Heeeeelp! How do I deal with this? Happening now...

(70 Posts)
FredWorms Sat 26-Jan-13 20:22:13

DD 11 and DS 13. She can't stand him, treats him like something she's scraped off her shoe at all times. I mean relentlessly. She undermines his confidence all day, every day. For the last 2 days every time he opens his mouth to speak she has hissed "shhhh" at him. It's like a hate campaign that has gone on and on and on. She calls him awful, hateful names about his physical appearance, really goes in where it hurts. We impose sanctions, she gets upset and stops for a day or so, then it starts again.

We have all put ourselves out today so DD could go riding. DS has stood around, uncomplaining, for hours. Afterwards we went to the supermarket and she was like a spoiled princess the whole time. About 1/2 hr ago, just about to sit down for a family meal, I hear a rumpus upstairs. She has been hideous to DS, (refusing to tell him where his phone charger is in the most provocative manner), he has reached the end of his tether and has pulled her hair and kicked her in the back. This never usually happens. He's clearly had enough.

The next bit was not good, on my part. I told her it was long overdue and showed no sympathy at all. She was crying, she's thrown laundry around upstairs (I mean deliberately chucked clean stuff all over the place), had a bath and is now eating alone in silence. I had a word with DS whilst she was upstairs. I told him violence is unacceptable under any circumstances, he has voluntarily written her a note of apology, he feels bad and says he just snapped. I've confiscated her beloved phone until weds (not told her yet).

What now? I'm going to have a delinquent on my hands. She's just so angry, most of the time, and I don't know why. It's been like this for a couple of years. How should I have dealt with the violence?

This is just crap. I was looking forward to this evening and it's all so bloody miserable.

FredWorms Sat 26-Jan-13 20:24:20

Sorry. Long sad

piprabbit Sat 26-Jan-13 20:26:02

I think you need to confiscate something of DS's too - as physical violence is a huge no.

Have you talked to your DD about how she is feeling and why she is so angry and taking it out on her DB?

FredWorms Sat 26-Jan-13 20:27:48

I have tried and tried, for years. I don't know why she treats him like this. She just says I don't know.

FredWorms Sat 26-Jan-13 20:29:19

Thanks for reading pip.

toomuch2young Sat 26-Jan-13 20:31:15

Have you any idea why your DD is behaving like this? It seems more than usual sibling behaviour? Your DS sounds on the whole an angel to tolerate it so well, and although violence must be always frowned upon, and disiplined for - it seems like he really was at breaking point sad.
I think you need to get your DDs behaviour in line by being tougher - certainly no treats like riding while she is conducting a hate campaign against DS!
I really feel for you, must make things uncomfortable at home for you.

toomuch2young Sat 26-Jan-13 20:32:28

Cross posts. Sorry for asking again. I don't think 'i don't know'
Is a suitable answer. She needs to learn this behaviour has serious consequences.

Huge sympathies - here it is DS2 and DS3 who cannot bear to breathe the same air without verbal provocation v rapidly descenting into physical violence. They are not quite 9 and 5... sad

I have no pat answer.
We have tried v hard.
The most helpful thing was for DS2 to see the school counsellor for a while to work on his self-esttem which was/is rubbish.
Not sure this will be the underlying cause with your 2, but maybe you'd consider getting some outside help involved?
Most schools offer independent/confidential counselling for their students AFAIK.

NanettaStocker Sat 26-Jan-13 20:35:45

What is she generally like to other people? Is he the only person who gets this treatment?

I think your DS has been very restrained considering his age.

Screaminabdabs Sat 26-Jan-13 20:36:20

It's absolutely unacceptable for her to treat him like this. Agree about hitting being also serious, though.

ConfuzzledMummy Sat 26-Jan-13 20:36:44

Sorry but your poor son shouldn't be punished he's had enough of her being a little madam. I don't blame him at all. It sounds like she's being spoilt rotten whilst he has got to stand there and watch. If she's acting like this why have you even considered taking her riding, she obviously doesn't deserve it. She's treating your son like this because you allow her to. Stop treating her like a spoilt princess she will stop acting like one

crypes Sat 26-Jan-13 20:37:03

Why is she going riding if her behaviour has gone on and on. Is it going on because shes knows shes number one and you always spoil her? Be careful because her behaviour can break up future sibling relationships . My siblings arnt close and I think its because we used to fight to much when children .

