SIBLING RIVALRY??? PERHAPS!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ME & THE BOYS, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. ME & THE BOYS

    ME & THE BOYS New Member

    HI THERE,

    I WONDERED (DO NOT KNOW FOR CERTAIN), IF THE FIGHTING, TORMENT AND TEASTING THAT GOES ON BETWEEN MY TWO BOYS IS SIBLING RIVALRY. IS IT THAT AND MY SONS ADHD/ODD THAT TAKE THINGS UP A NOTCH. AS I SAID, I DON'T KNOW.

    THIS HAS GOT TO BE JUST ABOUT THE WORST PART OF PARENTING I THINK. IT GOES ON AND ON AND ON AND ON. IT DOESN'T MATTER IF I TAKE THINGS AWAY, MAKE CHARTS, OFFER REWARDS, DO TIME OUTS,,,,. I HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING CONSTANTLY, EACH AT LENGTH, WHAT SEEMS FOREVER.

    MY SEVEN YEAR OLD SIMPLY TELLS HIS PSYCHIATRIST, "I DON'T LIKE HIM"..............HIS BROTHER THAT IS.

    DOES ANYONE HERE HAVE A BAD BAD, VERY VERY BAD CASE OF FIGHTING, TEASING, TORMENTING THAT GOES ON EVERYDAY FROM MORNING UNTIL NIGHT BETWEEN SMALL CHILDREN? HOW DO YOU COPE?

    I AM SO SO SO STRESSED OUT FROM THIS.

    I HAVE NO ONE TO MIND ONE, AND THEY ARE TOO SMALL TO LEAVE ONE AT HOME AND JUST TAKE THE OTHER OUT IN THE CAR, TO THE PARK,,, WHEN I HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

    I AM HATING PARENTING WHEN THEY ARE TOGETHER AND THEY ARE TOGETHER ALOT.

    PLEASE HELP!
     
  2. Oh, I hear you, lady. There is always something going on with my cubs. If I send them to their rooms for fighting, as soon as I let them out, they are looking for each other. They simply cannot stay away from each other. I roar, "Step away from the brother!" and "Leave your sister alone!" on a regular basis -- and one of the cubs is allegedly a easy child.

    There is a book I like called "Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too", by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Not magic by any means, but has a lot of good suggestions and gives you some insight as to WHY the cubs do what they do. The "collaborative problem solving" method in "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene can be used for solving "inter-cub" relations as well.

    I make it a point to never compare them to each other and to spend some time with each individually. I also explain that they have a special relationship that they will value someday. They will actually help each other sometimes and even defend each other once in a while, so there is hope.

    It's really hard to listen to it sometimes, so I sympathize with you. Good luck!
     
  3. ME & THE BOYS

    ME & THE BOYS New Member

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR REPLY.

    I HAVE READ BOTH BOOKS ACTUALLY. THEY SOUND SO PRACTICAL, BUT IN PRACTICE...........WELL..................

    WILL THE FIGHTING EVER STOP? I AM SO STRESSED OUT AND WORN OUT OVER THIS. NOTHING STOPS IT, UNLESS I PHYSICALLY PUT ONE IN A ROOM FOR A GIVEN PERIOD OF TIME. THEY ARE DRAWN TO EACHOTHER LIKE MAGNETS!

    THIS IS INSANE.

    OF COURSE, PARENT'S WHO DON'T HAVE ''THESE TYPE CHILDREN'', WILL MAKE COMMENTS THAT IT IS THE PARENTS/LACK OF PARENTING.
     
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Sounds like it's worse than sibling rivalry - more like sibble war.

    The age difference will be part of the problem. As they get older they will have less proportional age difference, but that doesn't help you NOW.

    You need to somehow break bad habits in them. Send them in different directions in as many ways as possible. If one of them plays piano, send the other one for trumpet lessons. If one plays baseball, get the other one do play tennis. And don't let them cross over to what the other one is doing, until the other one has moved on permanently from that activity.

