From the moment they get up until sometime after they were supposed to have gone to bed, this house (and my head) rings with the sound of my kids arguing. I say ‘my kids’, but it’s only two of my kids. And it’s DRIVING ME INSANE.
It takes the same form every single day. My eldest taunts my daughter – says something mean or insulting to her or does something he knows she finds irritating. Then she shouts at him. He shouts back – or jeers or smirks in that special way kids of his age do. This angers her further. She shouts louder. She shouts again and again, getting louder and louder. The sound of her voice goes through me.
This carries on until – I get fed up of the noise and shout at one or both of them or one of them tells a tale on the other or it turns physical and someone ends up hurt and in tears.
This goes on pretty much all day, every day. And I’m at the end of my tether.
I’ve tried ignoring it. I’ve tried shouting. I’ve tried talking to them. I’ve tried separating them. I’ve tried taking things away – like pocket money or the chance to play on the iPad. But nothing goes in.
My son’s tween skin is as think as a rhino’s.
He sees his sister as the cause of everything that his wrong in his life. His really awful life. His life with two parents. And a roof over his head. And his extended family round the corner. And going to football matches and West End shows. He really does have an awful life.
He’s jealous of her, of course he is. He was the centre of our world for two and a bit years. He was always the challenging one – the worst sleeper and the worst eater. His behaviour deteriorated when his brother was born and deteriorated further when his sister was born. She was the little one, the cute one, the only girl.
At some point he started taking things out on her. Having little digs at her because she was younger and didn’t know as much as him. But she’s not a toddler any more and she’s not going to take his nonsense any more. Understandably, she is fighting back.
They both get shouted at. Some days we can all be pretty unhappy because of it. But my son cannot see what he is doing. Cannot see that he is the cause of all his own problems. By being mean to his sister, he is making her hate him, he’s making us cross with him and he’s feeling unhappy.
It’s a vicious circle and it’s one we’ve been trapped in for many years. As he heads for his teens, it’s just getting worse.
Does anyone have any suggestions of how we can put a stop to it and become the happy family we ought to be?