Gransnet forums


Fighting grandsons - what to do?

(29 Posts)
GrannyA11i Sat 04-Mar-17 09:58:43

Following on from the thread about getting tired looking after grandchildren I would like to ask how others approach the issue of the dcs fighting whilst in their care. I have 2 dgs 9 and 5 and little dgd not quite 2. I mind dg one full day a week and do the school run for the other two. It's the after school bit with the three of them which really gets me down. We can have a lovely chat in the car and all is fine and then once we reach their house it starts - usually the older one winds up his brother until he retaliates or they argue and physically hurt each other over who is having the x box first! DD has laid down rules which they fully understand but still argue with both telling tales about the other etc. All this while I'm keeping an eye on the little one and making sure the dog has gone outside!

I started ignoring it as my husband said they're not 'fighting' it's just what brothers do but felt I had a duty of care to the 5 year old especially and can't ignore them if he is getting hurt. It's got to the point where we can not have all 3 at our house in the holidays as it's just awful and not enjoyable. DD is not lax with her discipline and has raised them all with an expectation of respect for adults but the older one just doesn't seem to remember anything she's said! When we have just the younger two they will do as they are told and calm down if things begin to get out of hand. DD has the same problems at home too and has tried many things to sort it but it's different for us -I don't want my time with them ruined by constantly having to tell them off and mediate! We had 2 boys and a girl ourselves so it's not like I haven't had experience of this situation either!

annodomini Sat 04-Mar-17 10:29:09

Your GSs are not unique, Granny11i. I don't live close enough to care for mine (now 9 and 11) but a weekend visit can be quite wearing at times. There's a lot of winding up and retaliation going on and too often it gets physical. The younger one is a big lad, catching his brother up in height and exceeding him in weight. So it's by no means an unequal contest. Luckily the younger now has the tactic of retreating to his bedroom to read or play on his iPad. When they are doing things like playing tennis or kayaking, they are fine. I am glad they aren't able to come to my too-small house. At least in their house they can be separated and each has his own domain. There is no rule that says that brothers should be close. My two DSs get on well enough but don't have very much in common.

Ankers Sat 04-Mar-17 11:19:02

I would do two things about the older one.

Write things down. If he cant remember what has been said by his mum, write it all down. Then he has no excuse.

I would also do as what happens for annodomini, and separate off the older one for 10 minutes when he misbehaves.

mcem Sat 04-Mar-17 11:34:05

Mine are 8 - GS and 7 - GD and at times squabble unbearably. I use a variation of the naughty step. Into an empty room each with NO tv, tablet or books for 5 mins.
If there's a repeat, then it's 10 mins (and that's a very rare occurrence).
Not quite how mum handles it but she has no problem with what I do!

jusnoneed Sat 04-Mar-17 12:00:20

If they argue over something, eg the xbox, stop them using it. The oldest one will soon learn that he doesn't gain anything by tormenting his brother. Separate them if they continue. Not much else you can do.

GrannyA11i Sat 04-Mar-17 12:00:55

The writing down is a good idea Ankers! DD could do a reminder note which I can produce when necessary. The time out works very well in their normal life, I've been reluctant to do that and they probably have taken advantage of it! I'd have never let my their mum and uncles get away with what they do! I'm getting soft! And old and have health problems which don't help.

Luckygirl Sat 04-Mar-17 12:12:24

I do think that time out in a separate room is the way to go. I know that you would rather have jolly time with your DGC, but, when you have them regularly, you have to be part of the less appealing aspects of parenting, like discipline.

I think they will cotton on to your rules pretty quickly.

merlotgran Sat 04-Mar-17 12:55:40

We had this with two of our DGSs when they used to come to us after school. The older one would constantly pick on the younger one. I think you have to be really firm. It's your house so your rules. Withdraw treats and favours until they can settle down and stop arguing etc.