    This means if they're both learning to swim, you need to make sure they learn in different pools with different instructors. They are not to cross the line that allows them to encroach on each other's space.

    Part of the problem - I suspect it's the older one - is having inappropriate expectations of the ability of the sibling. For example, part of difficult child 3's Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) means that he simply can't understand that tiny babies don't understand what he's saying. He expects them to answer him, also, and at his level. A year ago I was trying to occupy him in a surgeon's waiting room so I asked him to read a book to a rather restless baby (about 6 months old). Of course for the baby, having difficult child 3 make eye contact and talk was all he wanted - he had attention. And for difficult child 3, having someone who was happy to be read to was also a good thing. But difficult child 3 was showing the baby the pictures, asking the baby about the book with, "Can you see Spot hiding under the table?" and expecting an answer.

    If it had been a younger sibling, then soon difficult child 3 would have got angry at the lack of response, especially a response he wanted. I've heard of kids who longed for their baby brother to be born, expecting a playmate already kitted out for football, or baseball, able to play at the same level. They felt betrayed when the reality of the helpless, attention-grabbing noisy baby was presented to them. How can I play with THAT? Who said a baby brother would be great? He can't even use the toilet - yuk!

    I strongly suspect your older son simply doesn't understand that baby brother WILL get there, with support. Baby brother may idolise big brother and be upset at the lack of affection in return, and so is lashing out in response (due to the modelled bad behaviour).

    Inability to properly understand causes more anger and attacks out of fear and anxiety than just about anything else.

    I'd be getting them both to a psychologist who specialises in cognitive behaviour therapy and counselling. You need strategies as well.

    Out of curiosity, when was the MID diagnosed? Does he have any language delay (even mild)? Has his hearing been checked out? When did he reach the usual milestones? Walking? Talking? Crawling? Toilet-training? Feeding himself? What are his problem-solving skills like? Does he play with Lego? Is he good at it, or not? Does he draw pictures? Is he reading yet?

    With everything he seems to have, there is a chance that he simply was unable to complete the test properly for social or other reasons, rather than having MID. If it's been more than three years, I'd be considering getting him re-tested, certainly in another year or so. There can be many reasons for a child to score lower than average on a psychometric assessment. difficult child 3 'failed' his first IQ test and if we'd acted according to the advice we'd been given, it could have been a different outlook.

    Friends of ours were told their son was not very bright and was very naughty and disruptive. He WAS a handful - always making lots of noise, breaking things, ignoring people, the class clown - he turned out to have a bad case of glue ear. Behaviour improved once he could hear a bit better, which took another two years with him because the diagnosis had been delayed for so long. He's now in high school and doing well - wants to be a chef.

    There IS hope but I think you need some help from outside the family, you're too worn out to do much more on your own.

    Marg
     
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I have three children with mood issues -- basically anxiety and depression -- and the sibling rivalry here can get pretty intense when they are at their worst mood-wise. What has helped more than anything else is addressing their individual disorders with both medication and therapy. As their mood issues have improved, the sibling rivalry problems have lessened.

    What specific interventions are you pursuing with your difficult child? Are things getting better, worse or staying about the same?
     
