DS1 asks me if I like him :((7 Posts)
Background: I have 2 DSs, aged 3.7 and 2.6. They both attend nursery FT. DH does drop-off/pick-up and 2h solo childcare in the evening before I get home. Both DH and I work FT but I have a long commute, so get in at around 7pm.
DH has noted that as soon as I get home, DS1 will play up and generally be naughty, often attacking his brother. Now I know he's doing it for attention and do try to preempt it, but it doesn't often work as he perceives me talking to DH as a lack of attention and then plays up. Obviously we're not enjoying this behaviour but can see where it comes from. However, it is hard not to display a preference for DS2 as he's just easygoing and quiet and a sweet little guy - much less demanding of fuss than his brother.
In the past few days, DS1 has greeted me when I get home and immediately started asking questions like 'Do you love DS2 best?', to which I give the standard 'I love both of you the same' response. Last night, though, he asked in a quieter moment and responded to my answer by saying 'But I naughty' in a low voice.
I don't know how best to manage this. He is naughty sometimes, but it's because he wants attention. The problem is, we can't just let him get away with murder because his brother will suffer and I'm not sure it would be best anyway as boundaries are an important part of childhood.
Any advice on how to improve his behaviour would be very much appreciated! I'm starting to worry that it's caused by my working pattern and that I may need to consider a change in work
Plan an activity with him for tomorrow night. Ask him what he would like to do and agree on something for 20 minutes. If he struggles to pick something, or picks unmanageable things, have some choices ready. Reading, playing lego, a game, just talking, watching tv, whatever. At the end, make it clear how much you've enjoyed his company and explain that the day after will be ds2's turn, but what would he like to do the night after? Make a timetable and put it on the wall.
Also, tell him you love him. Lots. And tell him what you love about him. For whatever reason he needs to hear it more than usual right now.
It just sounds like he's missing you.
Google love bombing.
Really sounds like you would both benefit from it.
I think I read that kids often test us with the 'who do you love the most' question and the most common parent response is 'I love you both the same'
Instead try 'I love my John with my whole heart because he is smart and kind and funny, and there is only one John in the whole world who I can love like that' and then ''i love my James because he's sweet and generous and smiley and he's the only James in the world I can love like that' well something along those lines anyway
I can remember being deeply suspicious of the idea my mum could love me and my sister exactly the same.
Thanks for the replies.
I did go with the 'I love you lots and lots' sort of approach when he came out with that. DH and I take turns in putting each child to bed and that night was my turn with DS1, so we had some nice 1:1 time. They tend to fight over me these days, which makes me feel a bit bad for DH as he's a bit like chopped liver!
DS1 also has said that he doesn't want to go to nursery every day. I can't find out any details of fights or anything, so I think he's just bored of it. I'm sympathetic, but school is looming and he won't get to opt out of that one
I think that the love-bombing approach is a good one. He gets jealous if I go near DS2 though; will love-bombing one make him intolerant of the other?
I think you have to be careful to treat them both the same, yet give them both what they need, which isn't always the same thing iyswim.
I had a timer when they were young and would spend 10/20 mins with each one. The other one wasn't allowed to interrupt that time and they alternated taking turns. They could choose to do pretty much whatever they wanted in that time. dc1 always wanted me to herself and would try her best to extend the time whereas dc2 always wanted to include dc1 in his activity! Obviously that was also fine, they're just very different in nature.
I find Aha Parenting to be a good source of tips.
Well, I tried to focus on DS1 more this weekend and to give him lots of fuss, which was actually really nice. He went to his first football class, but got very overwhelmed and insisted that I hold his hand for all the parts he participated in (this was at a 'parents - hands off!' sort of place). It was quite fulfilling to be able to be there for him, actually, as I'm usually wrestling both him and his brother and trying to do other stuff at the same time. It didn't entirely work as he still got overwrought and had to leave in floods of tears 2/3 of the way through, but at least part of it was good.
I will check out Aha parenting, thanks
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