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Monkey see, Monkey do ....

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  • Monkey see, Monkey do ....

    So umm how exactly does one teach the younger child that the behaviour that his older brother dishes out isnt behaviour he needs to copy ?

    Boof tends to lash out at G quite a lot ... We are slowly dealing with that but the problem is now G thinks its hilariously funny to hit or head butt because his big brother does it ....

    Does tend to be somewhat amusing when its dished out towards older brother but when DP or myself start bearing the brunt it isnt as funny anymore ...

    I cant say I need more bruises added to the collection !

    We do the gentle thing & show him how to either react differently or that the cat isnt a punching bag.

    We try to stop him before he goes in for the kill but sadly dont always pick up on it quick enough before the connection of heads & a lot of yelling of not quite swear words begin.

    It is all still hilarious apparently ...

    I mean hey what really is more funny than watching you parents brought to tears or swaying from a head blow ?!?!?!

    Help !

  • #2
    At six months old my son decided headbutting was funny... I am not sure why, he had not seen anyone else doing it but I think it only takes one or two examples of an incorrect reaction by someone towards a young child for them to want it to happen again. I was not taking this headbutting from him too seriously, I thought if I ignored it and just put him down as soon as he did it that it would soon stop. But instead he headbutted me so badly one day, that he broke my nose.

    It was a real learning experience for me and really made me think seriously how to stop behaviour such as this.... I found that I developed a super serious voice, that was quieter than my usual tone and it really caught his attention. I did not over use this voice and only used it for serious behaviour issues - such as touching power cords or when danger was involved. It was a simple 'uh-uh' (as in no sound) and now, even at 10, if I say that he stops whatever he is doing. To start with he would stop and look at me and I would always say to him 'Don't look at what I am doing, what are you doing right now?'

    In a way I turned it around so that he could use his own conscience to figure out what he could be doing differently. I also told him that I did not want him to change his behaviours for me but that if he always had good thoughts in mind that it would make him feel better and actually benefit him. Of course he did not fully understand what I was saying when I was speaking to him - and maybe even now at 10 he doesn't get it totally now, on an adult level - but he understood mu tone, he understood my body language and he understood that I was serious, that I meant business and that I would talk to him until he understood what I meant.

    He got sick of me talking to him and at aged two he turned around and said to me 'Oh no, not another mummy talk', eyes rolling and all... and I said 'Why do you think I would have to talk to you?" and he told me exactly what actions he was doing that were not acceptable (throwing small stones over into my neighbours yard if I recall) and so I told him that he could go and play again if he had made the decision not to do that again.

    Just this afternoon I heard him jump off his top bunk, I was cooking the dinner, 'Uh-uh' I said, and he called out to me 'I shouldn't jump from the top bunk...' and rattled off some reasons why and he decided that it was not a good idea and didn't do it again.

    Now my children are not perfect and nor are my parenting skills - this shows just yesterday my three year old stuck a bead up my two year olds nose (and we ended up in emergency with her!) and do you know what my two year old said to her 'Uh-uh! Now mummies eyes are going to pop out of her head.... no beads in noses!' Shame this all didn't happen before the bead went up the nose!!!

    See, I kind of see parenting like I am the guide and they are the learner-adults... I teach them how to look after themselves - this includes personal care and socialisation as well as emotional care too.... they have to know that at any age they are responsible for their actions - not to please anyone else but to please themselves. Just as they ultimately decide what sort of socialisation that they enjoy and what level of personal grooming they make time for as adults, they will in the end decide what behaviour gets the reaction that makes them happy.

    So to me it is not so much about telling them how wrong something is but pointing out to them what sort of reaction they will get from that behaviour. I always make sure I am consistant and that I set punishments that I will want to go through with (learnt my lesson when my son was 4 and I told him that if he did - whatever behaviour - again, there would be no tv for a week. He did it again, TV got unplugged and we had no TV for a week... OMG, I was a single mum and had few friends and I was soooo lost without TV, but I had to go through with what I had said!). When something happens my children usually get three warnings (unless it is something terrible like running out on the road - a dangerous thing) and then I go through with whatever punishment I say goes. My punishments aren't terrible but they are just things that the children don't enjoy --- for my son it may be something like he has to put everyones dirty clothes in the laundry for a week every morning (he doesn't like putting laundry out) for my eldest daughter it may be that she has to pack up the bathtoys after the bath by herself for the next three days etc. ... make punishments things that aren't too terrible but rather annoying things that will make them think to themselves 'Well I don't want to have to do this again so I better not do ..." whatever behaviour. Also while they are complaining to me about having to do this unenjoyable job I will stop them and talk to them about why whatever they were doing was not that great - in what ways it didn't suit them to do it - what actions their behaviour will cause in others.

    The old statement 'You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink' rings true with childrens behaviour - no blame is necessary, rather just explain the situation until they get it. Each child is different and knowing what behaviour you need to have with them is all a part of getting to make your bond and your relationship with them stronger - so there is something in this for you too!

    I am thinking that your little ones are quite young? Sometimes this means that you will get quick changes but other times it will take a while for them to really get what you mean. Even if the first few times you pull him up on something he only gets the point of 'When I do -whatever behaviour- my mum has this action' then this is a positive start. I always say that on average it takes 2 weeks for a child to learn something new. I have also found that if you tell the story of what happened with someone that they trust - like dad or nanna or a familiar family friend - then this seems to cement it better for them. Try and make it positive by saying something like 'The other day Julia poked a bead up Merediths nose' and then turn to the child and confirm this with them and see if they want to talk about it.. then go on to say 'But we had a talk about it and she knows now why not to do it' get the other adult to ask why it is not a good idea and see if they have really understood why they shouldn't have done that action --- it is really interesting to see what your childs interpretation of your words are too

    See I think that sometimes learning good behaviours for children is like me learning mathematics... I have to practice, practice, practice and then if I can't teach someone else to do it I don't really know it myself and then even when I think I know all the answers I still make mistakes because I am not perfect

    I wish you luck with your little 'headbanger', I also wish you patience and lots of love and time with your kids too.

    Your extra effort will lead to you being able to spend more time enjoying your kids and therefore enjoying yourself.

    *thanks for reading my babble - hope you got something from this*


    • #3
      Hrmm... no one else has said anything! I hope I didn't offend anyone with my blabberings! Just trying to help.


      • #4
        Thanks DR you make sense

        Glad to see so many responded


        • #5
          sorry I dont have advice I was just having a looky-loo.

          I grew up with two brothers and copped loooaads so I guess both myself and my poor mum feel your pain?
          I am ashamed to say both my brothers and sisters would not only copy each other (still)when we were teenagers but still get into scruffs when mum wasn't looking..

          You sound like a great mum though so I'm sure they will grow out of it or at least learn to do it when you're not looking.. jk.


          • #6
            Originally posted by reAllytee View Post
            Thanks DR you make sense

            Glad to see so many responded
            Sorry I read it I just have no advice.