At My Wits End!

Today is a day where I just want to say ARRRRGGGG!!

I am so frustrated with how vicious Silas is with Isaac. He pushes, pulls, slaps and scratches and, as of late, it seems to be going on constantly. If I turn my back to do something, quite often I hear a slap. I can’t leave them out of my eyesight or Ikey gets beat on!

You know those kids that hit themselves when their parents scold them and then we judge the parents thinking that they most likely get beaten at home? Well, that’s not the case. Silas constantly whacks himself when I scold him and he’s never ever been hit (aside from his cousin Lucas feeding him the beats…payback).

I hate seeing Silas do this, I hate that Ikey has a bully. I hate that I feel like I’m failing in this area. I don’t know what else to do with him though. I don’t believe in spanking. I’m not hitting my child for hitting somebody. I don’t want to discipline my children with fear. I want to do it all the right way but the “right” way isn’t working very well. I’m 99.9% consistent with consequences for the hitting when I see it happen. Sometimes it seems like the time outs are REALLY working, they have helped but sometimes we go backwards.

I hate how he smiles when I tell him to look me in the eyes and then I tell him that he can’t hit and that it hurts Ikey. Usually he smiles and then tries to head-butt me. It makes me feel sick to my stomach.

I feel like all Silas gets is a lot of no’s right now. I do try and give him positive feedback when he’s gentle and when he does something well. It’s hard to not feel like I’m to blame for him being like this. What could I do better? Do I need to sit beside him 100% of the time and stop the action before it happens? Should I allow him to hit himself? Brent doesn’t want him to and I’m indifferent so I just honor Brent’s wishes with that one and I don’t let him do it. He’s been clapping a lot when he’s really mad.

This morning Silas hurt Ikey so badly that Ikey actually cuddled…that’s bad. I was right there but on the other side of the baby gate and Silas raked his hand across Ikey’s face SO quickly. It was awful. I was mad for so long, I couldn’t cuddle Silas or anything.

Whenever Silas is mad about something I make a mad dash over to Ikey so I can protect him from his brother’s flailing arms. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don’t. I feel so bad that Ikey is getting hit, I don’t want any child to get by a parent or a sibling.

I know babies brains are negatively effected from being spanked or hearing their parents yell at each other, I wonder how Silas’ screaming and hitting translates in that area. I know it’s normal for a baby to get some abuse from their older sibling but it just seems so awful and so not fair. I don’t want it to effect my darling Isaac in a negative way.

Anyway, I’m at my wits end with this. I don’t know how drastic I need to take this. Yes I want to do what’s right but I also need to protect my baby who can’t protect himself. I don’t know the next step. I also know it’s common so what’s worked for some of you who’s dealt with this? Is it just a lot of time and eventually they grow out of it?


  1. Eeek! I’m sorry but I don’t have any advice for you, I’ve never experienced any of that with my girls. I have other friends with boys and I hear things like that happen all the time with them. Stick in there, mama!

  2. I don’t know what to do. I’m experiencing a little bit of this right now myself. I have a couple boys in daycare (brothers) who can’t seem to make it through the day without the older one beating on the little one a million times. He’s horrible about running and trying to tackle him and then holding him down or he’ll walk up behind him and stick his shirt over his head. I try to stop it before it happens but he’s usually very sneaky about it. Drives me crazy. I talked to his Mom about it today and she threatened bringing over her spoon for me to use if he doesn’t knock it off. As for my kids, my oldest just wants to pack little guy around all the time and doesn’t get that when he’s playing on the floor nicely…. it’s because he WANTS to play and just leave him the heck alone. Hope you find something that works. I’m looking for solutions here also. Besides a wooden spoon.

  3. Hiya 🙂 Informal Matriarch – well done for getting that out there. I’ve been through this stuff and have worked with kids who show this sort of behaviour.

    1. Cut yourself some slack – you are not failing in this area. You are doing the best you can with what you’ve got. When you know better, you’ll do better. You are a good mom.

    2. You do love Ikey and Silas just as much as each other. It might be in different ways but that’s because they are different people. Silas is showing a lot of very challenging behaviour right now but you still love him 🙂 even though you might not like him all the time. That’s one of the biggest lessons I learned – I do love my kids all the time but it’s quite normal not to like them all the time! (you know they feel the same way about us!)

    3. You need help. No one behaves like that unless something is wrong. His behaviour is a message that he needs helps and you need to know what kind of help to give him. Ikey needs help, too, so he can feel safe and enjoy having a brother.

    4. See your doctor/paediatrician/community nurse/child psychologist, etc. It might be diet – food allergies could be triggering his behaviour. I’ve seen a lot of very extreme behaviour completely disappear after a consistent change in diet.

    Then again, it could be sibling jealousy. Start with the most likely causes and work your way through until you find a solution. And if a doctor or anyone says anything like ADD/ADHD/Aspergers or Autism, get a second opinion and even a third opinion. Kids are misdiagnosed all the time and it pays to be thorough. Ask lots of questions!

    5. Work out a plan of attack. Simplicity and consistency are the keys. Don’t get discouraged – it will get worse before it gets better. But that is a good sign that improvement is around the corner.
    Try to avoid yelling, definitely avoid smacking (don’t want to reinforce hitting), and if you can – organise time with Silas where it’s just you two.

    Take him to do something simple – the park, walk around the block, watch a cartoon together – lots of hugs, cuddles, kisses and praise. Even if he doesn’t respond positively, don’t let that slow you down. It might sound airy-fairy but you’re topping up your kid’s love bank :). Whether or not he’s jealous of Ikey, it will benefit him so much and maybe one day he’ll be able to tell you what’s going on inside him.

    Hang in there 🙂 you’re a great mom and this will get better!

  4. Alfie Kohn might have some words of wisdom for you. Look up some of his books in your local library to find the titles that apply to your situation. I’m so happy for you and your kids that you’re choosing not to spank!

  5. euphonos – I feel like I’m doing most of those things. He’s got a rockin diet. I’m loading that boy up with as much good food as I can because ADHD does run in the family (I have it) so lots of omegas and hardly anything artificial. I made almost everything from scratch or buy natural, definitely no food dyes. I also think he gets more hugs, cuddles and kisses than most kids. He’s just like me, completely cuddly. I think it’s a sibling jealousy thing and perhaps some food allergies (he’s got a peanut allergy).

    thanks for your input everyone!

  6. Leah – well- this is the first time (for whatever reason) that my computer has allowed me to log onto your site in months! YEAH! So I’m getting caught up. As for the rough big brother – not that I am qualified to give ANY advice – but my big brother was SO cruel to me growing up – from the beginnig. I remember when we were really little and he used to pull my cheeks apart so hard that my lips would bleed! He did it all the time – whenever I’d see him coming I’d hide cause i knew what he was up to. Anyways, I remember my mom making a “pinching sock”for him. She stuffed a sock and hung it from one of the doorways. Any time she’d see him pinch my cheeks – she’d make him go pinch the pinching sock till his hands hurt. Oh, my, we laugh about that now! When he got married she presented his bride with her own “pinching sock” as a gag. Anyways, not that you should do that – but the point is – he was very violent with me, and we had a rocky relationship growing up – but now we are very close, and he has grown into a very godly, amazing man. I will pray that God will give you wisdom with how to reach Silas on this – every kid is so different and need different techniques.

  7. 🙂 my brother (whom I absolutely adore now) used to trip me over in the hallway, sit on my head and fart – then run off, laughing.

    Then again, I hit him in the mouth with a cricket bat (similar to a baseball bat) when I was 10 and he was six, knocking out his two front teeth.

    Mom banned me from playing with him for years!

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