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Not sure where to put this so here goes.

(50 Posts)
TheOriginalFAB Wed 01-Jun-11 20:48:59

First of all I know I am making a lot of mistakes and don't appear to be able to take on board any advice I am given. There are reasons for that but not the point of this thread so can we please leave that aside and not turn this into kick fab thread which has happened before. Thank you.

I have 2 boys of 5 and 10 and a daughter of 7.

Lots and lots of fighting and lying about who has done what. Sometimes they play so nicely together it is lovely and noted as it so rarely happens. In the past they have been known to argue and fight all day and then be begging to sleep together at bed time.

Tonight dd was sent to bed for punching ds1. DS2 was put to bed as it was his time. DS1 went to bed to read. Words were had about something ds1 had said and a little while ago he came down with a note.

It said he went to work with daddy today and did school work all day just so he didn't have to be with his sister and brother. He said about a time when he noticed his sister looked sad at school and she was mean to him and shouted at him when he moved a spider from her room. He wrote about the time 2 years ago when his brother was poorly and he was really worried about him. He tries to be nice to them and they are horrible back.

Some how (after dh and I talked to ds1) dh said we are not consistent. We tell them to tell us if one hurts another and then either tell them to sort it out themselves or do nothing. I have said we have tried different things to see what works. I know that dh blames me for them being naughty.

He doesn't agree with me that they hate each other. DS2 was mad with me s I wouldn't let him have an ice cream so he said he couldn't wait until the cat died (she is poorly) and it would be good if his sister died. DH said he doesn't mean those things.

I just feel so sad that they feel like that, that they even think to say things like that.

One of the reasons we had lots of children (lots to us!) was because I have no family and my BIL is not having any so DH wanted his children's children to potentially have cousins and fun growing up around lots of other children like he had. Seems like we had children for it to be a nice thing for them (though for us too of course) and it hasn't worked out. I know our children can't be nice or like each other because we want a happy family life but it seems like something else we got wrong.

I am taking a big chance being honest like this as usually I get a lot of criticism, and while I don't want that, I will take a chance if someone can please help us and help one very sad little boy.

madwomanintheattic Wed 01-Jun-11 20:52:57

my three are exactly the same. if, however, you have got to the point where it is causing disagreements between you and dh, or you genuinely think your ds is becoming anxious and withdrawn/ depressed (as opposed to just hating his siblings, which is entirely normal), then you might need to start looking at family therapy for all of you - or something like play therapy for your ds.

a friend had a suicidal 8yo who responded really well to play therapy.

discuss with gp - sometimes get a referral, or try and find a private play therapist who might be able to get to the bottom of itall from ds's pov.

Tsil Wed 01-Jun-11 20:54:20

No advice as I don't have DC yet but I do think the fighting is natural. My sister and I argued and I mean argued until we were teenagers, then we never spoke :-) but now we are older I love her and wouldn't be without her at all. It is the same with my friends.

I'm sorry your boy is sad and I hope you get things sorted soon.

CarGirl Wed 01-Jun-11 20:54:26

Have you read the "how to talk so kids will listen....." book? It explains very well in there about those feelings that children have towards each other and in fact by them verbally expressing them it's actually a good and healthy thing.

it may have actually been in the other book they wrote "siblings without rivalry" it is an amazing book to read and it really helps you understand why they are so horrid to each other and how to parent them in a way that their relationships are a positive thing rather than a negative thing.

It sounds like your children do care very much for each other and feel secure so are confident they can vile to each other without it mattering grin

TheOriginalFAB Wed 01-Jun-11 21:04:20

Thank you <huge sigh of relief no one kicked me>.

I actually have both books. One was sent very kindly by another mumsnetter. Unfortunately it has been so long since I had time to read them that I have forgotten what I read but I will be getting them out of the basket when I go up to bed and will read them in the park tomorrow.

My 10 year old is growing up. I can see it. He cares. He likes to cook, put the animals away, do more grown up things.

UrsulaBuffay Wed 01-Jun-11 21:07:42

I didn't get on with my brother, very dissimilar people, he was a bit mean to me at school. But we had each other and we love each other and we had some nice times as a family.

