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attention seeking twin

(8 Posts)
Moira18 Tue 19-Jul-11 14:13:11

I have 4 year old twin grandsons, who like most children have their differences etc. However the elder of the two is becoming a bit difficult. On the odd occassion he has soiled himself, even when he has been asked if he needs the toilet. He sometimes hits his brother (they both do it on occassion) but when you tell him it is naughty he says he likes being naughty. From my time of bringing up my own children I think he is just wanting attention, but can't figure out why. He won't dress himself because he says he cant, same with putting on his shoes, all of which he is more than capable of doing. Most of the time he is a very loving and happy wee boy. At the back end of last year his mother had a couple of bouts of a serious illness and is not yet 100% and she sometimes finds his behaviour difficult to cope with.
I don't want his parents to think I am a know all Nana, but I feel that giving him a row especially over the soiling, may just make matters worse, but I would just like some other grans' views before I speak to them.

Amber Tue 19-Jul-11 14:38:41

I think you are quite right to think he is trying to seek attention, but he could be frightened by his mothers illness which often makes children feel insecure,
A couple of years ago my DIL was very ill (with HUS) she was not expected to pull through, my son spent most days sitting with her in the hospital, so it was left to us two Nans to look after their two daughters, the younger one didn't really have a clue what was happening, Daddy had told her she must be good for her nan whichever one was looking after her that day so she was, the older one knew something was wrong but nobody would tell her how bad it was, so in her imagination she was convinced her mum was going to die and we were all stopping her from being with her mum, things came to a head one day on the way home from school, she shouted at me and was very rude, I told her nice little girls didn't behave like that, and only nice little girls got what they wanted. When we got back to thier home she rushed to her room and stayed there for about an hour, later she crept down the stairs, came to me and said if I am naughty is my mummy going to die? I then told her that although mummy was very poorly she was not going to die, her daddy and her two nannies would not allow that, and kept my fingers very tightly crossed, she was a different child from then on, it was the fear of losing her mum that had made her naughty.
Sorry to be long winded Moira, hope this helps.

ps her Mum is fine now

JessM Tue 19-Jul-11 14:45:22

Take a deep breath m'dear. (oh - on the other hand don't if there is poo in his pants) Telling him off about soiling is not a good idea - if you thought it was you would not be talking to us about it.
He is obviously asserting his individuality and competing for attention using the only means he has at hand.
I expect he is succeeding in getting more than his fair share of attention as a result of these behaviours. Any kind of attention is a win!
If there mother was ill then inevitably there will have been a withdrawal of attention from her at that point. A 3-4 year old will probably want to win back his mothers attention.
Are they identical twins? To what extent are they treated as individuals and to what extent as "the twins" ?
Any gran's of twins out there? (apart from Carbon - hers are only a few days old!)

Moira18 Tue 19-Jul-11 15:27:01

Hi Jess. No they are not identical twins they could not be more different. As matter of fact they are not referred to as twins because their parents want them to be individuals. They both went through a rough patch when mum was ill but seemed to have gotten over it. They are quite happy to stay with me till mummy goes to work one day a week, as long as they
know where she is.
They both get the same amount of attention from their parents and grandparents alike, they go to nursery 5 days a week and have lots of wee friends, I just can't think what has come over him. It may be just a phase he is going through, that hopefully will not last too long. I sometimes think I worry about them more than I did, when my sons were small. I know that all children are special, but these two are very very special to me

Moira18 Tue 19-Jul-11 15:32:07

Hi Amber thank you also for your post, It is good to get other gran's views on the subject. I am so glad I discovered the gransnet website. My husband passed away before the boys were born, so I really have no one to express my concerns with, if I mention it to my youngest son who stays with me, he thinks I am worrying unneccessarily, who knows maybe I am.

JessM Tue 19-Jul-11 16:18:11

Difficult for you if you are in sole charge for a day.

I would concentrate on their behaviour with you, rather than worrying about what is happening when you are not around. Your circle of influence. Like that prayer... God grant me the wisdom etc etc
Kids do have phases where they compete for attention with their siblings and try out "bad" behaviour. The important things are not to reward the unwanted behaviour with extra attention and to try to use positive language.
When I was staying with my GS and he was behaving pretty badly (just 3) I nearly went puce with my efforts to use positive language - he kept yelling NONONONONO so I banned the word from my vocabulary....

There is usually someone happy to chat on gransnet!

GadaboutGran Fri 22-Jul-11 20:31:23

Perhaps we too easily put everything down to attention seeking in a blaming way. If you see it as a young child's desperate attempt to communicate feelings he can't name and thoughts he can't make sense of, it gives a different perspective. It's hard enough having a sibling different from you of a different age so it must be pretty tough when they are the same age and stage. Sounds like this child is trying every way possible to communicate things which he can't or hasn't the means to express any other way. This is where Gran can be a godsend as the person who creates the opportunities to help them find ways of expressing themselves more constructively - not usually by talking too much, though some matter of fact chats and suggestions for solving problems can help depending on the child. With young children just giving them paper and crayons and encouragement to draw, then sitting with them and having a 2 way chat (not an interrogation) about it can help them open up. You can both have fun making drawings of 'when you feel sad, angry etc. There's an excellent series of books by Marge Hilgaard entitled "When someone dies/has a serious illness/something awful happens/ family breakup etc" which you can do together or get ideas from. Puppets are also an excellent way of helping children as they can put their fears on to the puppet.

jangly Fri 22-Jul-11 20:50:27

I think he is just being a four year old. There's a lot of cockiness and loud talk around four. Nothing to worry about. He will grow out of it with his Mum and Dad's guidance. You say most of the time he is very loving and happy. Well then!

I would say, don't speak to them. I'm sure they will handle it just fine.