Upset...overreacting??

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HawkIgirl's picture
Joined: 08/17/06
Posts: 109
Upset...overreacting??

(Sorry if this is a little long)
Okay, so I am really upset with my BIL right now. Isaac has a cousin who is 1 year older than Isaac, and the two of them constantly wrestle, fight, etc... Sometimes we break it up, sometimes we let it play out. Sometimes Isaac starts it, sometimes the other way around. My BIL is always hard on Isaac and seems to show a lot of bias in who gets blamed, etc...

Last night, the two of them were wrestling around. Not over a toy, just wrestling and I have no idea who started it. Chad and I and my Dad were standing around keeping an eye on them. I told Isaac to get up and walk away but when he tried, his cousin pulled him back down. So Isaac pushed him off of him and happened to push on his face. His cousin, went crying to my sister and BIL. BIL asked what happened and my sister said, "He's crying b/c he got poked in the eye." (Not really, but whatever). My BIL's response? He says, "Next time, I'm going to tell him to punch Isaac in the face." :eek:

Seriously??? First of all, Isaac was trying to walk away (not that BIL bothered to find that out). But even if Isaac had started it, etc..., when is it possibly EVER a good idea to say that you are going to tell a 4 year old to punch another child (not to mention YOUNGER child) in the face? How is telling children to be MORE violent and aggressive going to help resolve conflict? Not to mention that that comment makes it sound like it was OBVIOUSLY Isaac's fault. :bigangry:

I am just so mad that I am practically seeing red over this. I don't want to say something and have it turn into a big thing but I cried on the way home b/c I just don't even want to bring Isaac into that type of situation where he is always getting blamed for any conflict and he is always getting scolded for being a normal, curious 3 year old. I told Chad that the thing I love most about Isaac is his happy, endless energy and curiosity and I don't want things like this to dampen his spirit. I always feel like I need to run interference between Isaac and my BIL and I always leave feeling like I need to give Isaac extra love and hugs to make up for my BIL acting like Isaac is an annoying little brat. I just don't even want Isaac to be around him anymore. Sad

Thoughts?

Cali26's picture
Joined: 02/01/07
Posts: 1040

I do not believe you are overreacting. I actually am dealing with some IL stuff right now and I am being made to feel like I am overreacting... but that's another story.

As far as parenting preschoolers, the number one things is to teach them how to communicate. You are teaching Isaac that when he doesn't like something, he needs to learn to walk away. Perfect. But being told that he may get punched in the face is just irresponsible (IMO). I do know other parents who believe it is appropriate to teach their kids to "stand up for themselves", but come on... when they're 3 and 4 do you really think they have abstract reasoning skills like an adult, let alone adolescent? I think Isaac is getting the raw end of the deal and if you feel is being treated poorly by your BIL, then I would feel that he is experiencing these feelings and he likely doesn't understand them. That is why I feel you are doing the right thing by having these thoughts as a way of figuring out what to do so that you can protect Isaac and use this as a way to teach him what to do in these situations.

I'm sorry you are dealing with this. If I were in your shoes I would use every opportunity to communicate with Isaac what is happening when he is experiencing a situation with your IL's....
-I would request that he not wrestle (if that is the root of the problem)
-If he needs to walk away from a situation, I would verbally prompt him to do so.
-I would validate his feelings by giving him the words to use in situations he is trying to figure out (I do this multiple times a day with J)... "DS, you say, 'I don't like that. That hurts me. (etc)'". I'd hope that this would help him in the future.
-When BIL says/does something to minimize Isaac's feelings, puts him down, or does something else demeaning in nature, I would speak up in a non-argumentative manner. "I do not appreciate you threatening physical harm to my son. I am teaching Isaac how to resolve conflict by walking away and/or communicating verbally". I'd do what I could to be a role model to Isaac in showing how to resolve a conflict and I'd do what I could to prevent myself from having a tantrum of my own out of frustration for the other persons ignorance.

