View Full Version : Big brother is not lovin' little brother

05-21-2010, 08:38 PM
It's been, what, 5 weeks since DS2 came home? And big brother (4 yo) is still not happy about little bro at all. He pinches, hits, pokes at EVERY opportunity, and I am exhausted with trying to keep them physically separated.

DS1 does have some sensory issues (sensory seeking but tactile defensive, most likely related to inner ear dysfunction and cleft lip rather than neglect/orphanage since he was in foster care). I have been letting him drink from baby bottles, on my lap, occasionally, letting him pretend to be a baby etc. DS2 is 14 mo old and a big boy but not big enough to fight back yet. I am worried for him b/c he went through so many changes ( he was in 2 foster homes) and ended up in a forever family where big brother keeps trying to hurt him. DS2 is such a sweetheart, sooo easygoing but i have seen him doing things like pinching himself after one of DS1's "attacks" and I'm so afraid that DS2 will be suffering long-term.

We did institute a "no-touching " rule with big bro, and we do "time-ins" where big bro gets to play with little bro and is allowed to touch him, as long as he is gentle. What am I missing? What other things shoudl I be doing to ehlp both boys reconcile thier feelings? I am a SAHM but it seems like every minute is filled with taking care of one DS or the other...

Sorry for the rant. It's Friday, DH works a lot and I'm just so tired.

05-22-2010, 03:28 PM
Big bro might need some extra TLC for sensory integration - the stress might be sending his system wacky. What about taking the boys for a workout session at a park: get big bro to show off his skills, pump super-hard on a swing, run fast, jump, throw things safely... calm down his system a little bit.

Have you tried deep pressure to help him regulate?

Has he shown the ability to touch gently in any situation before?

GOOD luck! You have a tough job right now.

05-22-2010, 07:29 PM
Hi Uno - yah, we've been trying to take big borhter (BB) to the park, get him on the swings etc but he spends most of the time there complaining and whining :-( He is unhappy that little bro has to come along most of the time, whereas he used to get to go to the park and whatnot just with mama or daddy. I have been giving him some extra squeezes but I should probably step that up a bit, so thanks for the suggestion. BB has some other stuff going on, he is hyperactive and probably more...I have been holding off on having a fulle val for him until he is a bit older. I don't think he is on the autism specturm, and I do think that he is securely attached to us/me but he does want to control things most of the time (or, he tries to control things).

BB has learned to be very gentle with our two (very patient) dogs, and he continues to be gentle with them even during this time of transition, so I suppose that's something. Most of his hitting seems to be deliberte; he just seems to take out all of his anger on LB. I told him it was OK to be mad at mommy, just in case he was feeling anger at me and taking it out on baby bro since LB can't fight back (or in case he was feeling mad at mommy for bringing LB into the home, but was afraid to feel mad at mommy).

I knew this was going to be tough...we had not planned to adopt again, but received a sibling call and so after MUCH deliberation decided to go forward with it. I am clinging to the belief that this is best for both boys in the end...just have to hang in there until the end, haha.

05-24-2010, 04:01 PM
yikes. Well we went through a period of issues with the boys from about 18 months to about 2.5 (yes a year) and our kids were not adopted (I was but that is another story!). Things that helped:
- talking a LOT to DS1 about his feelings and that they are ok (maybe you had sibling issues etc when you were little?)
- helping him verbalize his feelings (you feel mad that DS2 knocked down your castle) by modeling
- we did a sticker system for a while -- 5 stickers gets you something (a small lego set for us) this worked really well -- stickers were given for respecting others (eg not hitting DS2)
- also we needed to "punish" DS2 -- DS1 felt it was REALLY unfair that when DS2 did something wrong there was no consequence, so we put him on the step (for 2 seconds) when he threw or hit etc. this helped DS1 not feel like he had to be the "police man"
- separate them when possible to get a break

I hope it is ok that I responded even though I didn't adopt -- but I can relate to the sib issues.


05-24-2010, 09:53 PM
Thanks Hillary - and it is totally OK to respond, even w/o adoption experience :-) I have been trying to give DS2 "consequences" for hitting, etc even though it is mostly reflexive at this point, I don't think he is trying to really hurt DS1. We also are doing "turns' as much as possible so when DS2 cries, I hold him and then DS1 gets a turn too. Unfortunately, very little motivates DS 1 - stickers, treats, etc - which has been an onging problem with trying to correct DS1's behavior (even before DS2 was on the scene).

05-25-2010, 12:00 PM
DS has sensory integration issues. Neither DS nor DD were adopted, BUT I still find that I need to help DS with some behaviors towards DD due to his issues (he is not on the autism spectrum---don't have our appt with developmental ped until next week, but 3 therapists have said no). Anyway, we do a lot of bike riding and we have a small workout trampoline at home (we use that daily). DS also responds to tickling and being smooshed between cushions. We also allow him to take apart the couch and create a fort and jump on it (all these things help his system and he is able to collect himself and his behavior that we were attempting to stop, stops). HTH a little.

05-25-2010, 02:25 PM
Pepper DS1 sort of got into a hitting habit, just what he did when he was angry. I found watching him super closely and trying to get ahead of the frustration also worked. It is worth saying this was about 2 months of HELL for us. GOOD LUCK!

05-28-2010, 05:54 PM
I was just randomly thinking about things and wondered if things have gotten any better for your boys...?

05-28-2010, 09:21 PM
Aww, thanks for thinking about us :heartbeat: To answer your question, yes and no: DS1 is not really behaving any better but I am getting better at clueing in to when he is about to go over the edge. I;ve been talking to his OT, preschool teacher, and the parent trainer from the school (part of his IEP) and trying to intergrate everyone's input. I think DS1 is jsut still very mad about DS2's being here...I keep them separated as much as possible,e specially when it seems like DS1 is feeling reactiv. But then sometimes he has a really good day, like today - which is not to say that he doesn't ahve his moments! But for the most part, he seemed to be in control, responsive and regulated today. I just can't fiugre out what makes the difference - why some times he is totally wired and out of control, and others he's totally OK, even when DS 2 is reaching for his toys or whacking him back.

06-22-2010, 09:26 PM
Update - things have finally settled down a bit. Big bro seems to be feeling better, altho he still has his moments. Whew! lately he seems to be directing his anger at me instead of baby bro, which is fine - I keep telling him that it's OK to be mad at me. There have even been stretches of 15-20 min when they can paly together in the same room, without BB attacking LB. SO it's been baby steps, but it IS getting better.

I saw the recent thread on the Lounge about older siblings being POK at first, but then having a hard time when the baby got to be 8-10 months and that made me feel a lot better, too :-)

06-22-2010, 09:27 PM
So glad to hear things are better. Nice work mama!

06-22-2010, 10:09 PM
That's good to know. I'm glad things are a bit more peaceful. Sorry you have to be the brunt, though.