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DD reckons we're not strict enough with DS#2

(54 Posts)
OrmIrian Thu 22-Oct-09 11:48:41

Sorry to bleat about DS#2 again sad

Last night at my parents there was an incident when DS#2 pushed his sister over and made her drop her lego model so that it smashed. She was very upset (understandably) and had a go at DS#2 - ranted on at him for ages! We were in a bit of a hurry, it was raining and dark so I didn't say much to DS at the time intending to have a proper word later. Once we were in the car I told DS off - made him apologise. However DD cried all the way home.

When i was getting her into bed she had a right strop - told me that I was too soft on DS, that he was horrible, and that I must be stricter with him. She is also convinced that he pretends to do things that he can really do because he's 'lazy'. It's no good my telling her that DS#1 was the same at that age - all she can think of is that she wasn't and that DS#2 should be made to do things. She was very very angry.

Now I can see her POV. He is difficult. And without a doubt his behaviour impacts on all the family. But he is about to be referred to the SENCO as his new teacher has realised there is something not 'right' about his behaviour. And DH and I are run ragged by him and trying to cope with him. Being any 'stricter' would have to involve beating him with a big stick and shoving him in the cellar hmm

How do I deal with this. I can see that she feels shortchanged sometimes and although DS is cute he doesn't give a great deal in terms of affection - it tends to be one-way traffic. When he knocked DD over his first response was 'it wasnt my fault' not that he was sorry for what he's done.

She already tries to 'help' with DS#2 - mainly by bossing him about and shouting at him (which does no good btw). Can we bring her on board in some more positive way.

BTW DS#1 feels similarly - he admits he loses his temper with him (and always apologises afterwards as he knows it makes DS#2 worse) but his life is more outside the house than DD's is. It seems easier for him.

OrmIrian Thu 22-Oct-09 12:30:11

Any ideas?

MamaG Thu 22-Oct-09 12:34:59

It's bloody hard for you isn't it. I also have a 10yo DD and I know how emotional they can be. She does feel a bit short changed sometimes that DS1 "gets away" with things and that I'm easier on him as he's younger than her. I told her I was just as easy on her when SHE was that age but they can't remember it can they?

I don't really have anything constructive to say, but wanted to give some support! Could you (short term answer, I know) maybe have some time with DD alone? A meal out, a shopping trip, even a cake in a local cafe, just the two of you to give her a break? If DS2 is being referred to the SENCO, maybe they would ahve some suggestions?

silverfrog Thu 22-Oct-09 12:37:50

what are the ages involved?

when you say your ds2 is being referred on, what does the teacher think is "not right" about his behaviour?

is your dd old enough to be able to talk to her about the fact that ds2 is finding things (life!) difficult, and that he needs help to ge through?

my dd1 is ASD, and she gets a lto easier a ride because of it (on some things - basic discipline we try to uphold!) than dd2. dd1 is 5, and dd2 is 2.6, and it is already easier to get dd2 to behave and then have dd1 fall in line with that than it is to tell dd1 off, as her behaviour then just escalates. and dd2 knows that somethings, like dd1 pacing up and down at restaurants (not annoying other poeple btw, otherwise we stop her) are more acceptable as dd1 cannot sit still but that dd2 should sit down for a large part of the meal.

what are the strategies you use with ds2 that are more successful? can you take dd through the different scenarios and say "look, when we do this, ds2 behaves better, but when he is shouted at (maybe use ds1 shouting or you/dh getting annoyed as an example rather than dd) ds2 does it more/ignores/goes haywire" and see is she can see the pattern too?

on the things where she says he can do stuff but doesn't because he is lazy - is this true? do you sometimes back off or give too much help to him because it is easier? (not being critical, but it may be the case without you realising it). is there any way to divide up jobs.chores so that ds2 has stuff he is definitely capable of, or everyone helps out together?

zubin Thu 22-Oct-09 12:40:29

Poor you, my sister maintains that I had it easier than her when we were kids I think it's an eldest child thing, anyway I second spending some time with her alone, I only have 1 dc but my neice is the eldest and feels a bit hard done by at times with a younger brother and cousin to compete with and we try to do things to help her see the benefit of being the eldest (letting her sit in the front, giving her 1st choice of tv programmes, doing hair and make up things to make her feel special) - just small things really but it does seem to help.

OrmIrian Thu 22-Oct-09 12:43:58


mamag - that is the one thing I have always done with DD. Special times just her and I. But I ballsed up recently sad DD goes riding every other saturday and I used to take her and go and do some shopping and come back in time to watch the last 10mins of her lesson. Then we'd go for tea somewhere. I thought that maybe an activity like that would help DS too and arranged for him to go on the same day! Stupid but it's so hard to think of everything.

silverfrog -"on the things where she says he can do stuff but doesn't because he is lazy - is this true? " Yes it probably is. But TBH we feel as if we are fire-fighting atm. Everything is such a battle - so giving in on little things seems the only way to go.

