brother making it worse

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      splendidlyimperfect
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      Hi all~ My 6yo son T was diagnosed with ADHD last December. His main problem is emotional regulation and hyperactivity, and it’s been a struggle both in school and at home during Covid. When T becomes frustrated or overwhelmed he tends to scream, and sometimes lash out by hitting/pushing/throwing things. He’s never hurt anyone, but he has damaged his toys before.

      We started him on medication and the higher dose over the summer seems to be helping – he’s had very few meltdowns since the beginning of August. Recently I have started noticing that his streak of great days with no incidents is *always* interrupted by his half-brother visiting. B is almost 13 and lives with us every second week. T adores him, but B is not very nice. He is rude and dismissive (saying things like “I didn’t miss you” or “I don’t like you”) and antagonizes T by doing things like stealing his toys, lying to him “as a joke”, or refusing to let T sit beside him. He’s also told T that he “prefers his other half-brother” (who is 3 months old and lives full-time with his mom).

      I don’t know what to do. I have a feeling that B might also have either ADHD or another learning disability – he is very emotionally immature for a 13 year old. His mother won’t let us get him tested though, so there’s nothing we can do there. He’s rude and sullen to my husband and myself as well (we have been together since B was 18months old so I’m not new to his life), and he’s constantly calling his mom to complain about us and T. We have both tried talking to him, reasoning with him, taking away privileges (screen time), having family meetings, etc. It never works. He’ll be nice for a day and then be back to being cruel to T and setting off meltdowns.

      I know that I can’t blame B for T’s behavior, but it’s difficult not to see him as a huge contributing factor. I am stressed beyond belief having had to deal with them both being home full time since March (I also have ADHD and bipolar disorder so my mental health has been poor as well, but my husband has been helping me and I’m trying not to let it affect my parenting as much as possible).

      Any suggestions on how to help T, or get B to be kinder? Or maybe I’m approaching this the wrong way? Any advice would be appreciated. They’re both back in school now, but who knows if that will continue, and I don’t think I can handle it if they both end up back home again.

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