Psychiatrist Questions ADHD

My son is affected by his older brother's behavior. How should I talk to him?

My elder son suffers from ADHD and has obviously been receiving a lot of our attention. My younger son, is 2 years younger than him and is currently 7 years old. He is getting affected by my elder one's behavior and it is getting difficult for me to manage his tantrums. What should I do?

10 Answers

Spend more time with him. He may need counseling.
This is a common problem. Your older son is like the "squeaky wheel" that is getting more than is share of the grease. Your younger son's tantrums are an expression of his frustrated anger at the imbalance of attention. He needs special times with you and for you to recognize his anger and tell him to talk to you about it rather than tantruming.
It certainly may be very difficult for your son. I would strongly recommend creating 'special time' or an activity just for your 7 year old. Individual therapy is one example of such time. A sport or extracurricular activity is another.
All children want attention from their parents. Your younger child may be interpreting his older brother's need for attention in a negative way. He may be thinking that he has to present a "problem" just like his older brother so that mom will give him some attention, too. Having tantrums is his way of protesting. So, to help resolve the situation, the younger son also needs to have regular "floor time" with you - for example, have a set time with him once a day for 15 minutes during which time he can spend that time with you - even if it is just to talk about his day, or maybe play his favorite board game with him, or go for a walk. It can even be a once-a-week activity that you do with him only.
You may need to monitor their time together more carefully and separate them if you see conflict. Your engagement is going to be much more helpful than talking to your son.
I understand that you have a 9-year-old with ADHD. Are his symptoms being managed or is he still having symptoms? Your younger son, has he been evaluated for behavioral disorders? ADHD runs in families and it is probable that your younger son has a similar disorder as your elder one. A full evaluation of both children is necessary, and appropriate treatment should be instituted. Besides medication, there are behavioral interventions. Parents can be trained to do behavior modification at home. Appropriate medical treatment is usually necessary for children with ADHD, that together with behavioral management. This is all I can state, given the scarce information given.
Are you seeing a therapist? If you can see a family counselor, that is likely the best. You may ask your older son's doctor for a referral. It is a lot of work either way, but can be very rewarding.

Good luck,

Journey of Parenting can be difficult.
•Tell your younger son that you love him and would do activities with him.
•Spend some time everyday separately with both children.
•Share your frustration with father of the children about tantrums of younger son and discuss the ways to give attention and affection to both children.
•Have father of the children be involved in doing activities with both children separately.
•Believe in yourself as a Caring Loving Mother.
Ask him to let you know how it has been for him, and ask if he wants to talk to someone. There's also a boy called "backtalk" that is helpful.
It’s hard as a parent to split equal attention to all children at challenging times. As your older son is requiring more of your attention, maybe compensatory extra attention from husband or other family member to your younger son can help. Also, you might need to come out with assigned time for your younger son with just you and him. Can try to explain him in a way he can understand why you are giving more time to older brother these days.