I know it's not good but I find it hard to take parenting advice from a 10yr old no matter how much I love her.

silverfrog Thu 22-Oct-09 13:12:39

is your profile accurate? and ds2 is 6 and dd is 10?

I do think that is old enough for her to be able to take on board how to "handle" ds2, ie not bossing about and shouting. try to get her on board with your methods, whatever they are, and explain to her that everyhting will be easier if ds2 is more relaxed.

even without the Senco issues, he is still really quite young, and there is a world of difference between a 10 yr old and a 6 yr old.

what does dd get to do that ds2 doesn't? in terms of later bedtime/more responsibility/more time on computer etc? so that she can see some advantages to being the older one, as well as the (in her view) disadvantages of having to do more/have less help with jobs etc?

silverfrog Thu 22-Oct-09 13:15:57

oh, and I know the fire-fighting thing very well. I spend most of my time and energy ensuring that dd1 is happy, as otherwise life does not go to plan at all!

<am aware that this sounds as though the world revolves around dd1, but it doesn't, honestly. but if she is comfortable and has her needs met then I/dh/dd2 can mostly get on with what we want to do as well>

with regard to behaviour issues, have you thought about asking over on the SN board? there are loads of experts over there, and if you detail what the issues are (what triggers, how your ds2 complies/doesn't comply, how it mkaes your dd behave/feel) they may well have the answer wrt strategies etc to try

OrmIrian Thu 22-Oct-09 13:18:37

Yes silverfrog - it's accurate.

I don't know what she gets that DS doesn't sad Getting him to bed is such a nightmare that she doesn't even get to stay up later - although she is normally happy to go to bed by 8. She gets attention and love but probably not enough of the former. Maybe I should try to move DS's riding lesson.

It does look bad doesn't it? I just can't seem to see past the simply logistical task for coping with DS#2. On top of work and looking after house and family.

God it' a mess.

OrmIrian Thu 22-Oct-09 13:19:41

Thanks silverfrog - I will give that a go as soon as I can get my thoughts into a coherent pattern. ATM it's just a long scream of frustration and tiredness.

silverfrog Thu 22-Oct-09 13:25:52

is there something (relatively) simple that she would enjoy being your helper for? meal planning? do you have a garden? could she help there? planting stuff, maybe even plotting out what to grow?

could she help you with the cooking?

the other side is what does your ds1 get that she doesn't? maybe she is feeling well and truly in the middle - not old enough to have the bonuses that ds1 gets, but not he baby either? and she is laying it all at ds2's door because as a family you are struggling with ds2, so that's an easy target in a way.

It sounds really hard, and you have my sympathies. my two are much younger, and dd2 is always going to know that her sister needs allowances/different rules.

I do have 2 older step-children though, and have had to bite my tongue when for eg, my dsd feels put out that I help the baby more than her (and this would be over somemthing like not helping her make her bed and reading to dd2 instead - dsd is now 20! so gets little sympathy for that kind of attitude) and so I have a little of the "child" feeling put out due to others' needs issues.

BlueKangerooWonders Thu 22-Oct-09 13:29:30

FWIW, it would probably be the same with any situation, not just that you're 'not strict enough'.
My dd (nearly 9) occasionally has a melt-down, and top of her list of complaints is that it's not fair that she is the oldest and doesn't get me all to herself ever. Not entirely true, but enough for a big guilt trip for me.

I suspect that dd (only 3) will also try the 'it's not fair that I'm the youngest' and no doubt ds will one day work out that 'it's not fair that I'm the middle one'.

you just can't win sometimes.

OrmIrian Thu 22-Oct-09 14:11:26

bluekangaroo - that is true. DS~1 reckons he has it hard because he is older and had to do everything first. DD is the middle one and thinks DS#2's only purpose is to wind her up. DS#2 tells me he never gets what he wants hmm

frog - she does a lot of those things but often she doesn't actually want to. Until about 18m ago she was always busy with activities - we had to tell her she couldn't do anymore as we couldn't afford. But she let them all slide one by one. Which may be why DS gets too her so much more.

OrmIrian Fri 23-Oct-09 09:39:08

It all kicked off this morning sad DD was playing with her stable in the sitting room. DS#2 wanted to play with it too and she wouldn't let him. Then relented as long as he didn't move anythuing hmm He did - inevitably, and she went ape. Shouting and ranting at him. I was busy trying to get everything ready to leave the house as we were late for school. Then she kicked him on the leg (he was sitting on the floor). I kicked her foot, not hard, and said 'see how you like it' (childish I know) and she ran out into the kitchen sobbing. Wouldn't let me talk to her or explain or apologise. And I lost it and yelled at her about how selfish she was (not true) and how she had no idea how hard life was trying to work and look after the house and all 3 children without having to deal with DS~2's 'issues' and she was not in a position to critisise the way DH and I handled DS.... rant rant blush

So fucking stupid.

