Empathy for difficult child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by SmallTownMom, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. SmallTownMom

    SmallTownMom New Member

    I was hoping there was some advice out there that I can pout to good use. I feel that on most days my difficult child does very well, meaning we are able to somewhat control his surroundings and limit his outbursts and anxiety.

    What I am struggling with the most is my easy child has NO empathy toward his little brother. He acts like his brother is deliberately being difficult. I have talked to him a lot about the struggles my difficult child has, how to interact with him so that is doesn't agitate him, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.

    There are times that they get along great but my difficult child can have a mood change in a split second and want/need space, my easy child take offense to him not wanting to play and then a fight ensues!!!

    Any advice!!!!
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    JMO here... but I'm guessing that your "easy child" isn't a easy child. Younger one is probably more than ADHD, and older one likely has some ADHD traits - like, maybe, more what we used to call ADD, because it isn't as obvious.

    If so... (my home is like that... ) then it really is NOT an empathy problem.
    It's that there are are times when easy child can't handle distractions and disruptions.

    You need to work with the older one to figure out what the situations are where he needs to be uninterrupted, and then figure out ways that the right environment can be created so that difficult child and easy child can learn to respect each others' needs and boundaries.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi Lavender. I am several times your easy child's age and I still lack empathy for my difficult child at times... It's all rather hard, it has to be said. You probably have a key role to play in facilitating greater understanding and empathy... but to a degree kids wil be kids and no quarter will be given! I think it's okay, I think difficult child probably learns from that. He can't be handled with kid (excuse the pun) gloves all the time, with the best will in the world. Similar fights arise, of course, with almost all siblings...
  4. isis

    isis New Member

    It is difficult. The times when you, or your partner are able to do a great job being patient, along comes a sibling to fill in the gap and lash out at difficult child.
    I took my daughter to a therapist, just a couple of times, to talk about how difficult it is living with difficult child. Of course, she's a girl and doesn't mind talking, but I'm also going to take my younger son and see if he will do this too.
    She found it hugely helpful to talk to an adult that is not one of us, and frankly, to have the opportunity to just *****. The therapist gave her all sorts of ideas about ways to handle her frustration, she said she was game but never does any of them. But its OK, because she felt heard, we acknowledged that it is hard to be difficult children sibling. I believe her ability to empathize went up.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Do you think if you told her that because she doesn't seem to have enough patience, she is not allowed to play with-her little brother for a whole day, and she might want to play with-him more nicely the next day? Sort of like reverse psychology. Or does his freaking out agitate her so much that it wouldn't matter?
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Twelve year old boys are on the cusp of teenage angst. It has been my experience that boys that age (and often girls, too) are very self absorbed and concerned about how they appear to the world. Having a sibling just a few years younger who is behaving in an "embarrassing" way is likely a major stressor. Plus, as we all know, difficult child's are stressful to parents, peers and other adults. I understand your concern but my guess is that you'll just have to orchestrate their times together to the best of your abiity...and, of course, draw a line in the sand that aggression and emotionally abusive behaviors will not be tolerated. Fingers crossed that things improve soon. Hugs DDD