Tuesday, June 29, 2010

With a sibling like this, who needs enemies?

That stupid bumpersticker that I used to jeer at, "Insanity is hereditary; you get it from your children" is coming back to bite me. Blue is going to drive me insane. He is a good kid, uses his manners most of the time, takes turns, and does what I ask if not the first time, usually the second; but there is one thing about him that is going to push me over the edge - it's the way he treats his sister. Much of the time, they play nicely together. Blue is in charge of the games, but plays along with Pink when she puts her own spin on stuff. But sometimes, whether for reasons of hunger or boredom or whatever, the relationship spirals out of control to hitting, yelling, pushing, slamming doors, and biting (what is he, 2?). I CAN'T STAND IT!!!! It makes me want to hit, push, and bite someone. If he doesn't watch it, she's going to be an only child.

I blame his mother. She's an only child and never had any sibling relations to deal with. Or maybe his father since he's the oldest of a bunch and knew all the tricks. Regardless, I need help. Ideas. Something. My usual parenting technique (thank you, Kazdin method) is to reward and encourage appropriate behavior and (try to) ignore inappropriate behavior. How do I reward someone for not hitting?

Anyone out there with kids about as far apart as mine that has successfully dealt with this, please, give me some hints.


  1. Wow, sounds exactly like what I'm experiencing. Terry is fascinated how they can be playing beautifully one minute and the very next second he'll just go up and shove her or kick her or bite her for no reason whatsoever! It's very difficult to keep a calm demeanor when that happens. Can't wait to hear others' responses.

  2. As one of my college roomates used to say "I'm smelling what you're stepping in" ('cause I'm stepping in the same thing!)

    Dillon and Ryan do the exact same thing. They will be playing nicely one second, and the very next its a knockdown drag-out fight!

    Let me know if you find something that works PLEASE.

  3. Funny, I was just complaining to Fernando the other day about this problem. He tried to tell me that it was a boy thing, but that's not ok with me. So my new saying is as follows (mind you it isn't always the boy in our family who makes the wrong choices. . .just more frequently):
    While looking at my boy I say "Your sister is a daughter of God, treat her that way! You are a son of God, act like it!" I figure that if I reprimand using truth, may be the Spirit can add the appropriate emphasis with out me having to raise my voice.

    Also, he probably just has some major muscles that need moving. May be each morning he can do an obstacle course of running, jumping, kicking balls, etc so he isn't as pent up later.

    Oh, and if you solve your "friendly" sibling problem, send the secret along to me.

  4. So in leu of having a second child I'm getting that I should just get a cat...

    Yikes! I have neices and nephews that do the same thing - I'm sure my sister would love to hear a solution. Is the only solution to wait a few years??

  5. Thank goodness it is not just my children! It drives me insane!

    When they start the fighting, they are sent to their own rooms, until they can be nice to each other. It doesn't always solve the problem, but it gives me a little break so I don't become a screaming mess!

  6. Mine are 3 1/2 years, 22 months, and 2 1/2 years apart. And they have ALL gone through that stage, and it's not just a boy/girl thing, it's an age thing. They can only control so much in their little worlds. They do outgrow it, that's the good news. The bad news is that what really matters is how WE, the parents, react and deal with it. "A soft answer turneth away wrath" is my favorite scripture for a reason. Good luck, we've always dreaded 4, it's a hard age.

  7. I wish there was a magic answer to the problem of siblings...we'd all pay lots and lots of money for it!!!

  8. Siblings have their own relationships independent of ours with them, don't they? Some of my get along great and other fight A LOT. I never allow them to get away, they have to be taught better. Some things that help for me is to try to find the root of the cause. If it is just a certain game he likes played his way, there isn't anything wrong with letting him play alone without sisterly help. Also, if it is the little one pushing the older one into histrionics, make sure he doesn't see you punishing him and letting her have free reign. Acknowledge that she was in the wrong but is still too young to understand it. Just letting him know you understand the frustration helps. I always make them apologize to whomever they went off on, too.

    Also, I all the time point out they handled a situation well without getting physically upset. As in, "Wow, she knocked down your tower and you didn't hit her. That was very grown up of you." And if they did so it wrong, we discuss what could have been a better choice. "You hit her and were put in time out. What could you have done better." (Although note that if he comes to you and complains about something his sister is doing, you need to take action as that is usually what you've just told him to do when he starts to get upset).

    Sorry, long and rambling. By now I've dealt with this sort of thing with lots of different age ranges and personalities. Not that it keeps my kids from fighting. I just try to remember that I fought with my siblings a lot and we get along great now.

  9. Being an only child, and dealing with this same thing myself, this whole post made me laugh (not at you, just with you :).