I'm not sure if any of this made sense. I had a rough day today, too Sad so I'm feeling your frustration!

Joined: 06/10/07
Posts: 1692

I don't always respond well to these threads. Hopefully my words come across correctly. Cali had some great advice. Maybe I should just say ditto? Wink

First of all, sorry this is happening. Sad I'd be red about it, too.

IMO. This is a big issue. From this point on I think I would never let it play out again and would always break it up, especially since BIL reacts and says things he does. I think it might be hard since this is norm for them but after some consistency of never letting it happen they'll stop altogether. Because this is family that you'll see all the time, I'd consider calling, or emailing S & BIL and saying you didn't appreciate the punch/face comment and that in the future you wouldn't tolerate it. Let them know that from this point on Isaac won't be involved in any wrestling so if/when it starts you'll be taking him away from the situation. If Isaac starts it you'll discipline him as you see fit and if his cousin starts it you'll be taking I away/having him walk away and hope that they'll discipline their child at that time. How old is Isaac's cousin, btw?

I think if wrestling/joking around is norm for you guys you could tell Isaac that its safe to jokingly wrestle with Dad at home but not everyone does this in a safe way and that from now on the only time it's okay is when he is playing with you or his Dad?!? :shrug:

Can I just say I'm not a fan of your BIL! :bighug: Hope my words came off okay. These were my initial thoughts.

mommyvolc's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 1296

I agree with both Cali and Julie! I don't think you are over reacting at all. If the wrestling cannot be controlled and BIL continues to react inappropriately and make demeaning comments, then I would:

1. Stop the wrestling. I know little guys love to do it, but if its going to be the source of a problem then I'd end it.
2. Minimize I's exposure to BIL. I don't think I'd want my son exposed to someone like that and I'd minimize the time spent with BIL. Spend time with your sister and her son, but I'd try to do it without BIL as often as possible.

Nicole

AshnBill's picture
Joined: 11/06/06
Posts: 5333

I agree with everything the others said! I'd also put a stop to the wrestling since that seems to be where the problems are coming from.

Your BIL sounds like he needs a punch in the face, how awful to say that.

I hope you can get this resolved soon!

Lavender444's picture
Joined: 03/27/03
Posts: 1944

Oh, my! That would make me livid as well. I'm not know for keeping my feelings to myself and I would have said something about that comment right when it happened. That is horrible advice, even joking, to give a child.

I also would not let my child take parts in the wrestling anymore either. I would have also said something upfront to BIL, since I'm a bit of a Momma bear about people saying idiotic things, but I would also send an email to him if I didn't get a chance to say something at that moment, saying basically what Julie said.

You are not overreacting at all. Hopefully your BIL can see the errors in his ways, give you an apology for the comment and teach his child that raising a fist is never the answer. Sad

Kayla1981's picture
Joined: 01/04/07
Posts: 1529

Oh wow. How inappropriate for him to say something like that. If I were in your situation I would have been very upset as well. I'm sure you know now that you are definitely not overreacting.

I think you have gotten some excellent advice. I really hope your BIL will be receptive.

Jenn0113's picture
Joined: 03/09/07
Posts: 5335

I'd be pissed that he said that and would tell my sister that I didn't appreciate it. We know other kids that always are rough with Deacon and it annoys the crap out of me. The parents rarely seem to notice. If it was a case of I always starting it and being rough and the cousin was never that way, I would have to say be more firm with him. But 1. the cousin is older and 2. he starts it and fights back.

I'd probably talk to my sister about it.

HawkIgirl's picture
Joined: 08/17/06
Posts: 109

He's made comments before like, "I've told my son that he better not be the first to throw a punch but he better be the last." :roll:

And there have been other instances too where he just acts mean to Isaac, IMO. This is just the last straw. Like we were fishing at my parents cabin and all the other kids were fishing but I was with Isabel and couldn't help Isaac. So being an independent 3 year old, he got a fishing pole and was walking toward the pond and my BIL yelled at him for carrying a fishing pole. Then Isaac started crying and said, "But I want to fish too." Sad Now I agree that he shouldn't be carrying it with a hook on it, but what ever happened to guidance or saying, "If you want to fish, I'll bring the pole down here and we can help you." ?

