"A child who has learned to pay attention to parents will go to school prepared to pay attention to teachers. "

Brothers don't have to be friends

Question

I have a 7 year old boy and a 4 year old boy.
They complain/compare: 'he got more apple juice than me', 'how come he got to watch t.v while he was home sick and I had to go to school?'
They argue: 'I don't want his shadow on me' (I kid you not), 'he's playing with the same box of Lego as me'
They are picky and fickle 'Mum can you tighten my shoe lace? Now it's too tight .....now the whole shoe doesn't feel right......now one bow is bigger than the other and it's too loose again'
And to top it off, they are starting to back-chat and speak to me rudely.
I read one piece of advice about sending them to their rooms whenever they argue and fight, but this is exactly what the oldest boy wants.
When my boys ask me to spend time with them (we read, bake, play board games, play Lego, eat all meals together, do craft), I say yes sometimes and no sometimes. I'm trying to set a good example of balancing time together and time alone, but my eldest only wants Mum time, or alone time. He NEVER wants to play with his little brother anymore and that makes me sad for the youngest.
I almost feel betrayed when I've given them positive time and attention but then they continue to interact negatively with each other and sometimes towards me too.
When the complaints, arguing, reminders continue, I SNAP! I end up giving a shouty-style lecture, then retreat to my office with the door shut because I don't want to see them for at least an hour or two, and then I feel awful because all I've done is made them feel rotten, and not really handled the situation or taught them a lesson.
Is there any hope?

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