Thursday, November 18, 2010

Eye Gouging, Kicking, Biting and Other Activities for Boys

I often leave the living room to go to the kitchen to prepare a meal or wash a cup, only to hear hysterical screaming about thirty seconds later. I get about as far as the breakfast bar before I have to turn around, go back to the living room doorway, and say “What’s going on here?” Sometimes I don’t even bother returning to the living room. I just yell, “Stop that!” from the kitchen, blindly. They stop whatever it is they were doing which caused the ruckus. I don’t even care what it was--I just want a quiet, aggro-free life.

I never knew how much violence would come with raising two boys. My husband keeps saying, “Welcome to the world of boys”. (He has 2 brothers and three sisters; I have none.) My two kids are forever kicking, biting, scratching, knocking each other off of chairs, and pushing each other into doors.

The worst came yesterday. I’m not entirely sure of the sequence of events (I was, of course, out of the room at the time pouring a cup of tea or washing something in the sink). I think Max, the 2 year old, tried to turn the TV off. Land Before Time was playing, one of Zach’s favourites. (It’s not the Land Before Time of our youth with the pylons and furry humanoids. It’s an animation with singing dinosaurs.) Zach, fed up trying to keep little brother from the TV set on/off switch, grabbed his head in his hands, and gouged his left eye with his thumb. I walked back into the room to find Max crying hysterically and Zach hiding behind the sofa. I took Max in my arms, and asked Zach what he did. Zach told the truth, then paled when he saw the look of horror in my face.

Photo: Sky Sports (on site)
Max’s eye was fine in the end, but Zach spent a LONG time on the naughty step, and was not allowed his cartoons that evening. While it was the best I had in my arsenal, I know it won’t stop the aggro. What will stop the aggro?

They fight over everything. Any little thing Zach has, Max wants, anything, even a broken piece of plastic. If Zach shows the least bit of interest, Max screams, “Mine!” Equally, if Max has something that peaks Zach’s interest, it could get snatched out of his hands. Only when they’re totally engaged in something that I’m supervising do they not attack each other. I literally have to stand there and say, “Zach, you kick the ball. Good. Now Max, your turn. Don’t hold it...kick it back...good, now, Zach, your turn...kick it back...great. Now, Max, your turn...” Clearly, I can’t do that all day. I try to keep them exercised: playground, scooter, bicycle, walks, “nature trails” (where we go down the lane with the nature book and try to identify insects – the only animals to which we can get up close and personal, aside from the cows and cats). I’m not sure if it keeps them from attacking each other, but it wears them out.

*Sigh* I don’t know what to do. Brendan is just like: get used to it. He’s probably right, but I still worry this will all lead to one or more visits to A&E.


  1. Just found your blog and enjoy it a lot. All the best! Lisa

  2. oh, the stories you'll tell their future wives and children... I think this lion-cub interaction they've got going on is super important for building character. Did Zach really explain that he tried to gouge Max's eye out? I'd love to hear how he worded that! Keep on keepin' on.

  3. My two are the same, and one of them is a girl! Yesterday, son waited till daughter was on top of a chair trying to reach something, and then pulled it out from under her, resulting in bruised face. She retaliated by scratching his face and then trying to bite his arm. they are 3 and 2. I reconstructed this from injuries and weeping stories, as I was on the loo trying to evacuate at the time.

  4. My boys are 4 and 2 - sounds like a scene from our house! It can get pretty crazy sometimes!

  5. Hmmm... Yeah, you pretty much described the story of my childhood. I wanted everything my brother had, even if I didn't really *want* it.

    I wish I could offer you some advice, but I have zero experience with children, so... Good luck! Hopefully they grow up without killing each other :)

  6. I have two boys, a bit younger, and initially the eldest was a nightmare - drawing blood from his little newborn brother. It was hard to not see him as evil! But one thing that has worked really well is CONSTANT praise about what a lovely brother he is. As soon as he does anything vaguely nice we go on and on and on about it, painting a picture of the relationships we would like. It seems to have worked (so far). Another thing is giving them individual time with parents, when their sibling isn't about, so they don't feel they constantly have to compete with them. I had a sister and I can honestly say we nearly killed each other as children and I desperately don't want that to happen to my two.

  7. I have 2 boys aged 6 and 4, and it's exactly the same in our house. They do play together reasonably well, but they always want to play at fighting, so the inevitable happens. I really had no idea how naturally violent and aggressive boys can be. They really do have to be trained and civilized. It's a miracle the human race hasn't destroyed itself a long time ago.


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