I mentioned briefly in J’s last update that we are having a few problems with J’s behaviour towards his brother, which is really getting me down lately. I really don’t know where to start to be honest.
He started a couple of months ago, which thinking about it is coincidentally around the same time as N started moving about a lot more so requiring much more of my attention, meaning J getting a little less so most likely getting jealous.
First he started with smacking him on his head, then he started pushing him backwards when he was just sat there minding his own business. He’s thrown things at him; soft toys, hard toys. When he’s been laid down with me changing his nappy, he’s even kicked him or stamped on his head – I feel so bloody ashamed saying that.
I got to the point where I just thought – especially by other people’s reactions – what have I done wrong with him, how have I managed to make him behave like this, is it all my fault because I haven’t done the right things with him? I was starting to hate him; that is so hard to write, but he honestly felt like a devil child. I lost count of the number of times a day it would happen. I would be in tears every. single. day. Numerous times. I lost count of that, too.
It absolutely breaks my heart to watch. To watch my eldest son doing these things to his baby brother. To watch my baby crying his heart out because his brother just decides he wants to hurt him. Absolutely, indescribably heartbreaking.
We have tried various methods of disciplining him. Telling him a firm ‘no, it’s naughty/it hurts’; removing him from the situation and giving comfort to N; it became so overwhelming that I would really raise my voice at him and shout too – not the best thing to do, I know; removing the toy that he used to hit. None of these worked, he would just go back a few minutes later and do it again and laugh at us.
We finally came to the decision to introduce the naughty step. (I joined the bad parenting club, shoot me now if you must). As soon as he has smacked/pushed etc. then he is told to get on the step, for two minutes. Using the step for this behaviour has made it become much less, though he does still do it so we just need to keep working on it and hope he grows out of it (soon). The problem now is that when he’s on the step, sometimes he’s still defiant and will repeatedly try getting off and still laugh at us. He does know when he’s done wrong though as sometimes he will go straight to the step as soon as I look at him.
I don’t even know how to finish this post either. I am just at a complete loss right now with what seems like no end in sight.
Have you had problems with sibling jealousy/rivalry and how did you deal with it?