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Coping mechanisms please, or we may return from holiday with one less child than we arrived with...

(14 Posts)
TheGoddessBlossom Fri 26-Aug-11 07:15:51

Hi Mumsnet.

On holiday in a lovely hot country, private villa, pool, beach, hired a car, couldn't ask for more.

DSs are 5 and 6 and I think DH might be reaching the end of his tether.

Some days are worse than others (and we have had some fantastic days, mainly when we are on the beach and they are playing without arguing, and we can see them but can't hear them) but DS2 in particular has to be reminded 25 times an hour not to:

push his brother in the pool (is currently in is room for just doing this, it is 8 am)
spit water
run by pool
shout at the top of his voice
stop constantly bickering and arguing

All of these behaviours are, as far as I am concerned, really annoying but fairly normal for boys of this age - but most of our rules are for their own safety and they need to do as they are told. DH just can't get his round why they don't get it and have to be told and told and told....and removed from pool, and sent to their room, and threatened with no ice cream/treat/money for souvenirs....

It is threatening to ruin our holiday because we just feel like we are bollocking them alllllllllllll the time. Does it have to be this hard?

Does this get easier when they are bigger? Are we over reacting? Should we be stricter/less strict? Is it just because we are not used to being with each other so much?

Struggling. sad Thankfully DH and I are not arguing which is great, but may change if this goes on for much longer.


TheGoddessBlossom Fri 26-Aug-11 07:17:15

should read - DH just can't get his head round

TheOriginalFAB Fri 26-Aug-11 07:19:44

Sounds normal to me. Have you explained to the boys exactly why you have these rules in place?

TheGoddessBlossom Fri 26-Aug-11 07:22:46


scrappydappydoo Fri 26-Aug-11 07:23:46

It sounds like our holiday back in May - dds are 3 and 5. I think it was all about expectations - dh thought he would be getting lie-ins and be able to read his book - he forgot to tell dds this though wink. I cope by just going with the attitude that its just a change of scenery and any chance to relax is a bonus.
Could you possibly arrange to give each other some time off - so one of you take the dc out of the day so other can have a break and then vice versa?

FootprintsOnTheMoon Fri 26-Aug-11 07:28:39

It is fairly normal - and equally normal to be driven batty by it!

Don't think of an elephant. What are you thinking of? Got you!

Psychologically it is harder to follow an instruction not to do something than an instruction to do something. My advice would be to use displacement. Displace the activity that it annoying for you with one that isn't. E.g. Get a badminton set and tell them to go play to have a break from telling them to behave in the pool. Tell them they have to cook dinner, including letting them research recipes on the Internet and a budget to buy provisions in local shops. Send them in alone (to the bakery, butcher etc - not to the hypermarket!) while you wait outside - so that they are forced to behave more maturely - and you get a break from hovering over them.

Also, why not profit from you DH being around to do some 1:1 time with your boys individually? They will obviously not bicker and shout so much individually, and it should carry through into solider relationships (=more effective discipline ime) all round.

TheGoddessBlossom Fri 26-Aug-11 07:29:22

Hi Scrappy - is it wrong of me to say I am glad it's not just me? grin

Am going with your theory right now actually, and DH is in bed. I thought he would fly out all guns blazing when he heard DS1 be pushed in the pool but he either didn't hear (impossible) or is choosing to let me deal with it (a new approach and one I prefer to be honest).

Yes you are right about expectations - hard not to expect to have a great time when all the trappings of an amazing holiday are right there but I guess with kids you just ake the hard work with you don't you?

ChippyMinton Fri 26-Aug-11 07:37:22

Sounds like they are bored. Mine are like this, until they find something to get involved in. You and DH can take it in turns, then sneak back to your sunbed once they are playing.

Try playing with them, or suggesting games for them to play in the pool.
Throwing them in yourself (in a nice way!)
Diving for 'rocks'
Making shapes as they jump in, marks out of ten for style, daring etc.
What's the time mr wolf
Get an inflatable each, or some water pistols.

Spitting would be a complete no-no, though and have SEVERE SANCTIONS.

TheGoddessBlossom Fri 26-Aug-11 09:10:57

Hi Chippy,

They have many inflatables.

I gave them some coins each to dive for in the pool, it turned into a massive row about who had the most.

I suggest lots of things for them to do/play and usually start them off myself.

They have puzzles, lego, books, colouring, DSs - and I sit and read to them and do colouring with them.

Thanks for all suggestions! Will persevere (obviously!) grin


ChippyMinton Fri 26-Aug-11 09:22:29

Oh dear. Selling them in the local market may well be the only answer wink

I find that if I tell mine that we are going shopping/sightseeing in an hour, they suddenly become very engrossed in enjoying themselves at home.

girlywhirly Fri 26-Aug-11 09:30:51

Good suggestions here. Imo you can't just expect DC to play nicely and entertain themselves on holiday. They don't have all their toys and stuff with them, they are in a villa with presumably no other DC around to play with, and I presume this choice of holiday was your DH's idea of heaven, a chance to lie there and sleep/read/relax.

This is why the DC like going to the beach, they are less cooped up, have the opportunity to play with other DC etc. This is why all these family holiday village resorts are so good for DC, there are kids clubs and activities and loads of other DC to play with, and parents can have some time to themselves each day. And also why families take grandparents with them on holiday, so that they all share the childcare.

If DH tries some of the activity suggestions from other posters and starts being a pro-active dad, he will still enjoy his holiday. I suspect that one of the reasons the boys are behaving this way is that they know he is not happy on this holiday because he just seems to want to be left alone. They want their dad and are doing their best to get his attention.

In your shoes, I'd be getting out of the villa every day as a family from now on.

youarekidding Fri 26-Aug-11 09:34:28

Nope sounds normal I'm afraid but doesn't make it any easier.

I went with a friend and our DC's 6,6,7 and her 12yo DSD to a caravan at the beginning of holiday.

What I noticed was that the children were doing these things to get a reaction. So we said no running -they would run (I add they weren't before we 'reminded' them of the rule'. hmm)

I took to sitting them down before we went out - say to pool. Asked 'what can we do at pool' - got lot's lovey positive suggestions including some great games. I then asked what did we need to remember not to do and why? running etc. I ended by saying if we played the games nicely we would all have fun but if they did x,y or z then we would have to leave as dangerous and no-one would have fun. Children this age just seem to forget what's been said and need to be reminded everytime!

RE arguing about having the most of something I went with sarcy. blush


DC1: I have more coins than you
DC2: That's not fair etc etc
ME: Don't know why you 2 are arguing as I have more money than both of you and won't be sharing it if you continuing arguing - I'll just buy me an ice cream, and I'll go alone as it's quieter.

Somehow it worked. confused

Bonsoir Fri 26-Aug-11 09:39:32

If your DSs bicker this much on holiday, why don't you go on a holiday where they will be separated and occupied in some kind of children's club or activity?

There isn't much you can do to force them to play nicely together if they don't want to. They sound bored.

youarekidding Fri 26-Aug-11 10:10:24

Love the thread title btw.

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