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Can someone reminds me how to deal with two brothers who hit each other - The UP way (or How to talk etc..)?

(21 Posts)
Pitchounette Thu 20-Aug-09 10:51:12

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Pitchounette Thu 20-Aug-09 11:18:54

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Pitchounette Thu 20-Aug-09 16:18:28

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ABetaDad Thu 20-Aug-09 18:01:07

Right. We have DS1 (9) and DS2 (7) and hitting is forbidden and always has been. We do not do unconditonal parenting (I dont think?). This is what we do.

1. Boys need excercise and lots of it so they are not allowed to be in teh house niggling. They are put out or taken ut to run around, swim, excercise.

2. If niggling starts it usually starts slowly and there are keys signs and when we here tose intial warning signs we immediately step in and separate them. We send them to do some reading for example. That allows a cooling off period before being allowed to lay together again.

3. If DS1 hits his brother I step in and (as explained on another thread the other day) I challenge that behavior and ask him how he would feel if I had hit him. I have never hit him in his life and never will or even threaten to but he always responds that he would not like that. I do not need to say more or shout.

4. We never allow play fighting as it always escalates to real fighting.

It absolutey galls me to see parents tolerating 'boy behaviour' in the form of fighting and hitting siblings. You are right to be concerned and want to stop it.

However, our 2 DSs are very good friends now and just 2 yrs apart like yours are and are a joy to be with.

Pitchounette Thu 20-Aug-09 20:03:56

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popsycal Thu 20-Aug-09 20:05:59

watching with interest

ABetaDad Thu 20-Aug-09 20:50:08

Interesting about your DS1 trying to control DS2 in an imaginery game. Exactly the same flash point here.

We do not referee. We wait for the trigger words and then separate them. We do not settle arguements - that only leads to DS1 or DS2 using us as an appeal process. Basically we interven when one or other is about to lose / losing his temper. That is a precuror to fighting.

On play fighting. I know there has been academic studies suggesting that fathers play fight and play sport with sons (e.g kick about football in the garden) so that the man establises his dominant position in relation to sons and shows his sons how to control aggression. It is common across cultures apparently.

I have never done play fighting with DSs as I think it creates a mixed message on violence but do play football and minimal contact rugby with my sons in a very controlled way. I find that useful in giving them excercise, enjoying their company and teaching them self control. They are also starting Judo next month - again a sport very focussed on controlled aggression. However, self instigated play fighting between boys leads to inevitable real fighting in my experience so it is no no.

Pitchounette Fri 21-Aug-09 09:01:08

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dailymailIsPerfectAsaPoopScoop Fri 21-Aug-09 09:04:34

My words of wisom are that you must immediately remove yourself from the situation, eat a large bar of chocolate whilst posting on MN, allowing them enough time to kill eachother.

dailymailIsPerfectAsaPoopScoop Fri 21-Aug-09 09:05:24


belgo Fri 21-Aug-09 09:20:20

Very useful comments from ABetaDad. Interesting especially about not allowing play fighting as it escalates.

Agree about children of this age needing plenty of exercise - swimming, cycling, running, climbing, dancing - and I get my children doing this exercise mainly in the mornings - late afternoons and evening are for winding down and relaxing, otherwise they get too tired and hyped up before bedtime and that just leads to fighting.

As a mother of two girls, I keep their nails very very short and their hair short as well. Scratching and hair pulling are very painful.

belgo Fri 21-Aug-09 12:00:59

Oh and I never let them wear shoes in the house. Being kicked even accidentally during play fighting is less risky with a bare foot. (obviously the best solution is to stop them kicking each other in the first place, but failing that, damage limitation is the key).

Following ABetaDad's advice, I am trying to think of the key words that lead to fighting, and I think I can identify a few phrases.

ssd Fri 21-Aug-09 12:06:38

my 2 either fight like cat and dog or are the best of pals

seems quite normal to me

key words hmm get a grip

mustrunmore Fri 21-Aug-09 12:11:31

I often find myself secretly glad when ds1 gets his own back on his very annoying younger brother blush . But in the main, I have tolet them fight their own battles, so to speak, as if not, I'd just be the droning shouty Mum in the background and hve no effect. This way, trhey know that when I do nee dto get involved, its serious!

Pitchounette Fri 21-Aug-09 17:33:07

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piscesmoon Fri 21-Aug-09 17:55:08

I think that boys need playfighting. If you watch any young animals they do it all the time. I took mine to the zoo at around that age , they watched the baby bears playfighting and immediately started themselves! They love what I would call'rough and tumble' and at 6 and 4 would roll around the floor with their older brother (who was very good with them). I can't stand it, it seems to me very much a boy thing,but I thought it was my problem and would go out of the room and leave them to it-that sort was always amicable.

I didn't tolerate hitting as a way of getting their own way or an expression of being angry. I think I practice UP to a large degree, but I wouldn't waste time with it in that situation -it was quite simple-violence doesn't solve a problem, in the end you have to talk so you might as well do it at the start-hitting isn't allowed. If necessary I sent them off to do things in different rooms until they calmed down and were ready to talk about it.

ABetaDad Fri 21-Aug-09 18:19:39

Pitchounette - very interesting your observation about 'pack of wolves'. I do strongly agree that young humans behave in that way and establish pack pecking orders within a family

I wrote the other day on a thread about a family we know where the DS1 age 9 is extremely (and sneakily) violent to DS2. The DS1 insists on sitting where he wants at dinner and even displaces his father. The DS2 is very frightened and appeals to his mother for protection while DS1 is very disrespectful to her if she steps in to protect DS2.

It ties in what Piscesmoon said and agree again about rough and tumble play among young bears. However, I still strongly feel that 'play' fighting among boys is not actually play at all it is about physical domination of another and is not actualy 'needed' by boys.

I have also seen it among boys who play football unsupervised in the playgrond. It is a proxy for violence where actual fighting is formally forbidden. Kicking someone or pushing them to the floor whle 'playing' football is too often a form of undercover fighting that is tolerated by schools. I know one very good boys school that carefully supervises and limits the amount of playground football boys are allowed to play for this very reason.

I should ALSO say that girls do 'play fighting' in a different way that sorts out pecking orders and can be equally cruel.

piscesmoon Fri 21-Aug-09 18:30:52

I thought present studies had shown that boys have a hard time generally because they actually need the play fighting?
I know that when I had Beavers one of the male cub leaders played a game with them -I can't remember the name or the rules but it had very controlled play fighting, most of it was avoiding but every so often it gave them a very, very short physical contact-it was all under control and their eyes sparkled-they adored it!
As a female Beaver leader I was aware that I didn't give them enough, or any, opportunities. The night we made cardboard castles and bombarded each other with newspaper 'cannon balls' was a great success! I suppose that was the closest I got. I think that ideally they need a sort of 'Just William'type life!

grownupbabes Fri 21-Aug-09 18:44:29

Interesting thread. I have 2 DS now 19 and 16 and they still get at each other - and it's not like they are ASBO-type savages; one is at Oxbridge, the other doing A levels. ABetaDad is spot on with point 1 and it still applies as teenagers: ie we deal with it by having a gym membership. If they go and work out for a couple of hours a day, then peace reigns. If they have pent up energies... aaarrgghhhh. They recognise the need too and thrive on exercise and competitive sport. In the home, and I imagine at school as well, it makes the difference between sanity and despair.

Pitchounette Sat 22-Aug-09 15:04:06

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Pitchounette Sun 23-Aug-09 09:57:32

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