need a strategy for helping my almost-9-yr-old to be nicer to his brother - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-25-2012, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So far we have done only very, and I mean *very* gentle discipline.  We have never used a punishment of any kind, and we don't want to.  But a few minutes ago my husband threatened to punish him!  He was just being generally rude and cranky and snipey at his 3 1/2 year old brother *again* and dh said if he didn't change his attitude he was going to have to go into his room!  yikes.gif  Actually I'm not sure it would technically be a punishment so much as a way to protect the little guy.  

 

But anyhow, I'd say that this cranky rude thing has been happening for as long as a year now and becoming an increasingly big part of his personality.  I'm worried that it'll be some kind of an ingrained habit and he won't be nice anymore if we don't turn it around soon.  The attitude is almost exclusively aimed at me, dh, and ds2 and is most prominent when we're home.  Ds has always been one of those well-behaved rule followers when we're out or he's at school or someone else's house.  People are amazed to hear that he can be at all difficult.  But there are days, it seems, when he's just not nice, like almost all day (or evening as usually we're out for at least part of the day and often most of the day).  

 

One thing I wonder about is if it could be mostly about him being exhausted.  Durning the school year, it seems like there's just too much for him to do and no time for lying around and rest and enough sleep.  That's actually going to get worse this coming year because he's changing schools and we're going to have to be out of the house 45 minutes earlier in the morning, which feels pretty significant to me.  His bedtime is nine and I can't imagine it being earlier.  Two days a week we don't even get home from karate until 6:30 and then if he's got homework...  

 

But I'm wondering how to make it stop.  Part of me feels like doing a zero tolerance thing, like if you can't be civil then you can't be out here with us (go to your room!) and we're just not going to allow you to treat us this way.  OTOH, I can't quite see how you can have zero tolerance against moodiness.  And his brother can actually be pretty trying at times.  And I think it is normal and natural to be acting like a lot of what we say is moronic.  lol

 

I think I am willing to send him to his room if we need to, not as a punishment but because the rest of us need to be able to be in our home without being attacked.  But I'm not sure how much farther beyond that I'd be willing to go.  I suppose if someone had something that really worked, I might consider it.  But I'm wondering if anything ever actually works with this kind of problem, or if we're just going to have to wait for him to turn 30.


Jayne, sewing up a storm mama to ds1 9/03, ds2 2/09, and 2 sweet furbabies.

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#2 of 5 Old 08-25-2012, 10:56 PM
 
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I think its pretty common for children who hold it together so very well every other place in their lives to let loose when they are in the safety of their homes. Its hard to be consistently polite and obedient, and I imagine the pressure builds up a bit and then comes out in the place where he feels most safe.

 

I think you have a good idea about looking at his schedule.

 

3.5 year olds are amazingly annoying to children about 6 to 10. A little bit older, and they can write it off to the younger child's age, even laugh about it a bit, or remove themselves when they are getting too frustrated. But until that point, its really hard to them to grasp the concept of developmental stages. I'm seeing this in my daughter right now, who is almost 8, with the 4 year old across the street. They are good for about an hour, and then she starts getting more and more irritable, because he just doesn't behave like children her age "should" behave, and she isn't able to fully get that she was like him when she was younger.

 

Anyway, I think before considering a punishment like exclusionary time-out, it might be a good idea to set aside an hour or 30 minutes each day where one parent spends one-on-one time with him, without his little brother, without the parent leaving to take care of the little brother, and without any "preaching" about being nice to his little brother. Its his sacred time. The other parent's job is to either have their own one-on-one time with the younger child or at least make sure the little one doesn't intrude on the other two. This way he will have the opportunity to vent his frustrations about having a younger brother as well as enhance the connection between the two of you, so that at other times when you do have to correct him, it will be easier for him to accept.

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#3 of 5 Old 08-26-2012, 05:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post


Anyway, I think before considering a punishment like exclusionary time-out, it might be a good idea to set aside an hour or 30 minutes each day where one parent spends one-on-one time with him, without his little brother, without the parent leaving to take care of the little brother, and without any "preaching" about being nice to his little brother. Its his sacred time. The other parent's job is to either have their own one-on-one time with the younger child or at least make sure the little one doesn't intrude on the other two. This way he will have the opportunity to vent his frustrations about having a younger brother as well as enhance the connection between the two of you, so that at other times when you do have to correct him, it will be easier for him to accept.

 

 

This is very good advice, me thinks. thumb.gif

 

My son is now 11 YO. He is an only, but he has no less than 15 first-cousins, ranging from 1 year to 18 years in age. NOW he can more or less

accept that 3-4 year olds are annoying, without being annoyed by it, if you understand what I mean. 2 years ago? Not so much. It drove him craaazy!

 

If you still feel the need to take him away from the common areas when he gets cranky, maybe you can go with him? Maybe make it a habbit that you take him with you to another room, to HIS room and just shut the world out for a little while? Make him understand that you understand his side of things, but at the same time make it clear that it isn`t ok to say/do those things when around other people?

 

One last thing: I also think being exhausted plays a role in this. Definitely. Is there any way to calm down his everyday life somewhat? I know from my own son, that during the schoolyear, he can`t have too many other things going on. It just doesn`t work. H gets exhausted, and thus cranky, sad and angry..

 

 

Good luck! hug2.gif


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#4 of 5 Old 08-26-2012, 09:19 AM
 
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When our 11-year-old starts to get crabby/cranky/annoyed by everything/everyone, I ask her to either be more pleasant or go take a break in her room. I tell her it is okay to be tired or feel annoyed by others, but you still have to respect other peoples feelings.  I also try to model this when I am tired and crabby, with varying degrees of success! :)

 

I don't see this as a punishment because she generally is in there reading/writing/relaxing and she tends to enjoy it. 

 

I am not hard-core no punishment (nor am I against that stance), so take this for what is worth of course :)

 

I also like the idea of making sure that he gets some one-on-one quiet time on a regular basis.  I'm sure he would enjoy playing a game, reading together, or taking a quiet walk or whatever knowing that you will not be interrupted by the younger sibling and maybe this would help him to become more tolerant at other times. 


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#5 of 5 Old 08-27-2012, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, mamas!  Even though I know it's normal, it's nice to hear it from others.  Its so true that his brother is annoying.  lol  He's wonderful, but frequently pretty annoying and I agree that ds1 is at an age that makes it harder to deal with.  

 

We do do some separate time with ds1, but more my husband than me.  I get left here with ds2, you know how it goes.  But I do think we should work on more.  And maybe more with me.  The last time I did something really special just the two of us was ages ago  --  I took him to see stomp!  --  but really nice for both of us.  

 

As for his schedule, I'm so frustrated by it.  I feel like full time school is too much for him, maybe all kids this age.  Mostly I think they want him there too early in the morning.  I think he could handle being there from noon to 6:30 fine.  He has karate monday and wednesday afternoons and he's always too tired for it, but he ends up having a great time.  He gets a lot out of it and he's very good at it.  Other than that, though, I think we may have to shoot for more restful evenings.  Dh likes to take them to the playground or the park for an hour before bed, and maybe that should be more of a weekend thing.  

 

He actually has been a little better the last couple of days.  And yesterday they had a really nice hour or so roughhousing together.  


Jayne, sewing up a storm mama to ds1 9/03, ds2 2/09, and 2 sweet furbabies.

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