They might go through different phases where they are closer, they may not. They have personalities of their own though so it may not be all yours & DHs 'doing' if you see what I mean?

TheOriginalFAB Wed 01-Jun-11 21:18:55

I do see what you mean. I just feel so sad.

madwomanintheattic Wed 01-Jun-11 21:33:35

fab - in the nicest way, do you think you might have unrealistic expectations of family life? of the rose tinted specs variety? grin i'm not kicking, honest, but i just wondered.

i mean, the whole media happy families, smiley happy people thing is all very well - but they are actors, right?

real life is a bit more... gritty grin

but as i said, maybe family therapy or play therapy for ds would help you iron it out.

TheOriginalFAB Wed 01-Jun-11 21:38:08

I know you are not kicking smile and yes, maybe I am. A cousin - without children - said at a family mean I was too hard on the kids but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing confused.

It is hard to know when to ignore and when to speak to them/tell them off.

I heard the 5 year old say "commit suicide." WTF? Turns out DS1 had written as an option in a game and the lady watching them told him to rub it out. DS1 said he was telling DS2 what it meant. Just an example of what I have to deal with. DS1 heard it at school. Then he said that the kids are teasing him as he doesn't know what some words mean. Turns out the boys call their penis hot dog and they teased ds1 because he didn't know that. confusedhmm.

Hassled Wed 01-Jun-11 21:40:29

I think madwoman is on to something - my understanding is that you had a pretty shit childhood, so possibly by creating a large family you've been hoping for some sort of unrealistically happy set-up to compensate. And the reality is that they're individuals with their own wants and needs and the vast majority of siblings clash at some stage.

I think (FWIW):
a) your DH is right re being consistent. Either all problems are resolved by you, or they're not - either is fine, but you have to make a decision. I've gone for the "tell me and I'll sort it and my word is final" approach. They still choose to ignore that, but that's the aim.
b) accept that siblings argue and don't make it into too huge a deal. If every squabble becomes a big issue then they know they're getting your attention if they pick a fight. Be calm but dismissive - deal with it quickly and quietly and move on fast. Don't dwell.

mankymummymoo Wed 01-Jun-11 21:41:09

do you really think they hate each other? i mean REALLY? course they hate each other sometimes. My DS has told me he hates me before - it was awful (you know a bit about my background so can appreciate how it made me feel).

does dh really blame you ? you only? not himself too? not that i can see much to adhere blame to.

it honestly all sounds so normal. I think one of the hardest things as a parent is accepting that you cannot make your children happy all of the time, functional, polite, talented, interested, socially acceptable, sibling loving... any of that all the time.

If they never get angry, sad, disappointed... how will they know how good it feels to feel chilled, happy, amazed?

madwomanintheattic Wed 01-Jun-11 21:41:23

hot dog! grin <ew>

that all sounds quite normal tbh. <i run a cub pack. sometimes i need to lie down in a darkened room afterwards>

UrsulaBuffay Wed 01-Jun-11 21:44:38

It all sounds really quite normal though, I don't think you need to be so hard on yourself.

mankymummymoo Wed 01-Jun-11 21:45:56

one other thing FAB you have given your children a *voice", the confidence that they can use it. it may be painful to hear sometimes but thank god they have the courage to speak and that there is someone there to listen to them. And they know that, which of course is why they can be little sods sometmes !

TheOriginalFAB Wed 01-Jun-11 21:50:18

So am I doing okay?

I read on here someone said they say "thank you for telling me" when their kids tell tales. I tried that and it worked in that they went away and didn't keep on at me. I will try the "tell me and I will sort it and my word is final" from tomorrow. My problem is that I don't always know what the consequences should be.

If I was naughty in any shape of form I was hit or denied food. Not something I want to do with mine.

mankymummymoo Wed 01-Jun-11 21:56:25

i usually put it back to them and say... "ok... so how can you sort this out? and if you need me to help what do you want me to do?"

let them take a bit of time out and give them a bit of responsibility to deal with their problems.

naturally i always do this - i would never, ever give up and say "if you dont stop arguing we will never go out of this house again or do anything fun and i will have to chop off your nose" because im a perfect parent! not!

you sound like you are doing fine.

