Saturday, April 17, 2010


Alright, moms, I need advice. My Miss O has the sweetest spirit, and she loves to make other people happy. When she is playing with a toy or has something Little Bean wants, if he complains, next thing you know she is giving up her toy without having enjoyed it yet, saying she wants to make him happy. Or the other day, Little Bean got in trouble and wasn't allowed on the couch (since he was jumping on it or some such thing). When bedtime story time came, I asked Little Bean to sit on the floor since he wasn't allowed on the couch. Of course he complained, and so Miss O, wanting him to be happy chose to sit on the floor too. This of course took away the punishment aspect of sitting on the floor because if both of them are doing it, it ceases to be a punishment and becomes normal.

I love her sweet personality, how she is always thinking of ways to make others more comfortable and happy. But unfortunately, Little Bean is not like that at all. He is a very typical child, always looking out for himself, and hoarding toys and opportunities for himself. Sharing and compassion do not come naturally to him at all. If anything, he is a bit of an instigator. At every turn he takes the chance to annoy Miss O, take her things when she isn't looking, etc.

I feel bad for Miss O, and it's hard to teach Little Bean a lesson by making him share because if he whines enough, Miss O will say something like, "It's okay, Little Bean can have it because I know that will make him happy". On the one hand, I want Little Bean to learn to share and be kind, but on the other hand, I want to continue to foster Miss O's generosity. I don't want to inadvertently turn her into a hoarding, non-sharing child either by making her demand fairness in every situation, if that makes sense. She does get mad when he constantly pesters her, and she'll say that she isn't going to play with him anymore, but then moments later she has forgiven and is playing with him again, which doesn't teach him that there are consequences to not treating people nicely.

So, what do I do? How do I help Little Bean learn to share and be kind if Miss O is constantly mending fences when I want him to feel the consequences of his actions (which are so often against Miss O)? I'm really at a loss here...


Sharon said...

You need to parent them differently. Miss O needs to be protected from enabling others or even being used by other for their own good. When Bean is being disciplined for not sitting on the couch and O wants to sit with him, you can either read to them separately or explain to O that she is not allowed to sit with him this time and that he needs to sit alone because he was not obeying.
Another thing you can do is tell them what to say at the appropriate time. Put words in their mouth. They do not know how the right way to work through problems/situations - that is why they have you. When he is provoking her, assess why he is doing that. If it is that he just wants attention he needs to be disciplined. If it is that he wants what she has then teach him to simply ask for it. Then teach her that it is okay to respond in one of two ways - Yes you may or you may have it when I am finished. It especially important to teach O that it is OK to say NO sometimes. Infact I would require her to do so occassionally just so she learns how to. Her natural tendancy to give will not wain... I promise. My son is the same way. I love it but his sister can take advantage of it. That is unhealthy. For Bean, if he is being disciplined for jumping on the couch and she offers to sit next to him. Teach him to tell the truth to her and say. Thanks O for wanting to help me but I am not allowed to sit with you right now ~ or something like it. He needs to be taught how to NOT use people for his good

I write about some of these kind of things on my blog
Hope this helps.

Annette W. said...

Good advice from Sharon. Hmm...I am wondering about bringing in God's Word too, but no verses come to mind.

We do not have these problems at our home! These are still problems though, even if it's not with misbehavior.
Hugs to you!

Lori said...

My daughter is the same way...kindness, giving, make it ok type. My son, sounds just like your son...always looking out for himself.

When my son cannot do something that is a normal activity, like having a cookie at the store due to disobedience, and my daughter wants to share in the discipline by also not having a cookie, I tell her no. I explain that she will go ahead and have that cookie (or do whatever else it is that they usually do together). I thank her for her consideration, acknowledging her sweet heart but tell her that her brother must suffer the consequences of his behavior.

If there is a toy in question, I have to remind her that it is ok to say no. If my son throws a fit, he will be disciplined for having a selfish heart.

If pestering is going on, my son has time out in his room. He is told that if he cannot be kind and play nicely, he may be with her.

A wonderful help for me as far as appropriate verses go is a paper back book called "Wise Words for Moms" by Ginger Plowman. It gives appropriate verses for all types of situations. It really looks and feels more like a calendar than a book. You can get them at Amazon.

N said...

This is an interesting situation! I don't have any real answers, but two things come to mind for me that I thought I would mention:

1) Just because someone has a sweet and compassionate/giving nature does not mean they are a "doormat" for lack of a better term. It's one thing in my mind if you really think she lets people walk all over her as she gets older (then you get into self esteem issues). It's another thing if she is confident but at the same time very compassionate and tends to look out for others first. Personally, if it is the second thing, I wouldn't encourage her to be any different. I think it could really confuse her. I instead would find different punishments for Bean where her compassionate decisions can not impact his punishment. For example, sitting on the floor doesn't work because she can choose that too. I would think of things involving his alone time, etc. That way he receives necessary punishment and you don't have to change HER.

2. I think this is a little unique because the vast majority of Bean's significant interactions with other kids are only with O (given homeschooling). I know you are looking for more social activities for him, and I think once he is interacting more regularly and significantly with a variety of personalities it will help him a lot to understand not everyone will respond to him in life like O. As soon as he sees that impacts his friendships, how people view him, etc., that will go much further in helping him understand the consequences for his behavior.

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