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Brothers (3.7 and 21m) winding each other up something chronic

(9 Posts)
ANiceSitDownAndACuppa Sun 20-Jul-14 20:20:42

I've got two boys, ds1 is 3.7 and ds2 is 21m. They are quite different personalities in many ways, ds1 is a stubborn thinker who likes things just so and can throw a tantrum to rival the best when he doesn't get his way. He's so stubborn that it can take what feels like hours of screaming to get him to say sorry, although this is something I always insist on. Ds2 is 21m and has always been a more laid-back little soul, very smily and cheery, but also much more physical.

They get on well and have the same sense of humour, but at the moment I am constantly having to referee their fights. Ds1 grabs toys off ds2 even when he clearly doesn't want them, and deliberately plays just roughly enough to push him over the edge into tears. Ds2's cheery nature has translated in recent weeks into thinking everything is a game that should be accompanied with a broad grin, even when it's being told for the hundredth time not to throw stones at his brother's head. He has learnt exactly how to push ds1's buttons and is increasingly at fault in their rows.

Because ds2 is smaller I've been intervening on his side most of the time up to now, because he cries more quickly I guess, and because until recently he didn't seem to be doing anything on purpose. But now I find it's closer to 50-50 and I am totally sick of having to deal with it all the time. They both do it on purpose and I am turning into shouty mummy, which I hate. Any advice from someone who's been through similar?

ovaryhill Mon 21-Jul-14 18:41:32

Oh dear! I feel your pain I really do, I have five boys and the things they have done to wind each other up over the years would make your hair curl!
I think I eventually just let them sort themselves out, unless there was any violence, at which point I came down like a ton of bricks, it's the low level winding each other up constantly that is the most wearing, the oldest ones are 20, 18, and sixteen and still do it! I'm sorry I can't be more constructive, but I do sympathise

This is so weird I opened this thread because my two are a similar age, saw your username and thought I'd posted something in my sleep or something!

I have a DS 3.6 and DD 21 months and at times they fight like cat and dog! DS is the same as your older DC, he's often happy playing until DD has something and then he just has to have it even if it means bopping her over the head, snatching, pushing, scratching, shutting her in a room etc. If one of them had it first I will intervene and say that person is having a turn and they can have a turn when they're done but in DS' s case I often have to physically remove him because he will keep going for it. If they have both gone for a toy at once or are just fighting I usually leave them to it unless it's getting nasty and then I either split them up or remove the toy.. With the latter they're often playing nicely together a few minutes later!

I'm different to you in that I don't insist on apologies, I was brought up with a lot of empty ones that left me feeling if someone doesn't mean it then what's the point? I apologise if I've upset them or shouted or whatever and I remind them when their behaviour is unkind to be gentle but I leave the apology up to them, you'd be surprised how often they actually want to say sorry when they've calmed down!

you say you used to intervene on DS2's side and you've become quite shouty. you think there's any chance they (DS1 in particular) are after a reaction from you now? It took me ages to accept that DS wanted a reaction from me and wasn't fussed if it was positive or negative, I try as often as possible now when I do intervene to remain calm and almost bored in my response and to point out when they're playing nicely and tell them how lovely it is...of course it's quite a different matter when I'm trying to cook and they're half killing each other or wrecking the place!

I don't know if it's any good to you but it helps me to know I'm not the only one in this position. .I've heard that 1 and 3 is hard, 2 and 4 is good, 3 and 5 they fight again, I suppose a lot of it depends on their developmental stage (for example I believe a child doesn't start to understand the concept of sharing until around 5) and what else is happening in their lives (school/nursery etc) - my next read is 'siblings without rivalry' which is recommended a lot on here, might be worth a look grin

murphy36 Mon 21-Jul-14 20:48:49

I think I'd just blame and punish both of them for fights if it came to that.

However, the older one needs to take a bit more responsibility at those ages as he had more reasoning, he can just walk away.

ANiceSitDownAndACuppa Mon 21-Jul-14 22:54:20

ovary 5 boys? Good grief, you deserve a medal. Two is enough for me!

cupoftea that is a crazy coincidence, it took me a minute to work out what had happened there. Hope you're sitting down with a nice cuppa! It is good to know it's not just me, and also that it's not just boys. I think sometimes they get a bad rap and I'm sure girls can be just as hard (although I was clearly an angel as a toddler).

It's interesting to hear you let them calm down and often they apologise on their own. I don't know why I insist on apologies really, except it seems like a way to get them to accept that how they behaved was wrong, and it's a good habit to form. But ds1 HATES saying sorry, I'm sure he sees it as a sign of weakness. Often I feel it prolongs the argument tenfold trying to enforce it. I'll have a think about alternative strategies.

I keep meaning to read that Siblings book too, now might be the time.

Slothlorian Mon 21-Jul-14 23:44:10

Reading with interest. My boys are 3 and nearly 5. The winding up, fighting and crying is really getting me down. Most days I just can't wait for them to be asleep sad
They are much better out and about, but nothing worse than being at home.
Sharing a room is so difficult for them but no choice.

ovaryhill Wed 23-Jul-14 09:43:38

Believe me the toddler stages of this are a breeze compared to the teenage years! Some examples: Hitler moustache drawn on younger brother with permanent marker while asleep, lines of drawing pins leading fromasbrother bed, 'appendages' added to sisters princess drawings, sisters doll left hanging out of the attic with one eye taken out, terrible school days phase of putting items of my underwear in each other's schoolbags for embarrassment factor, and my personal favourite, Ds4 shouting from the kitchen' mum, mum, ds3 is trying to put his balls on my toast'! Like I previous said, they've all turned out really good responsible young men! Honest!

ANiceSitDownAndACuppa Wed 23-Jul-14 11:00:17

Ha ha ha, that really made me laugh! Not funny at the time I'm sure!

I'm off to hide under the table for the next 15 years....

ovaryhill Wed 23-Jul-14 12:45:37

Actually, I know people will probably think I'm terrible but I did find most of it hilarious, especially the toast one, 'sentences you never thought you'd hear'! I've got good relationships with them all so it's all ok in the end, not so easy when they are really young though!

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