UrsulaBuffay Wed 01-Jun-11 21:58:19

I think that's where the magical 'we'll see!' comes in grin

TheOriginalFAB Wed 01-Jun-11 21:58:25

<runs off to write brilliant idea down>

Popbiscuit Wed 01-Jun-11 21:59:09

Hi Fab. I've got three as well; almost the same ages as yours. At the moment it is CONSTANT fighting and bickering to the point where I sometimes have to ban them from the back garden for the sake of the neighbours' peace. I feel a lot of guilt about it (the squabbling, not the banning). I wanted three because I had just one brother and we were never particularly close. I feel like somehow the dynamic between my DCs ages just isn't working out, although they do occasionally have golden moments where they will all play together nicely. That lasts about 5 minutes and then all hell breaks loose again. Anyway, just to say that I wouldn't read too much into what your DS wrote; maybe it's a good way for him to process his emotions or guilt at his involvement in the fracas? My six-year old DS likes to get closure after a particularly nasty squabble with DD (9) by writing notes that say "DD is poop" and drawing pictures of her with an x through them. I try REALLY hard to not laugh.

TheOriginalFAB Wed 01-Jun-11 22:00:39

They would want me to tell the other off/take away their favourite toy!

TheOriginalFAB Wed 01-Jun-11 22:02:33

LOL at poop.

thumbwitch Wed 01-Jun-11 22:11:26

Oh Fab - would it help at all to say that your DC scenario isn't that uncommon? IME, especially in families of 3 but it will happen wherever there are siblings. My mum had more than one DC because she grew up as a "lonely only" - and she couldn't understand why we weren't more grateful for each other.

Many years down the line, I don't at all speak to my brother. We never got on all that well but in the last several years we have diverged so much (partly thanks to his bitch of an ex but largely due to us not liking each other that much in the first place) that we no longer see any need to stay in touch.

I am in touch with my sister - we get on fine and I am grateful for her now, mostly because I know my Dad isn't on his own now I'm the other side of the world! But for herself as well.

re. the tale telling - I think it's a tough one because my parents were inconsistent with their responses to this as well - if it involved major Bad Behaviour then they wanted to know who was responsible, regardless of how they found out; but if it was minor (to them) petty squabbling then they left us to it so long as we didn't make too much noise. Huge levels of resentment built up, I have to say - but in all honesty I don't know what they could have done to make it any better. sad

I don't like to hear my nieces snitching on each other all the time - it's not a good thing - but OTOH none of us want any of them to suffer in silence. Mankymummy's suggestion might be a good place to start!

Do you manage to do things individually with each child so they each feel valued in their own right? If you can, it might help; but be scrupulously fair about it.

Finally, to save your sanity, you may just have to accept that they aren't necessarily going to get on and like each other - some children just don't. If I wasn't related to my brother and sister I would never have chosen to know either of them - we are all startlingly different people! And others fight like wild animals when young but grow up to be fine with each other - you can't know until it happens but I can tell you this: Please don't try to force them to like each other - it just fosters resentment.

Good luck - hope things settle down for you.

TheOriginalFAB Wed 01-Jun-11 22:17:47

Thank you, that really helps.

I am going to bed now as can't see properly as so tired but I will reread this thread tomorrow and will make notes, read the books and take the kids to the park tomorrow.

Thanks again.

Bohica Wed 01-Jun-11 22:21:43

I have 3 girls around the same age & I sometimes dispair at their behaviour. They are either at each others throats with our youngest (3) running around grassing on them "oh no. DD1 said DD2 was an idiot" "MuuuuM DD1 said stoopid"

And then we have times when they gang up on me & act like a bunch of giggly, silly, 2 year olds.

I'm using such a complex reward chart that I need a back up spreadsheet for my personal use, it works though. As long as I give more ticks than crosses & make a big deal of adding up the totals at the end of the day.

AND I seperate them when things get really bad & send them to their rooms without talking to each other, putting DD1 (9) on the naughty step is humilitating for her & sends a firm message to DD3 (3) that it doesn't matter how big you are you can still sit on the step smile

UrsulaBuffay Wed 01-Jun-11 22:23:32

I used to be awful to my brother and then bribe him with stuff & hiss 'don't tell Mam'.

Then he got much bigger than me grin

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