Exhausted referee needs advice/to vent - Put my 6 y.o. boys in separate rooms? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 06-06-2014, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Exhausted referee needs advice/to vent - Put my 6 y.o. boys in separate rooms?

Hello moms,

In just a few weeks we will be welcoming our new baby girl into the family. With my husband and 6 y.o. twin boys, our house has been a man's world for the past few years so I really excited this one is a girl. The thing is ever since we told our boys about the new baby, one of my sons has been really pushing the limits with what he can get away with. For the past week things have really gotten a lot better as a result of more praise for good behavior and I've given them more activities to make them feel like they are a part of welcoming their baby sister into the family. The behavior that is concerning me most is how he is treating his brother. While the behavior towards me and my husband has improved some as well as his attitude towards the new baby, he is starting to take things too far when it comes to how he treats his brother. Calling him names, pinching/hitting, not sharing, saying mean things, etc.I know the change in their relationship hurts my other sons feelings, but it also hurts my husband and I to witness it if that makes sense. I'm actually kind of shocked by this because, while they've definitely had their tiffs before, they've generally gotten along pretty well until now. Lately I've just been praising them for playing nicely (when they play nicely) and when things turn ugly, I try to either separate them or help them work together on something they both enjoy. I'm seriously considering putting them in separate rooms or at least giving it a test run. These past few weeks have just been totally exhausting for me physically and emotionally. My husband says this is normal stuff (he has brothers, but not a twin brother) but I'm not sure I should accept this behavior as typical sibling squabbles because its hurtful. I'm willing to try anything to get my boys to get along and not fight. This is especially important to me now because once I bring the baby home, I can't imagine having to deal w/ this too on a daily basis. Separate rooms sound necessary or no? This would also mean preparing another bedroom in the midst of finishing up the nursery. Maybe separate day camps this summer would be a good idea?
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#2 of 3 Old 06-07-2014, 09:27 AM
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How verbal are your boys with talking about things like this? I think a family meeting is in order. Not a top-down "do this or else" but one that listens to the boys, tells them about what's ahead, talk about the good behavior and the bad. Tell the boy that's been rough that you don't like his behavior and that you are thinking of giving them separate rooms. How would they feel about that?

I wouldn't just make this decision. If it's one they don't like, they are liable to blame this on the baby and that might get the opposite result than the one you want.

I have 2 girls (not twins) and I saw this behavior from my oldest. I also saw the cycle of misbehavior: get "scolded" (sometimes truly, sometimes just her view of it) for doing something to her little sister, blame it on the existence of little sister, get madder at little sister, bite little sister again because it's her fault. Repeat until mama is bald from pulling her hair out.

I like the idea of collaborating with the boys how to manage the baby and getting through what needs to be done. It puts them in a position of action, instead of the helpless receivers of that action. At 6yo, I wouldn't give them too much responsibility to make it feel like punishment, but perhaps some fun jobs like "burp-up alerter" and "stinky-poo notifier" and "little mama-'bot" that comes with his own remote control to fetch things for mama while she's nursing. How about a homemade robot hat that goes with it? (I'd make this entirely voluntary--"who wants to be mama's 'bot?? Come in with your hats if you do!" Or make it into a superhero who rescues mom or dad by bringing the burp cloth?)

Hopefully this gets you started. At 6yo, your boys are old enough to be included in some of the planning, and maybe even some of the decision making. Now that baby's coming, their roles are more important than ever

"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
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#3 of 3 Old 06-09-2014, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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The family meeting was a great idea SweetSilver! At first the boys had a hard time not speaking over each other. Then I whipped out the "talking pillow" and whoever was holding it got to speak and everyone else got to listen. Fortunately, they went with it. They essentially told me that sometimes they want separate rooms but mostly they want to stay together. After some thought, we decided we will eventually make the spare bedroom into a quiet place where they can go when they need space and want to be alone. I'm not sure if this will be helpful, but I think having a space other than their bedroom to hang out will be good. I then had a private talk with my son who is doing the teasing and told him that we don't like to see him in trouble and thats what happens when he intentionally hurts people. He didnt tell me much about what he is thinking/feeling, but it was nice to have a minute to connect with him alone. Despite a little tiff over who gets what color goggles for camp this morning, today has been a good day. Put them to bed two hours ago in the same room and (fingers crossed) no one has come out crying or complaining yet
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