If it's any consolation they're both teenagers now and get on really well! smile

grannypiper Sat 04-Mar-17 13:01:43

Simple, dont let him use the playstation until he learns to behave. Might sound a bit harsh but why should he stop beating his brother as not matter how many time he misbehaves he wins and gets to use the playstation, so hit him where it hurts him the most... take the PS away

ElaineI Sat 04-Mar-17 19:04:51

I think I agree re no X box at all until they learn not to fight over it then perhaps a written rota which is fair to both and not negotiable. Time out also sounds viable if it is what is effective at home. Good luck x

TriciaF Sun 05-Mar-17 08:42:06

I once knew someone who had 3 girls who were always scrapping.
She made them go out onto the grass and fight - until she said they could stop. They were pleading to stop eventually.
Not that I'm advocating that,wink but it worked.

Anya Sun 05-Mar-17 09:20:58

If they were closer in age I'd be tempted to let them get on with it, but a 9-year old is too much bigger than his 5-year old brother. My grandsons are also 4 years apart in age (10&6) so I appreciate the problem. The youngest is quite manipulative too.

My solution is to make it perfectly clear I won't tolerate bad behaviour and that it has consequences. After school activities at my house, in winter, include TV and the iPad. If they can't agree on a programme or film amicably then TV is switched off. They have access to the iPad on a strict rotational basis and time limited.

I play chess with the older boy too. The younger one is more outgoing so two days a week I drop him off at other activities, Circus Skills one night, Drumming lessons another. This gives me more time with his older brother.

But it all comes down to laying out the goalposts in no uncertain terms and having a variety of activities that will occupy them.

Blinko Sun 05-Mar-17 09:36:32

I think that's right, it's what brothers do. Our two DSs bickered, squabbled and fought through their formative years. Thinking back, it was very wearing on the nerves and did lead to the occasional exasperated smack. Nowadays I expect they would be sent to their rooms to quieten down. Then there was no way to peaceably settle them. They shared a room, for one thing.

Now, as adults approaching middle age, they get on really well and the families are close. Thank Heaven for minor miracles!

Blinko Sun 05-Mar-17 09:37:30

Tricia F I wish we'd thought of that one!

Sheilasue Sun 05-Mar-17 09:52:07

I got a spray bottle and every time my two started they would get a spray. It got that when they saw me coming they would head for their bedrooms. Luckily boy and girl so they had there own rooms. Filled with water I might add.

radicalnan Sun 05-Mar-17 10:12:07

I love the squirty bottle!

I would try putting them in charge on alternate days, so they would get the hang of having to consider other people's needs, it allows them to learn a bit of self control, especially after school, when they come out like corks out of a bottle and can't wait to do something different.

Put your needs into their planning, gran needs cup of tea, dog needs letting out, someone gets first go on X Box, moaners pay a penalty (5 mins treat) incorporate basic chores cleaning shoes, putting washing in laundry basket.......

Boys do fight, like dogs, and it all looks very alarming but it is normal and a way of venting pent up energy.

Yorkshiregel Sun 05-Mar-17 10:19:38

Oh dear. What can you say. Mostly it sounds to me as though the oldest is feeling pushed out. I am sure he isn't, but children get strange ideas and he has had to move over twice when his siblings came in to his life. Perhaps you could take him to one side and ask why he behaves like he does. Try and find out what he enjoys doing and give the other two something they like to do to distract them.

At 9yrs old he is at a cross roads, too old to be treated like a baby, but not old enough to be treated as a grown up. Put the X-box away and get out a jigsaw or something you can do together. Give him lots of cuddles and tell him he is amazing. Talk to him about what he has been doing at school, show him you genuinely care about how he spent his day. The other two are too young to notice that he is getting extra attention, they will play on their own while you have a nice chat with your 9 yr old. Have fun!

I had two brothers, and yes, your OH is right they do scrap, but I bet if the 5yr old was being bullied at school the 9yr old would be there at his side in a flash.

IngeJones Sun 05-Mar-17 10:28:51

I think they're tired and grumpy after a school day, quite normal really. Those who don't take it out on their siblings often take it out on their parents. Do you give them a drink and snack? That can help, followed by having them sit down quietly for half an hour watching TV or listening to a story.

lizzypopbottle Sun 05-Mar-17 10:50:04

OP find a karate class for both boys, preferably with the KUGB (Karate Union of Great Britain) There's a list of clubs here.