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. Can you give an example of what sets Child A off? Does he hate when his brother gets in his space, not like being touched and overreacts to it, etc. Does he attack Child B when Child B is leaving him alone or does he bother him regardless? Does he go ballistic if his little bro changes something he has done? Just reaching here--has he ever seen a neuropsychologist for a more thorough evaluation? Is he getting school interventions to try to address his social skills? Do you feel he is a vicious kid or just very frustrated and angry? Has anyone ever suggested that maybe he has autistic traits? My son is on the Spectrum the variety of alphabet soup diagnoses you have for your son would send me flying to a neuropsychologist to see if the child is on the Spectrum or has some other Neurological issue or learning disabilities that are making him severely frustrated and inappropriate. Trying to shine a different light on this--maybe he's been misdiagnosed. I know my own son was misdiagnosed twice... and his first diagnoses were ADHD/ODD, cognitive disorder not otherwise specified, speech delay not otherwise specified, Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), etc. We had him in Occupational Therapist (OT), PT, and social skills by age two and it REALLY helped him. His true diagnosis was Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. At 14, we now see he is a kid with high functioning autism. Yes, he talks. He never DOESN'T talk! But his behavior problems are pretty much gone because of all the interventions he got, and, although he'll need a little help as an adult, he's a good person. This kid once raged with the very best, along with banging his head on the floor and wall, throwing his time-out chair at us, biting us, biting himself, and never sitting still or sleeping (so we didnt' sleep either). ADHD medications made him aggressive. Therapy--he didn't really understand it. He tends to answer questions in one word sentences. His IQ was tested at 75 at first. Guess what? His last IQ test was 107. These neurologically impaired kids can test in a deceptive way. I'd see a neuropsychologist to explore neurological problems/learning disabilities. Therapists and even psychiatrists tend to miss this stuff and focus on the behavior. If it's a naueological problem you need to approach your child in a totally different way, and a neuropsychologist can help. JMO. I wish you good luck!
     
  7. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Your boys are much closer in age than mine. My easy child was 12 when difficult child was born. Having all the issues difficult child has, we seemed to have over looked easy child. They fought unbelievable. Being 12 years older we had to be sure easy child didn't physically hurt him. He threw him off of himself once, causing difficult child to hit the doorknob and couldn't breathe. The ER doctor asked what happened and difficult child said his brother threw him. That caused an issue and easy child was talked to. Not by us!
    I remember times when I would be outside and difficult child would come flying out of the house...followed by easy child chasing him. Neighbors couldn't believe how they fought. difficult child was always doing something to tick off easy child, and easy child was so much older he really couldn't do much. He took it to a point and then exploded. When easy child went to college, difficult child was 5. It really hit difficult child hard. They have been best friends since. easy child takes difficult child everywhere. difficult child calls easy child almost daily (easy child lives out of town half the week). They are online talking or on the phone. easy child will take difficult child to festivals, concerts, golfing, fishing...everywhere. They talk about everything.(me) When difficult child gets upset he calls his brother. Never would of thought they would become so close.
    With your kids being close in age, I would just be sure to have the one on one time with each. We failed easy child in that area. Even just a walk alone with each one. Keep their interests seperate from each other so they feel they are special in that area. That is just my opinion. Maybe if they have seperate time with you they will become closer together. Just my opinion.
     
  8. Hey, lady! I wasn't trying to fob you off with a couple of books or minimize your problems. I know how hard it can be.

    You said: WILL THE FIGHTING EVER STOP? I AM SO STRESSED OUT AND WORN OUT OVER THIS. NOTHING STOPS IT, UNLESS I PHYSICALLY PUT ONE IN A ROOM FOR A GIVEN PERIOD OF TIME. THEY ARE DRAWN TO EACHOTHER LIKE MAGNETS!

    Just what mine would do. Yours are 7 and 4; mine are now 8 (almost 9) and 6, so the age differences are not too far off. It is better now than it was 2 years ago, so I do believe that there is hope. Will the fighting ever stop? Well... I doubt it will completely stop until one leaves home (that's how it was with me and my sister; we are good friends now), but relative peace can certainly be achieved.

    The problems I identified when my cubs were about your cubs' ages were these. First, the younger one did not know what to do with himself and truly could not amuse himself for more than a very few minutes. So, he was looking for big sister or parents. Big sister was usually not interested in playing with him as he was nowhere near her level of capability and therefore not "fun" in her opinion. Second, the older one was extremely jealous of the younger one. He got a lot of time and attention. She also felt he got away with things she didn't at his age and this was true. She simply was more capable of understanding so I did expect more out of her.

