Right now, you could cut the tension in our house with a knife and it’s getting me and my husband down.

The tension is completely down to the difficult relationship between my eldest son and my daughter. And the rest of us are powerless to deal with it. They’ve had an uneasy relationship for as long as I can remember, but recently it’s got a lot worse and, frankly, it’s getting hard to live with it.

I’ve never got to the bottom of my son’s problem with his sister, but I’m guessing it’s jealousy. She’s the youngest and the only girl, people think she’s ‘cute’. She’s also seen as ‘the good one’ and he has always been the most volatile. There are also issues around their brother – they both adore him and he adores them, but two’s company, three’s a crowd and they compete for his attention.

My son forgets he is nearly five years older than his sister and is mean to her when she says the wrong thing or can’t do the things he can. This attitude almost ruined our trip to Bristol Zoo because her being scared on the high-wire obstacle course apparently spoiled it for him. (He didn’t take into account the fact that he wouldn’t even have tried it at the age of 6.) And he made sure we knew about it. He shouted, he cried, he ran away. And my daughter wasn’t just going to accept this, so she shouted and cried too.

This wasn’t a one-off occurrence. This is happening every day from the moment they get up until the moment they go to bed. It is VERY draining.

It’s not my daughter’s fault, but I fear it will change her forever. If we can’t nip his behaviour in the bud and fast, she is going to turn into a little girl who is permanently angry and permanently on her guard.

Last week she kicked her brothers twice and ended up on the naughty step. Where she screamed and cried for the full 6 minutes – heart-broken to have let us down and angry at the injustice of being punished because she reacted to her brothers mistreating her. And then she tried to run to Grandma’s.

Running away to Grandma’s is another worrying development in all three kids which has happened in the last two weeks. Their siblings wind them up, they get angry, they react, they get punished, they run out of the door. Not good. Grandma’s house is very near and I’m sure they would be safe, but it’s not really the answer, is it?

I now realise the day my son starts secondary school can’t come fast enough. Year 6s have a very special and unique attitude. It’s in all of them. You see it as they walk out of school – a swagger and an arrogance that seeps from every pore. The whole school looks up to them. Everyone thinks they’re cool, everyone thinks they’re funny and they lap it up. What does it matter if you mistreat your sister if another 400 kids think you’re the best thing since sliced bread? Sadly he needs to be brought down a peg or two by getting back to being a small fish in a very big sea.

But in the meantime, I don’t know what the answer is. Should it be carrot or stick? Should they both be dealt with in the same way? All I know is, it needs to be sorted fast or I will be left with a permanently unhappy family.

Any tips?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. My eldest two- 15 and 8 – are a bit like this. Drives me insane. To be honest it has improved over the last year. I think the eldest is growing out of winding her younger brother up. It is upsetting tho when I hear them say they hate each other, even tho I am sure they don’t deep down…

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  2. My mum always tells me to ensure that my two girls get time on their own if possible (so encourage them to play in their own rooms for a bit if possible).

    And also to be careful not to ask for the oldest to ‘check on’ or ‘look after’ the youngest. My mum was often asked to take her younger sister out to play with her and her friends, but being three years older she didn’t want to. It cramped her style and made her resent the youngest.

    Siblings will always fight to a certain extent as they are often compared to each other, or indeed compare themselves, so they often benefit from alone time to help them appreciate each other when together. Does that help at all?

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  3. First – completely normal! Your eldest is probably chock full of boy hormones, as well as maybe feeling a bit jealous… Why not see if your mum can have the younger two for a day so that you can spend a day with him, just the two of you, and take him out for a treat? He’ll be chuffed to bits to think that you want to, and you might find that improves things behaviour wise. Good luck, whatever you do!

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  4. Thanks very much! Reassuring to know they will eventually grow out of it, Sonya – though looks like I may have four or five years to wait!
    My brother and I used to fight, but we were more evenly matched – he was only two and a half years younger than me and bit for his age.
    I must try to aim for more time on their own, but at least they have separate activities they do. Our house doesn’t give much space for people to get away from each other, but if it stops raining they could at least go outside!
    Good point about the ‘looking after’ thing – I hadn’t considered that, although as I don’t really trust him, I tend to get the middle one to look after her, even though he is only 8! He is very grown up and would do anything for her.
    Thanks again, much appreciated.

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  5. Oh Sarah I just read this and sO wish I could offer advice. But sadly I am still in the throws of nappies Snd fighting over train track tunnels so instead I will offer you my whole hearted support.
    Gosh kids are just such intricate little people.
    You’ve got them to here pretty damn well so you’ll get though this.
    Have a good weekend. Xxx

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  6. Thanks very much! I really appreciate your support. I’m pleased to say that my eldest was like a different person today – and if he’s being good it rubs off on the whole family! Fingers crossed it wasn’t a one-off.
    Have a good weekend yourself x

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  7. Oh I can so relate to this. I have 3 children and I find there is always someone being left out. All siblings are in contstant competition with one another and we too have had days that have been ruined by bickering and back-biting. I do think things calm down when they get to Secondary School and in fact when they start going to different schools. Good luck. PS Found you on ‘blog your own blog horn’ btw

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  8. Thanks very much, Suzanne. Good to know secondary school should make a difference. Four months and counting… To be fair they have been better the last few days, just back to normal levels of sibling rivalry rather than the recent awful behaviour!
    Good to know you found me on blow your own blog horn – I’ve linked up the past few weeks, but wasn’t convinced anyone was finding their way too me through that route. So I will keep linking up in future! And feel free to pop by any time – I have many traumas, and some laughs too 🙂

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  9. Thought I had already read this post, this was my first visit to your blog – look! ^^^ Seems like forever ago, I cannot remember my life pre-blog! Anyway, have things sorted themselves out between your two? I still find it so hard and haven’t found the answer – have you? Thanks for linking up 🙂

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