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what do i do...what happened to my lovely boy?

(16 Posts)
hoarsewhisperer Sat 19-Jul-08 17:48:19

my eldest is driving me nuts at the moment. He is constantly taking toys and other things off his younger brother who is 2 (he is 5). We have tried explaining gently to him that thus is not nice behaviour, escalating to spells on the naughty step and now he has finally been sent to bed for the rest of the evening at 5.30. WHat do i do. He is whiney, grabby, complaining and goes off in horrid sulks when he is told no (which we try to ignore).
I just dont know what happened to the lovely child i had a year ago who was so well behaved and considerate. We try so hard to give them equal amounts of attention and we tell him constanly when we are pleased with him and when he has been good....he just seems to have this total inability to share anything with anyone and the meltdowns that ensue are making our lives miserable.
please help......is this just a phase....what do i do?

amygirl Sat 19-Jul-08 17:52:34

reassurance and reward charts (with smileys for good behaviour and frowns for bad)

onwardandupward Sat 19-Jul-08 17:56:13

I'd be getting as involved in a constructive way as possible. "You want that car? What do you think your little bro would like to play with even more than that, and then we can do a swopsie?" So it's you and him working together to find ways of keeping the little one happy while he also gets what he wants to play with. You finding a way of negotiating with them and advocating for both without either being "naughty".

Having toys which really ARE his, which are kept out of reach and sight of the two year old, and which are preserved for his use (as long as you/he puts them away, otherwise they are just out there in the general melee)

I suspect the rewards and punishments are adding to the problems - but I'm an Alfie Kohn fan...

hoarsewhisperer Sat 19-Jul-08 19:22:28

he does have toys that are really his, and they are kept for when ds2 is in bed or not around. We constantly saying, you let ds2 play with that and we'll find you something else shall we. He just seems to get so fixated on what his younger brother has.

Take this afternoon for example...they were playing with the train set quite ahppily, until ds2 decided he wanted to go play with a tractor. FIne. except that then ds1 took the tractor away from ds2. I told him that he would go get another tractor for himself which he did, but he then rushed up and took the trailer off ds2 that he had. he was told to give it back which he did, but then five minutes later he took it off him again. He just doesnt listen....its constant.

i just feel like crying sometimes...sad

onwardandupward Sat 19-Jul-08 19:33:50

Not suggesting at all that you are lying around on the sofa watching all this... but I wonder whether it might improve matters long term if you are much more active in helping solve the conflicts now, without fault being laid or recriminations, but just bringing another tractor for DS2/DS1 - whoever wants a different one, or suggesting activities which are less object based, like painting or something. I don't know, it just sounds as if maybe there are too many words and instructions and your DS1 might cope better for a bit with you quietly modelling what you are hoping he'll manage to do for himself in due course?

onwardandupward Sat 19-Jul-08 19:35:25

And a good one for object based conflicts can often be to completely overload the smaller child with fun objects until they have completely completely lost track of whatever it was there was conflict over. Done playfully, it ends in giggles all round, and a general deflating of that whole Possession Is Key thing

noonki Sat 19-Jul-08 20:34:36

I don't know if it's related by our 2.9 year old has been proper terrible for ages, above and beyond his other terrible two year old mates,

the last few days we have concentrated on getting him to eat well, (solid meals, no milk, less sugar) and I cannot describe the change in him... our lovely boy has returned

does he eat OK?

SlowDown Sat 19-Jul-08 20:44:28

This is life in our house too, ds is 4 and dd is 20 months. I'm trying to acknowledge who owns what a bit more now, rather than expecting ds to share everything with dd. If something is clearly his then I find asking him if he will let her play with it is more successful than just giving it to her. If he says 'no' then I put it aside but then point out that dd might be slightly sad now, then try and find her something else.

If something really is a shared toy, then this has to be clear too, like the stuff we borrow from the toy library. Then they must take it in turns (or something like that!!!)

My 2 are terrible though, it is all-out war a lot of the time in our house. We have pushing and smacking from ds and pinching and rage from dd sad all of which leads me to take them out of the house more often than not when I'm with them on my own.

But then, if say we're at the playground, they fight over what we go on and if it's a big playground and I can't see both of them at once this is a problem. Then my strategy is for them to take it in turns to choose where we go [double sigh emoticon].....

I will be watching this thread for more answers!!

hoarsewhisperer Sun 20-Jul-08 07:08:05

Noonki - They both eat well. Everything is pretty much home made and i am death on additives. They get the odd sweet, but not much and they would rather have a peice of smelly cheese or a bit of chorizo sausage than crisps etc. Ds1 has also been having the omega supplements for a while which have also definitely helped his concentration at school.