But I am on a very short fuse atm and near to tears much of the time.

We sort of made up but I worry that she will start to resent DS even more (and me).

I can't see anyway out of this atm. Just hoping that 2 weeks off will chill everyone out a bit. Well everyone apart from me of course - I get 3 measly days sad

silverfrog Fri 23-Oct-09 10:34:46

sounds exactly how I owuld ahve handled it at the moment too blush

I seem to arrive at school each morning and be the only parent hissing "just get into school and stop messing around" while carrying a screaming toddler under one arm and forcing on coats/jumpers blush

anyway, I digress...

is there a valid reason why dd woudl not let ds2 play with her? ie previous breakage/total disruption etc? It sounds quite controlling to me for her age, and without valid reason I would be talkign to her about how she brought about the whole scene - expecting her brother to play with her without moving anyhting is a bit hmm

if she does have good reason to be so insistent on non-involvement form ds2 - is there anywhere else she can play with her stable? if your ds is having issues with social behaviour (sorry if I'm barking up the wrong tree, not sure what your ds' issues are?) then expecting him to keep out of something he is very interested in is a non-starter tbh, and with your dd being the elder (and more in control of her behaviour) she needs to understand this.

I am assuming (other than general sibling wind-ups) ds2 wasn't particularly out to upset dd this morning? I know it is hard, but your dd does need to realise that whatever sisues your ds is having may be around for a long while yet, and so everyone's behaviour/understanding needs to change.

you are doing your best. that is all you can do. you are trying to understand your ds2, and have set in place actions to help you do so (referral to senco etc). but it is not just you who needs to understand. everyone has to - it really will make life easier for all.

have you tried giving dd some strategies to deal with ds2 when he is winding her up? the same as for parents of toddlers tbh - walk away, take deep breaths etc? have you tried talking to her about how she is inflaming the situation? if you really do think there are some (potentially far reaching) issues with your ds2, then dd needs to start seeing that he isn't doing it deliberatley, it is that he doesn't understand - would she have behaved in the same way if a 3 year old had doen as your ds2 did? if you ask her that she might be shocked at the thought - but if your ds2's understanding of situations is delayed, there is not much difference.

I hope things improve for you - when do you have the meeting with the senco?

Fennel Fri 23-Oct-09 10:41:45

I think it's totally reasonable for a 10yo not to want to include a 6yo in their game, 10 year olds can spend ages setting up something and it can be trashed in seconds by a younger child. Can dd play such games in her bedroom which is a sibling-free space? We have strict rules about bedrooms being private spaces and younger siblings and their friends can't go in and play.

My sympathies, though my dd3 is about the easiest 5yo ever, my 9yo dd1 spends a lot of time at my sister's house where she's the oldest of 5 and there's no private space, she finds it very hard with destructive younger cousins interfering in everything she tries to do.

I would keep agreeing with dd (not in front of ds2) that yes ds2's behaviour is bad, and keep reminding her that you ARE trying to deal with it and so is the school. Acknowledge her frustration, even if you can't solve the problem totally at the moment.

OrmIrian Fri 23-Oct-09 10:48:17

Thanks silverfrog. We have no meeting arranged as yet. Still early days - the teacher only mentioned the SENCO on Tuesday.

You are so right about my needing to take her aside and discuss it with her - calmly and sensibly. I am planning to take DS home after his lesson on Saturday, go back and pick DD up and take her out for tea and cake. That will be a good time.

yes she has her own room and normally plays up there but I don't want her to think she can't play elsewhere and she is confined to her room.

Problem is her attempts to cope with him stem I think from seeing how I am struggling and wanting to help. But it goes too far. And goes into revenge territory iyswim.

DS#2 is more than we can handle - all of us. We are in new territory and no-one knows the rules.

silverfrog Fri 23-Oct-09 11:02:18

you are right - this is uncharted territory, and none of you knows what to expect. it can be really unsettling for everyone.

but the thing to remember is that none of you has created this situation, either. it is no-one's fault. but it is what it is, and as a family you all need to find out how to move forward form here.

I do understand what you mean about wanting you dd to be able o play anywhere. but she is old enough to understand that if she chooses to play outside her room, where ds2 may want to be involved too, then she cannot shout at him for wanting to play.

