be believed. Fortunately, they seldom seem to actually hurt each other, but are just very physical. Ds2 does sometimes wind ds1 up, and I am careful to come down on this, even if ds1 has a physical reaction, which I also deal with. Sometimes there is no discernible cause - they just seem to love punching, poking and whacking each other. Like yours they are never rough with others.

I did have a really heart warming incident the other day. They were playing separately in their rooms when ds2 gave a cry, seemingly of pain. Ds1 said 'what's up?' and went to investigate. I can't tell you how happy I was to have some evidence that he doesn't hate his brother, because that's how it feels sometimes.

The other thing that unites them is if I seem really cross with one or both of them. Then they unite against me. Even though they like to 'tell on' each other, if my reaction is stricter then they expected they will switch to supporting each other!

Sorry, no helpful advice but it's not just yours.

Beth2511 Tue 03-Jan-17 18:46:28

my cousins were 3 years apart and have grown into lovely decent men

Notthinkingclearly Tue 03-Jan-17 18:50:34

Thanks for all replies. My dd is very physical too and is just as likely to hit out as my ds. This is particularly upsetting to me as I suppose I imagine that boys are more likely to be like this but I was always very gently as a child. My mum and Gran both had girls first and say that is much easier that way round. Apparently I was very maternal to my brother only 3 years younger than me. If I tell my friends about my children fighting they always look horrified so I feel I must be doing something wrong. One friend who has 2 dd's tells me they are both best friends which makes me feel so sad. My DH very rarely argue and so they don't see fighting.

WombOfOnesOwn Tue 03-Jan-17 18:53:34

My sister and I did this. So did my husband and his brother. So did some of my friends and their siblings.

In each case, the children involved were victims of child abuse by adults they knew and trusted. They were acting out the kind of "might makes right" scenarios they saw every day. My sister and I are best friends now, but much of that was because we realized later that our horrifying childhood fights weren't so much our fault -- how could we know better, when that's what we saw?

Make sure, anyone posting in this thread, that you're not physically disciplining your kid and showing them examples of how power belongs to whoever is strongest -- otherwise, there's a good chance this is how your kids will interact with their siblings.

hiccupgirl Tue 03-Jan-17 19:01:34

My DB and I were exactly like this - there's almost exactly 2 yrs between us. No reason other than we wound each other up about everything and nothing. He hated me being the older one and I hated him having everything I had.

We get on really well as adults so I really wouldn't worry about it unless they are actually really hurting each other.

Catsick36 Tue 03-Jan-17 19:02:35

There are 2.5 yrs between me and my brother. We regularly wound each other up until one of us lashed out. He had bites and bad bruising lots of times from me, this went on for years. I had no space from him at all, if I went out I was forced to take him as well. If he went out he was allowed to go without me! It was always so one sided. We're great friends now though and see each other regularly.
It will pass.

Crumbs1 Tue 03-Jan-17 19:07:33

Fighting with siblings is normal. It's not victims or abusive - it's what kids do to learn how to manage conflict and relationships in a relatively safe environment before adulthood. The more worked up about it you get the worse it's likely to be.

Notthinkingclearly Tue 03-Jan-17 19:21:50

Womb - I'm a bit confused by your comments. My children never see any arguing and my husband and I have a good relationship. This is why I find my childrens fighting so upsetting as its not in my nature. The only other people who ever look after my children are my parents who are fabulous with endless love and fun and definitely not contributing to my childrens fighting.

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