    As difficult child has gotten a little older, he can now play with his toys by himself a bit or watch a video for a while without looking for other humans. I have used the books I referenced early to talk with easy child about why she and her brother are treated differently. She is a smart girl and does see that what works with her doesn't work with him; she also sees that she gets additional privileges and treats that he doesn't because she does cooperate more and can be trusted.

    Two years ago, I did send them to their rooms a lot. Usually, it was not just one that was at fault. My sister (the easy child) used to like to provoke the difficult child (me) and watch me get in trouble because I'd lose it and start yelling or hitting. My easy child will do the same, so I am very mindful of this behavior. Young children have an acute sense of justice and are very upset when they are punished for something that is not entirely their fault while the other party goes free.

    I try to encourage them to cooperate in a variety of ways. They like videos (of course!) so I will say, You two can watch a video if you both agree on it or We will buy a container of ice cream if you agree on the flavor. It is interesting to watch them figure this out. I used to have to help a bit to make sure the younger one's interests were supported. Sometimes they got nothing at all because they wouldn't work together well and neither liked that. They have also learned to do what I call the "Simba and Nala" thing in Lion King where they ask for something, put their heads together, and say "Pleeeeeeeease?". I say things like, Well, when you work together, it's hard for me to say No, and will do things for a combined "Please" that neither cub will get on his or her own.

    When the problems get too much, I make a point to say that if they can't play nicely together, they can play by themselves in their rooms. I talk to each one and make each one say independently that they will work on getting along with the sibling better. Before releasing them back into the wild, I make sure that the original bone of contention is gone, if that's appropriate. For instance, easy child would do things like switch the video if difficult child was watching one and he'd become unglued. I figure that yes, he shouldn't have smacked her over it, but easy child was in the wrong and difficult child shouldn't lose his video for that. So he'll spend some time in his room to contemplate the concept that it's wrong to hit sister no matter what, but he does get his video back after. Not the case if they are both fighting over videos in the first place, if that makes sense to you.

    I tell them regularly that they will value the sibling relationship someday, that there will only be one other person in the world who understands some of the things they are talking about. I tell easy child that she will want him to move her furniture someday so it pays to be nice to him now because she understands the concept of wanting something in the future; her brother doesn't even understand "tomorrow" particularly well in my opinion. I tell difficult child that easy child is his blood and is to be valued and protected, not harmed; this appeals to him because he wants to be the big, strong man.

    So, first, time helped since they can both now anuse themselves independenly for a while. Second, strongly encouraging them to work together (yeah, some would call it bribery) helped them see each other as useful allies. Third, working with each one's individual motivators to see the other as something other than the enemy helped.

    And as for me, well, anti-depressants are a marvelous thing. Prayer and meditation are also good. Haven't tried yoga yet, but I bet that would be a good tool for me, too.

    Hope this was more useful than my first post. Good luck, lady.
     
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    My 3 are very close in age. As young kids our home could become a battle zone with the blink of an eye. For years it just seemed to esculate. There were times I felt more like a referee than a parent.

    Travis had major problems with personal boundries. He didn't/still doesn't get them. On a constant basis he was in his sisters personal space driving them crazy, or taking things he never thought to ask for. It started alot of the fighting. And no amount of punishment stopped Travis from doing it. He wasn't doing it to be mean. He wasn't even aware of doing it in the first place. :slap:

    Alot of their scuffles I let them hash out on their own. (I discovered eventually that letting them bring me into it was only making it much worse). I ONLY stepped in when the situation would get way out of control.

    Now that they're grown the sib rivalry is gone. Even Nichole and Travis manage to get along, which is nothing short of a miracle if you'd seen them during the teen years. *shudder* They even hang out together. lol

    Sounds like you have sib rivalry with gfgdom bumping it up a few notches. Not fun. But it does get better as they age. Although I know it sure doesn't seem like it from where you're standing right now.

    Hugs
     
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