Slowdown - sounds pretty much like our house. The thing is there are toys that belong to both of them and thats fine....they kind of respect each others boundaries a bit. HOwever, its the comunnal stuff that is the problem. We have a basket with about 100 little toy cars in, and they always have to fight over the same one??!!! Ds1 lines them all up and then melts down whends2 wants just one of them.....i dunno hmm. ds2 is much better in general about sharing his stuff......i'm begining to think its an elder child thing.

oh well - fingers crossed for today. Ds1 and i crept downstairs early and had brekkie together while ds2 and dh are still sleeping...seems to be my sunny boy again today...i hope it lasts...

quinne Sun 20-Jul-08 07:22:13

I don't think you are doing anything wrong at all (not sure if you think you are but just in case I thought I'd offer reassurance!).
My boys fight too. It started when DS2 was old enough to be interested in toys and never stopped. After a lot of playing judge and negotiator (and general distractor!) we are at a point where they play well together 90% of the time and fight for the other 10%.

I think all you can do is make sure that DS1 doesn't feel threatened that DS2 is going to usurp him, try to distract them when a fight is brewing and have the wisdom of solomon(!) when trying to get to the bottom of a dispute. We have a "you don't steal toys from other children but you do share" rule but maybe that's a bit early for your DS2?

Thw worrying bit is I know someone with boys in their early teens and he warned me years ago that boys just fight. He said its just what they do... aaagh!!

Pheebe Sun 20-Jul-08 07:52:14

Great, thread and some really helpful advice on here. We're starting with this with our 2 boys (nearly 4 and nearly 1). I do think what you've described is entirely normal. For DS1, they hit their testosterone surge between 3 and 5 which may explain some of his behaviour (hyper, more aggressive then usual, tantrums/over emotional). That will all settle. As for the rest of it, its about learning to share which isn't an easy thing for them to do. I would agree with all the posters who say encourage sharing by being positive and also accepting when he just can't/won't. Keep some toys separate BUT, if he wants to play on his own with stuff he does so in his own space (his room?). We're now making a conscious effort to treat DS1 as a bigger boy, he gets to stay up late, help making choices (from 2 alternatives), gets special time with daddy and that all seems to be helping.

When its at its worst we've try not to let it get to us - ignore ignore ignore, get on and enjoy whatever you're doing. 9 times out of 10 ds1 finishes his strop and comes and joins in again. Responding negatively just seemed to make the sitatuation worse, everyone felt terrible and all ds1 learnt was that his mum and dad got/get angry. We try anyway, doesn't work all the time but it does mean we spend less time being cross and more time enjoying the kids.
hope that helps a little
phee xx

Pheebe Sun 20-Jul-08 07:55:26

O yes and I have friends with older boys and they do fight. I agree with quinne - they just do. BUT the upside is, they can be fiercly loyal and protective when anyone else tries to muscle in on their brother.

TheGoddessBlossom Sun 20-Jul-08 08:00:58

With my two DSs (nearly 4 and nearly 2) it's the younger one that causes most of the problems. He is relentless at wanting what DS1 has, even if he has one of his own exactly the same in his hand! He wants both, NOW! He creates such a huge tantrum about it that invariably DS1 gives it to him just to shut him up!

We have started the naughty step with DS2 to try and give him time out from having a melt down. He won't let DS1 watch his TV programmes , and they are rubbish at playing together although this is slowly getting better.

Most of the time I have to divide to conquer - i.e. like right now! DS1 is watching The Black Cauldron in the living room, DS2 is watching Something Special in the playroom. And I have a monster hangover and it's going to be a looooooong day....sadgrin

hoarsewhisperer Sun 20-Jul-08 09:19:47

thanks to everyone for their advice....i shall try and remain as cool as the proverbial cucumber when dealing with strife between them. The good thing is that they really love each other and there is no jealousy between them.....they'll learn to get along - sounds like its going to just take time...

good luck with the hangover goddess!

bossybritches Sun 20-Jul-08 09:28:42

I think too that we overestimate the tolerance a 5 year old has for his younger sibling, on the strength of how good they CAN be when in the mood!

Maybe spend a little more one to one on occasion with DS1 even if it's only cuddles watching his fav DVD (again!) when the younger one has a nap? That way he gets your attention positively not just because he's been "naughty".

As an aside a good trick is to label the behaviour naughty not the child or they start acting up to their labels.

It is entirely normal OP don't despair!

mamserafina Sun 20-Jul-08 10:22:49

hi hw
i am having same problem with ds whos 5 and new baby.

Great advise on here, however I wanted to add that maybe your ds is tired as it's the end of school?

If he's 5 he should be in reception I imagine.

We have found that ds gets very tired by midweek and as a result is very grumpy, doesn't want to do what he's told to do (like he has to at school) and doesn't want to be nice to other children all of the time (like he has to do at school of course).

He's a summer boy so the whole school thingy has been quite hard to get used to for him.

He's much better by Monday morning as we let him relax and don't do many activities with him at the week end and he also sleeps a lot more.

I plan to let him do what he likes in the first few weeks of the holidays and don't force too many activities on him.

Just a thought...actually advise I got from other mumsnetters!

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