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.