Stop arguing!

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?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Wish I did have some suggestions for you, it can’t be easy living with sibling rivalry. My boys argue and tease each other constantly but they do still get on, I try to find something that they all like doing so they can do it together and hopefully enjoy each others company while doing so.
    I hope it all works out for you x

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  2. Thanks very much 🙂 I’m hoping moving house and giving them all more space will help. I have a friend with three boys (although much bigger age gaps than mine), they fought physically more than argued. Moving to a bigger house calmed them all down. x

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  3. Firstly, rest assured that our house often is still is, but certainly was like this for a very long time. Siblings are naturally in competition with one another, constantly feel like they are being the one ‘picked on’ and unfairly treated – some feel it more than others. I really can advocate the regime we’re using as it keeps everything absolutely fair and we have been advised to make sure it stays that way. This way, there’s no room for “it’s not fair”, “you like her better than me”, “you treat me differently” kind of scenarios. Everyone gets fined for the same things and it’s all written down. Other than that, gag them!

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  4. Oh blimey – this sounds so much like my 2 brothers and I when we were growing up. I’m eldest, then 2 brothers. My “big” brother and I used to gang up on my little brother…then they would pair up and gang up on me. My brother once put me in the chest freezer and I was stuck for ages till my dad got me out (top open – not shut I hasten to add!). My parents would have to sit between us all at the dining table. We’d then all complain to our mum and dad about favourites and how it was unfair etc. I was wanting to give you some advice tbh but my jaw fell open when I saw myself in them! (They will be lovely lovely people I swear it – we all like each other now :))

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  5. Oh this is so hard. We found space definitely helped, we created a ‘den’ room for the tween so she could escape and have no younger siblings in there to annoy her. I hope it gets better for you soon.

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  6. Wish I could help but my girls fight and bicker all day too!! Rest assured you’re not alone in feeling how you do!

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  7. I’m afraid I don’t really have any suggestions.

    Do you and your husband set aside one-to-one time for each of them every week, away from their siblings? Even if it’s only to read a book or help with homework, it might help.

    I remember my brother being like that with me – and he was 10 years older! It was a phase that lasted a couple of years and then he grew out of it. Once he got a job, he started giving me pocket money! Is your oldest too young for a paper round?

    Anyway – If your daughter would like to come an play with Bunny after school one day – to give you an evening off – she is more than welcome. xxx

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  8. This is a fairly common scenario in our house too but between and R and L but they do love each other, they just wind each other up. It is really hard and I wish I had the answers but you just have to keep working on your son and try and make him understand how he is making everyone feel. You might find that as he gets a bit older it will get better

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  9. This is a really common thing in our house too and it drives me up the wall – BUT – my two eldest (20 & 16) have grown out of it and are now as thick as thieves and the best of friends.
    The worst culprit is Kian (13) who thinks nothing of winding Isaac up into a frenzy and then gets annoyed when he retaliates!!

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  10. Thanks very much for taking the time to comment, everyone, I really appreciate it.
    It’s reassuring to know that we’re not the only ones. And I see that most of the time it seems to be prevalent in kids of a similar age to mine, so it’s good to know it’s probably down to the age, and that they will grow out of it, Kara!
    Suzanne – I was very inspired by your new regime, I just have to suggest it to the husband, not sure what he would think about it being so costly, but would be worth it for a quiet life.
    The kids don’t get much time on their own away from each other, Emma. We should probably make more effort. My daughter gets a bit of time with Daddy on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but the rest of the time we seem to have at least two of them to look after!
    It’s good to know that having space helps, Jen. When we get our bigger house there will be no more sharing bedrooms and more space in the lounge etc, which should bring a bit of harmony to our family. I hope!

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  11. Mine bicker too, I think it is inevitable, but like others have said, they do grow out of it! My eldest and middle one rarely fight these days, though just as I was enjoying the peace, the youngest now hassles the middle one all the time- and so it begins again…..

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  12. Aaagh! I’ve seen my friend’s 3 year old fighting his big brothers and it astounds me that kids so young get so involved in fights and arguments! But then my brother used to pick on my sister and he was 6 and a half years older. Good to hear they do eventually grow out of it. Thanks, Sonya.

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