Parenting fail or just life as we know it?
Recently I have been asking myself this question virtually everyday.
I have two boys, one aged 13 and the other is 11.
THEY DO NOT GET ON.
In essence they are very, very different personalities, which I think is great. They like different things but also like some similar things too. So why can’t they get along together?
I truly do not know.
Now, I don’t just mean a bit of sibling rivalry, or fighting one minute and then friends the next. NO they are never friends. EVER.
My youngest is a very loud and outgoing character. He has a lot of personality and loves to be centre of attention. My eldest is quieter, more mellow generally and tends to go with the flow, until it involves his brother.
But it is starting to affect the family dynamics.
A family day at home or out is just horrendous. We know it will end in tears, namely ours. It seems as a family we cannot simply enjoy time together, just chatting, laughing and having a joke. My eldest can get very stressed by the whole thing.
At the moment our family life is generally our boys taking themselves off to their separate rooms and shutting their doors to be away from each other.
As parents we try to be fair with their disputes. However, we have noticed more and more that it generally stems from our youngest. He makes fun of his older brother and although we all have jokes at each others expense, his delve into what we believe to be bullying.
Whenever my eldest says anything, and I mean anything, he will be sneered at, or laughed at or belittled as though what he says has no relevance.
We have approached our youngest and explained how he is behaving.
What makes it worse is that our oldest has very mild Asperger traits ( not fully diagnosed, but noticeable). Again we have tried explaining this to our youngest and have used some books to show him how his brother thinks.
IT DIDN’T WORK. IN FACT IT MADE IT WORSE.
Now, I know you will all be thinking he must be attention seeking. However, he gets a lot more time devoted to him on a 1 to 1 basis because of his acting. I am always with him for auditions and shows. Everything tends to revolve around what he is doing, our Christmas this year was dominated by the fact he was acting in Panto everyday of the holidays.
So I need help. Where are we as parents going wrong?
I cannot see any other reason for it other than our total parent fail!
We try everything, we take things, such as, Ipods and TV away. There have been times were we have stopped him going to a party or to friends if he has been particularly bad. We also stand by our word and if we threaten something, and we ALWAYS carry it through. So you would think he would get the message.
Our main concern is how he treats his brother.
SO I will ask again. Is it A PARENTING FAIL, or just life as we know it?
Where do we go from here?
It’s quite depressing, for everyone apart from my youngest son.
10 thoughts on “Parenting fail or just life as we know it?”
Sounds like something that happens at our house except its the one with Aspergers doing the sneering and in this case (hitting to the younger sibling) I really don’t know what to suggest, I often get advised to ignore as planned ignoring works, however we can’t always do this because of the violence. If the younger isn’t being violent could this work? It will be hard trying to get the older boy to ignore especially with his Aspergers traits, but I often tell little man to stick his ear phones from his mp3 player in his ears if it is the younger sibling doing the tormenting. Sorry I’ve only just responded… Little man being a handful as perusal.
Hi Claire thanks for the advice! Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply but my blog has been offline until now 🙁 The headphones thing may work- although I really want the youngest to know he cannot treat people like that! 🙂
This really was a good read, although excruciating as haven’t we all been through something similar?
The thing that worked for me was to find children’s REAL currency. A privilege or item taken away that would definitely make them think before embarking on the same behaviour. With my daughter it is her mobile phone. (Like Oxygen). With my son it would be banning him from the kitchen. (He LOVES to cook and is probably a potential chef.)
Up until then I had been denying obvious things I thought were important to them.
With your son it sounds as though shutting the door to his acting activity might give cause for pause the next he goes to bait his brother.
Just a suggestion. But I have found that once you find what really matters to them they start to listen to what matters to others around them.
Best of luck with a solution or while you wait it out for them to outgrow it.
Your post (and pain) brought back a lot of memories. Very well written.
HerMelness Speaks – thank you so much for the comment and advice. We have banned phone and Tv but next on the agenda we agreed would be the acting opportunities! He does know from experience as we always carry our threats through. Fingers crossed and copious amounts of wine may help LOL 🙂
I naively thought that having a 7 year gap would be all sweetness and kissing. Two boys. How wrong I was. My eldest is now 12 and he constantly baits the little one. I suspect he feels that the wee one gets the attention, but what he gets is just help as he’s not yet 5.
The wee one doesn’t understand why he can’t do/have what a 12 yr old has.
When they DO ‘play’ it’s always fighting, and wee man is always screaming or hurt.
The only thing which seems to work is to give them something which they can enjoy at the same time. A video game, a LEGO build. Anything. Trying to get an older boy to play WITH rather than AGAINST his brother is a nightmare.
Not a parent fail, just a fact of life.
http://saveeverystep.wordpress.com – family stories past and present
Hi Helen, thanks for commenting. It’s nice to know I am not alone and it happens with a large agegap too! Thankfully my two are not ‘physical’ but it’s still not easy to deal with. Thanks for the advice 🙂
I am an only child and I only have one child (at the moment) so I don’t have direct personal experience to offer you but I do know that sometimes siblings just don’t get on. They learn to tolerate each other as they grow up and sometimes due to circumstances they end up growing closer. I think it sounds like you are doing a great job so don’t beat yourself up. Give them space, respect, fairness and a listening ear and you won’t go far wrong. x
Hi Claire- thanks for popping over, it’s hard not to think your doing or have done something wrong! I so hope they enjoy each others company as they get older 🙂
This is so tough! My two older brothers(very strong and athletic) were breaking each other’s bones growing up, but they did not hate each other really. My husband’s brother(15 months apart), was so difficult for the family, that his parents sent him to military school. I think you have to find just the right consequence for bad behavior, that really pushes the right buttons. Don’t feel bad though. I think brothers tend to do this, and then they are always close when they’re older. I wish you the best, and really enjoyed stopping by from Reflexions!
Courtney~Mommy LaDy Club- thanks for the comment and the advice. I really hope your right and they become friends as they get older!! Appreciate you popping over 🙂