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Today I shouted so loudly at DS (5.1) I made him cry and I don't feel particularly guilty but come and tell me how I could have done it better for future reference please

(17 Posts)
eekamoose Sat 01-Nov-08 17:34:06

He was telling DD 7.9 that she has a fat tummy and a fat bum-bum.

This has been going on for weeks if not months. I have got down on my knees in front of him and looked him in the eye and said very seriously that DD is not fat and that it is an unkind thing to say and that really, seriously, I do not want him to say that to her. I have done this many many times.

Today, when he did it again, I just had a flash-of-white-light-type fury and grabbed him by the top of the arms and shouted hard into his face that he was NEVER EVER to say that to her again.

I doubt very much he will, so I believe it worked. I don't feel all that guilty, but I'd like to know how I could have handled it better.

TIA.

eekamoose Sat 01-Nov-08 17:54:51

Hopeful bump. You see I do feel a little bit guilty and I really would like ideas on handling this sort of thing better.

bellavita Sat 01-Nov-08 17:56:37

I am not sure, I would have probably done the same in your shoes tbh blush

Acinonyx Sat 01-Nov-08 18:03:51

Hopefully someone will come along with an expert solution - but I think I woulld have done the same. Dd (3) is a bit chunky and I am pretty anxious about her body image once she starts school.

LittleWhizzingBella Sat 01-Nov-08 18:10:12

OK when my kids start winding each other up, I threaten them with either a toy being taken away or nowadays what is more effective (because they have 500 toys anyway) is a threat that they will not be allowed to watch TV. 10 minutes off screen time for each time they wind up. It works like a charm

Wouldn't get so visibly angry with him tbh, it might make your DD even more paranoid if she senses that you're that worried about it.

peanutbutterkid Sat 01-Nov-08 18:27:17

I have a problem with name calling, too.
I fine the older ones 10p pocket money for each incident (I keep a list).
This doesn't really work!
Okay, it probably does work, a little, in that it stops them once they have started.
It does not work with the 4yo, though, who is the worst name-caller of all ("Shut up you fat face!") is his current favourite.
(None of DC are actually fat, but the problem is the name-calling at all, not whether it's based in reality).

Limiting computer time would not really work, either, as we already have lots of conditions on computer (telly) time, and any more conditions might make it impossible for them to get any telly time.

Enforced apologies and making them to go room/sit on stairs until they apologise does seem to curtail the name-calling, a little, at least, with the 4yo.

I don't like threatening to take toys off them, because my parenting is too based on threats -- alas, reasoning with them doesn't work, either, ime.

So will be intrested what else people do that might work for them.

eekamoose Sat 01-Nov-08 18:28:18

DD not fat. But she is becoming alarmingly body conscious and I am more petrified of anorexia than drink and drugs as a potential threat in her future. Statistically she is more likely to die of an eating disorder than either of the others.

Poor little DS does not know this, and neither does DD of course. But it is a really BIG DEAL and somehow I had to get that across. You pick your battles, don't you, and this is something I felt I had to battle about but it makes me very sad sad sad sad sad

colander Sat 01-Nov-08 18:45:09

I would probably have done the same too.
We use sending to a room a lot (usually the study as there is nothing for them to do in there and therefore boring), but I do my fair share of shouting too blush

LadyLauraStandish Sat 01-Nov-08 18:50:04

Actually I would have done the same thing too - in fact, I did something similar to ds1 yesterday before sending him to his room. So no help but I understand where you're coming from.

LittleWhizzingBella Sat 01-Nov-08 18:53:42

Hmm, it's a bit of a difficult one isn't it, my DD is 6 and is also quite body conscious (actually so is my DS 9 and I think it's not just the meeja, it's also to do with the Healthy Schools Agenda and the crap way it tends to be handled in some schools). My DS does this to DD sometimes and I tend to treat it as being just another idiotic insult, no more significant than any other insult he throws at her, like stupid or smelly. I don't want them to think that the fat insult is particularly powerful in case that feeds into potential body anxiety. Also don't want DS to have the power to wind either me or his sister up by honing in on sth he knows will get a really good reaction.

You are right, eating disorders are a big deal, I'll be watching this thread with interest because I'm not sure if my approach is good or not tbh.

Doodle2U Sat 01-Nov-08 18:55:30

I think the fact that you have said him NOT to call her fat, many, many times, has given him a delicious, sure-fire way to grab your attention. He's got one of your hot buttons and he's pressing it!

I'd throttle back a bit on trying to re-inforce this message because it's having the exact opposite effect to the one you want!

policywonk Sat 01-Nov-08 19:17:02

I sympathise with your anxiety about the body image issues (and with your guilt about shouting blush). But it sounds as though you've managed to do the opposite of what you want - you've placed huge significance on the matter of whether or not your DD is perceieved as fat. What you need to do, from your DD's POV as well as your DS's behaviour, is try to appear to be more relaxed about it - easier said than done, I know.

I'm sure it's very, very annoying, but if you can appear to find the whole thing very boring and unworthy of your attention, he'll stop doing it (and find something else that bugs you).

I'd place the emphasis on the rudeness, not the actual nature of the insult - just say 'we don't call people names, it's rude and hurtful', and then naughty step/time out in bedroom/piece out of pasta jar or whatever if he persists.

eekamoose Sat 01-Nov-08 20:07:42

Exactly what I was worried about PolicyW.

That by making a big issue of it, I was making A BIG ISSUE OF IT!!!! iyswim.

And yet, it is a big issue, if you have a girl. It really is.

I don't know how much longer I was supposed to go on ignoring DS's comments to DD for.

That was the parental dilemma I was caught up in.

Stefka Sat 01-Nov-08 20:16:49

That is a very horrible situation. I don't have any advice because my DS is only 1 so not at that stage yet. I have however struggled with an ED for years and would have loved a mum who was as protective about that issue as you are.

peanutbutterkid Sat 01-Nov-08 20:18:57

I dunno, eekamoose, I think maybe you're making too much an issue out of it.

I have 1 dd (also 7) and 2 boys. Being called 'fatface' does not mean DD is fat. DD has come out with a few weird statements about not wanting to be fat, and I just agreed it's not fun to be too big or too skinny.

I used to have an eating disorder myself, but for me that was about control issues (fear of growing up), not to do with real aspects of appearances. That's why I feel confident that being completely factual is a good way to go with DD. "If your brother called you a piece of cheese, would you actually be one?" I could ask DD, to prove my point that name-calling is just mean-ness, not stating truths.

policywonk Sat 01-Nov-08 20:26:28

I do see your dilemma, and understand why you're concerned about it.

But I also think that you might have more success by emphasising the rudeness itself as the problematic thing, not the specific 'fat' insult.

I know from bitter experience that sometimes kids will pick up on whatever it is that winds you up the most, and will play insistently on it - almost certainly without realising that that's what they're doing. DS1 does this with me - he's a sensitive soul and at some level he knows when issues have a big emotional punch for me, and those are often the things that his 'bad' behaviour will centre around.

I'm gradually learning that it's better to cut him a bit of slack about what seems to me to be awful behaviour, than to go barmy with anger and irritation and thereby reinforce the exact behaviour that I'm trying to eradicate.

But I really do understand that it's horribly difficult and frustrating.

LittleWhizzingBella Sat 01-Nov-08 20:26:46

You don't have to ignore your DS's comments.

You can still have sanctions against him becuse he is winding up his sister, it's the winding up he's being punished for, not the nature of the comment. The nature of the comment is irrelevant, it's the fact that he's being nasty to his sister that's important. If you emphasise that bit all the time, you won't be making a big deal of it imo.

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