I agree with fennel that it is important to acknowledge her frustration. maybe point out to her that you aren't "letting" ds2 get away with things - you are, presumably broadly using the same parenting that you used for dd and ds1? but if ds2 is strugglingt o understand the rules and boundaries, he cannot be blameed for that.

saintmaybe Fri 23-Oct-09 11:44:34

We have ds1, ds2 with asd and dd. They all have v different needs and abilities, and inevitably they aren't treated 'the same'; fairly, as much as poss, I hope, but not the same.

This is not avoidable; it's just how it is, and sometimes it can feel hard, especially to ds1, who has had to put up with a lot.

What I've found most helpful is to listen A LOT to him. Tbh he knows that we can't change how his brother is (lovely a lot of the time, but can be v challenging too). I do lots and lots of letting him vent without comment/ judgement/ pointing out the things he does have.

Also getting underneath the stuff he 'hates' to what he wants, and trying to find another way round. So in the eg. you gave, something like,'You'd really like the chance to play with your toy by yourself, without it being moved. How can we do that?' - so she comes up with the playing with thing in her room, rather than you 'banishing' her.

It's all that 'how to talk so kids..' stuff, really, you'd be surprised what solutions they come up with given the chance.

But I think it has to go hand-in-hand with being her able to say'it's not fair and I hate him' sometimes without you being angry/ sad/ scared of it. You have people, whether its a dp, or friends, or mn to talk to and vent sometimes, she might not.

But, honestly, the listening is the big thing, that they feel they're being heard and they matter.

Ds1 cuts ds2 a lot more slack than he used to.


stealthsquiggle Fri 23-Oct-09 11:54:50

Orm, I am not sure if this helps or not, but even without DS2's "challenging" behaviour, you would have this to some extent.

Neither of my DC have any specific ishooos, but they have the same age gap as your DD and DS2 and DS often feels (and says) that DD gets away with far too much. I don't honestly think she does, but I do have to go out of my way to make DS feel like the special one sometimes - not helped by the fact that he has zero self-confidence and DD has, if anything, too much and she winds him up just for the fun of it (she is just 3, he is almost 7 hmm)

I think what I am trying to say in a rambling way is that you would probably have these challenges no matter what DS2 was like. I am a middle child and also always felt like I got the worst deal, but my DBs will wax lyrical on how tough it was being the eldest/youngest grin

OrmIrian Fri 23-Oct-09 12:00:46

Thanks saint. I have wondered in the past if DS2 has Aspergers on some level. He seems to have a lot of the symptoms. But DH is very resistant to the idea for some reason.

DS#2's problems have exploded in the 6m or so and even more since he started Yr2, so we are reeling a bit. All of us. I know DD needs to be able to say what she feels - I feel bad now that I always try to calm her 'of course you don't hate him, I know he's hard work but surely you don't hate him' which is daft as words won't hurt him and it might make her better.


1. Talk to DD. Let her say it all and then I'll say what I need to say and we'll come to an arrangment. She's a sensible girl. More so than me I suspect.
2. See what the SENCO says and if that doesn't help I am wondering about the GP. Something has to change.
3. Bang DH's head against the wall until he realises that perhaps DS#2 isn't just badly behaved and difficult.
4. Run away and hide.

colditz Fri 23-Oct-09 12:01:09

Don't let your ds batter his way into her games. It is infuriating being the eldest of a group of 3 children when one of the others is badly behaved.

I don't really think you are in a position to critisize how she handles it, to be honest. At least you have some control over what happens in the house day to day - your DD has to live her life knowing that at any minute whatever she is doing is about to get ruined. If she doesn't let him play she runs the risk of being thought of as selfish by her parents, if she does let him play there is no way he will stick to the rules.

I cannot see a way out, Orm, because I wouldn't know what to do either, but do cut your DD a lot of slack, she must feel utterly besieged.

OrmIrian Fri 23-Oct-09 12:03:26

Colditz -she isn't the eldest. As I said earlier DS#1 is much more chilled about it all. Mostly I do keep DS#2 out of her games but on this occasion we were about to leave the house for school and we didn't have the time for a big showdown/row.

OrmIrian Fri 23-Oct-09 12:04:18

"At least you have some control over what happens in the house day to day"

You reckon ? wink

Takver Fri 23-Oct-09 12:08:00

Ormirian, I don't know if you find books helpful at all, but I've found this book - The Explosive Child helped us a lot when we were really struggling with our dd.
She's not at all as hard work as your ds sounds (her difficulties tend to cause her problems, rather than us IYKWIM), but other things that you've posted before have just sounded incredibly familiar.
Two things I found particularly useful, firstly, recognising the 'flashpoints' that always set dd off and working on what underlay them. But secondly, understanding that dd wasn't being like this to 'get at us' in some way, but that she was genuinely unable to deal with particular situations, and that it made her as miserable as it was making us.
(Don't be put off btw that the book is partly aimed at parents whose children have ADHD, there's masses of stuff in it which is much more widely relevant.)

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