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what to do when my 8 year old is really hurting his 3 year old brother?

My 8 year old son has been constantly losing his cool with his 3 year old brother. He wants basically for his brother to never bother him, and when the 3 year old wants to play with him he gets mad at him and hits him. But he hits and punches so hard that he leaves bruises, and welts on him. I have talked to the Pediatrician who says he definately needs counseling. I agree, I have tried time-out and grounding him. I have taken away previliges and sometimes spanked, but he doesn't learn to not put his hands on him. Then, last night I caught the 8 year old talking to his older brother (10 years) and my 8 year old says that if the younger brother makes him too mad he will "break him"? Now I am wondering just how far he will go? I also have a newborn baby girl in the house. I am honestly getting afraid at this point. The problem is that my older two boys (10 and 8 year old) are from a previous marriage, and my ex-husband is a butthead. the two brothers are split up, 8 year old with me and 10 year old with ex. they only see each other on the weekends. I know this factors into a lot of the issue. my ex stopped counseling treatment before for no reason, and I know this time he will do it again, But the fact of the matter is that my other two young ones lives are at stake, and I also have to protect them. Anyone with some answers would be greatly appreciated.

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Asked by Monarchlov12 at 12:44 PM on Dec. 11, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 4 (34 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • Thats a tough situation and I feel for you. Maybe try conseling again and get you ex involved and work out a schedule. Maybe send you 8 yr old to you husband and have him on the weekends(i know that would be extremely difficult and probably only work for the better if your ex was willing/committed to continuing therapy for your 8 yr old.

    I agree that he needs conseling, and that you can't put your younger kids at risk...

    I truely feel for you and wish you the best of luck

    Answer by tntmom1027 at 12:47 PM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • I would send the 8 year old to live with his dad until you can get this straightened out. It's not safe for your other children.

    Answer by Shanna84 at 12:48 PM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • I agree with Shanna. I'd send him to live with his dad. Explain to him that he's too mean to his little brother, and that you have to protect your 3 year old.

    Answer by LovingSAHMommy at 12:49 PM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • I would send the eight year old to live with the ex so the two older ones are together and take the older ones on the weekends...or I would call the police and have them come talk to the older one. Sounds like more than counseling is needed.

    Answer by bcauseimthemom at 12:50 PM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • I think getting your ex involved on your side would be really good. Sometimes kids pick up negative vibes from the "other parent", you know, like maybe bitterness towards your new family. I wonder if your son might be experiencing that? In which case, there is not much you can do without enlisting the help of your ex. I hope he would cooperate!

    Answer by Adelicious at 12:50 PM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • I'm guessing the 8 year old is jealous for not getting as much attention as he used to. Sit him aside and tell him how much you love him. Explain that you need him to be a good example. I wouldn't spank him though, especially since he's already having violent tendencies.

    Answer by Averylee85 at 12:50 PM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • Counseling seems to be the best answer. Given eveything you have said he needs help and a lot of love. Does he get enough time alone with you and your SO? I wish you all the best.

    Answer by elizabr at 12:54 PM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • I think in a case like that we take the " family" thing too far. What would your response be to another child that was doing that to your son? You cannot endanger your other children just because he is also your child. Think logically

    Answer by NE1outthere at 1:07 PM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • i'm not in your situation, but i think that counseling would be a great place to start.

    Answer by asil at 7:41 PM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • Sounds like the 8 year old has a lot of anger or frustration inside of him, and all of the changes are difficult. I disagree with shipping him off to the ex to deal with because that is only going to add to the rejection that he may already be feeling. He is still your son and he needs to be straightened out now, before it is too late for him. I also think he needs to see a child psychologist to help you come up with some better strategies for him.
    In addition to that, I would try to find ways to redefine his older brother/helper role. Try to set up to have some more cooperative times, like having him teach the 3 year old how to draw a picture of a tree, or make some brownies together, the 8 year old takes the lead. Give enormous amounts of praise to the 8 year old when you see him doing something nice.
    Give him a jar and one penny for every nice thing said or done for younger brother...15 pennies= a high value reward.

    Answer by spottedpony at 8:48 PM on Dec. 11, 2010

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