Karate teaches confidence, respect, discipline, resilience and self control (as long as you find a good instructor). Ask to observe a class first so you can see how the class is conducted. The KUGB is a well respected organisation. You may be surprised to know that fighting outside the dojo is discouraged.

EmilyHarburn Sun 05-Mar-17 11:19:33

To help children take turns with things I used to have an egg timer. On the whole they were happy that when the sand had run through they would had over the item and turn the egg-timer over so they would get their next turn.

GrannyA11i Sun 05-Mar-17 11:31:59

Some good ideas here. Thank you. TBH we have tried many of them. Yes they get after school snack and I do have lovely chats with them but in the end they often end up fighting as they take it in turns to have control of the tv or x box and when it's not their turn they start annoying each other. DD and the older one have been doing karate for a couple of years - he loves it - but still anything electronic is his preferred leisure activity. Efforts to engage in other activities are hampered by their varying ages. I do think the plethora of gadgets and internet based games coupled with the 'stranger danger' mindset which stops them being allowed to play outside has been a major factor in it all. Roll on summer - it's easier when they can go outside in the garden!

BlueBelle Sun 05-Mar-17 11:33:10

My youngest daughter has three girls with three years between each they are always either playing lovingly tigether or as my daughter calls it 'bitch fighting' more often than not the latter and the combinations used to change which two were against which one time the oldest and youngest would gang up against middle then another time oldest and middle against youngest etc etc I think it's absolutely normal
I had three and I don't every remember much fighting at all but I think that's because the girls were eldest and youngest with the boy in between I think it's often same sex fighting ....for control I think it's part of growing up and unless they are really looking likely to get hurt let them solve it themselves

Craftycat Sun 05-Mar-17 12:33:17

Boys are like puppies- they get on fine for a while then all of a sudden they are rolling around the floor bashing each other. My sons drove me mad (I was an only child & not prepared for this at all!!My husband had a brother & said it was natural & let them get on with it) They are now grown up with children of their own & the best of friends.
My DGS went through this too & sometimes I thought it was an unfair fight but they are now 12 & 10 & get on really well.I used to stop them but they would sneak off somewhere & continue the fight- they enjoyed it although one would always moan he had got hurt if I found them. No blood was ever spilt or anyone get badly hurt. I think it is left over from cavemen & the male of the species has to prove his strength.
Interestingly with both of DS & DGS heaven help anyone who tries to bully their brother!! It's fine for them to fight but anyone trying to hurt their sibling & they are straight in to protect them. I did send them both to Judo in an attempt to teach them you can fight without hurting & they were very good at it & enjoyed it but still fought at home.
They'll soon grow out of it- hopefully.

quizqueen Sun 05-Mar-17 12:57:19

Before they all get out of the car then say, 'If I hear one argument about the xbox or whatever it is they are arguing over then no one will play with it at all and your parents can sort it out when they arrive home'. Then carry out your threat- take the fuse out of the plug if necessary and say the situation will not be discussed further as they have had a warning about it that they have chosen to ignore.

Caramac Sun 05-Mar-17 17:07:49

Lots of good ideas here. I look after sibling dgs 6 and 3 plus dgd also 6. The problems are almost always between the elder two. From my experience teaching a Parenting Group (would you believe!?) I have found the following works.
Calmly tell the instigator of the fight (or whoever I caught belting the other) that we ARE going into the kitchen and I am going to LISTEN to them. They are going to talk to me. I probably have to repeat this but I am calm and firm. Once we are alone I ask them what happened, they tell me and I ask why they hit the other, is that fair etc. I then get them to agree their punishment which is something like taking the toy they want away for 10 minutes. If it's the tv or iPad then they are switched off/put away. I am lucky that I can then replace screens for a board game which they love. It's really not easy but the listening to them gets their attention and seems to work. Hope this helps