And thinking more about it, by reacting this way, my BIL is enabling his son to always "play" the victim and teaching him that a sure fire way to get Isaac into trouble is to pick a fight b/c no matter who starts it, Isaac will get the blame.

And it sucks b/c this is something that I would normally talk over with my mom so it makes me feel lonely that I can't do that. Sad

AshnBill's picture
Joined: 11/06/06
Posts: 5333

"HawkIgirl" wrote:

He's made comments before like, "I've told my son that he better not be the first to throw a punch but he better be the last." :roll:

And there have been other instances too where he just acts mean to Isaac, IMO. This is just the last straw. Like we were fishing at my parents cabin and all the other kids were fishing but I was with Isabel and couldn't help Isaac. So being an independent 3 year old, he got a fishing pole and was walking toward the pond and my BIL yelled at him for carrying a fishing pole. Then Isaac started crying and said, "But I want to fish too." Sad Now I agree that he shouldn't be carrying it with a hook on it, but what ever happened to guidance or saying, "If you want to fish, I'll bring the pole down here and we can help you." ?

And thinking more about it, by reacting this way, my BIL is enabling his son to always "play" the victim and teaching him that a sure fire way to get Isaac into trouble is to pick a fight b/c no matter who starts it, Isaac will get the blame.

And it sucks b/c this is something that I would normally talk over with my mom so it makes me feel lonely that I can't do that. Sad

I'm sorry Kim. That just makes it worse. Sad

I would probably say something to your sister about it and hopefully she would bring it up. Or just start defending Isaac on the spot, and hopefully after a couple times he'll get the hint. If he's teaching his 4yo that it's okay to punch somebody, he's going to be in for a fun ride when his son is a little older and in school. Biggrin

Jenn0113's picture
Joined: 03/09/07
Posts: 5335

"AshnBill" wrote:

I'm sorry Kim. That just makes it worse. Sad

I would probably say something to your sister about it and hopefully she would bring it up. Or just start defending Isaac on the spot, and hopefully after a couple times he'll get the hint. If he's teaching his 4yo that it's okay to punch somebody, he's going to be in for a fun ride when his son is a little older and in school. Biggrin

I agree with this. Maybe you can be more vocal to show your annoyance but without the kids picking up on it. Like if he says something about throwing the first punch again you could say "Isaac, stop wrestling because if you get hit I will not allow you to play with your cousin anymore."

Cali26's picture
Joined: 02/01/07
Posts: 1040

"HawkIgirl" wrote:

And thinking more about it, by reacting this way, my BIL is enabling his son to always "play" the victim and teaching him that a sure fire way to get Isaac into trouble is to pick a fight b/c no matter who starts it, Isaac will get the blame.

He's raising his son to be a bully. So sad.

"HawkIgirl" wrote:

And it sucks b/c this is something that I would normally talk over with my mom so it makes me feel lonely that I can't do that. Sad

:bigarmhug:

"AshnBill" wrote:

I would probably say something to your sister about it and hopefully she would bring it up. Or just start defending Isaac on the spot, and hopefully after a couple times he'll get the hint. If he's teaching his 4yo that it's okay to punch somebody, he's going to be in for a fun ride when his son is a little older and in school. Biggrin

I completely agree with Ashley.

I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. Just remember that you are Isaac's #1 advocate. Trust your instinct and know that what you are doing is right.

yipeeladybug's picture
Joined: 01/18/06
Posts: 1214

I agree with everyone that you are not overreacting, I don't really have much advice to offer, but I think the advice here is awesome. I hope that you can get this situation resolved.