FredWorms Sat 26-Jan-13 20:37:24

Thanks toomuch. I think I need to hear that. I don't think we've been firm enough with the sanctions tbh.

FredWorms Sat 26-Jan-13 20:40:58

I wouldn't say we spoil her, as such, but I am finding her increasingly difficult. We just seem to get into ludicrous spirals of imposing sanctions, her getting angry and misbehaving further, more sanctions.

ohmeohmy Sat 26-Jan-13 20:41:28

maybe she needs help dealing with her feelings. somethinglike this?

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Sat 26-Jan-13 20:42:32

She probably doesn't know why. I remember not knowing why I was horrendous to my younger sister and we get on great now not living together may help. My mum used to tell me that "I don't know isn't an acceptable answer" but I honestly didn't and still don't know why I did it. She annoyed the hell out of me by her mere existence but I have no idea why that was.

I think it may be good that your ds has stood up for himself in the long term though.

Not sure how manageable it would be but maybe you could try enforcing a "If you can't say anything nice" policy with them both, as in, neither are allowed to talk to each other at all unless it is to say something nice or polite.

toomuch2young Sat 26-Jan-13 20:50:55

How is she with other children? Does she have friendships and good relationships at school? Have school any problems with her behaviour?
If she does indeed love riding I would use that and only allow it after a week of no insults or comments to DS.
Can you or DS's dad do a separate activity which DS enjoys at a weekend? So he is getting confidence up and having quality time away from his sister.

shhhgobacktosleep Sat 26-Jan-13 20:55:51

You have my sympathies. My 2 eldest are b/g twins and they went through a period of approx 4 yrs where they were constantly nit picking and generally making life for the entire family awful when they were together. They could not sit in the same room without simmering hatred and actual kicking each other if they had to sit on the 3seater sofa at the same time. I have to admit that dd was the main culprit and gentle ds rarely retaliated. Dd at one point screamed that when she was an adult she would not come home to visit if dt was going to be there. We laugh at it now but at the time it was horrendous for me to hear and I felt constantly tortured when they were both around. They are 16 now and get on much better, are in and out of each other's rooms, socialising within the same friendship groups. I know it may sound odd but could it be your dd's hormones escalating normal sibling behaviour? Our dd was a nightmare before her periods started and settled into a regular cycle.

I'm in agreement though with a pp who said that horse riding etc needs to stop until your dd learns to control her behaviour and actions. I would certainly be letting her know verbally and follow up with actions that the world was not going to revolve around her and that she needs to change how she is behaving. I think perhaps getting them both sat down together at the table with you (and dp/dh)and letting them know what sort of behaviour you expect from them both and even letting them voice calmly what are the issues as they see them, may be a good idea.

Can you get everyone together and agree on some family rules and consequences for if these rules are broken.
Try and get both the kids to have some input but if DD won't then tell her you will decide for her.
Then you have to follow through with the consequences.
I have found this site has some really good ideas too.
We get a bit of this from DD1 when she's in a mood, but it doesn't last for more than a few hours atm( she's just 11). I'm expecting it to get worse sad

FredWorms Sat 26-Jan-13 20:56:49

Fantastic responses, thanks all. StickEm, very helpful to hear you get on ok with your sister nowadays.

porridgeLover Sat 26-Jan-13 21:15:26

Similar issues here which is why I've adopted the motto 'there will be no mean in 2013' for all of us.
Which is to say that neither DS, DDs nor I can say or do unkind things to each other.

There is a zero tolerance approach to anything that's unkind to another person living here. I've done (in the past) lots of coaching around recognising our own feelings, feeling frustrated, knowing when we have reached our limits and need time away from each other.

Since I started this, DS has been really horrible to DD2 on a few occasions, and when I got into why...... he said he did it to get attention from me blush blush sad

Apologies are not enough as 'anyone can say sorry' and have to be followed up with an act of kindness for the offended person.
I try to apply the rule to myself as much as anyone, and while we are not perfect, it has turned the temperture down a notch and I hope it teaches good skills for life.

ShebaQueen Sat 26-Jan-13 21:25:13

Poor you Fred, sorry you are having such a rotten time. I must admit that my sympathies are with your DS. Of course I would never condone violence and he absolutely must apologise, but it is obvious that he snapped. Your DD has been making his life an absolute misery and she is obviously used to getting her own way.

I think you have to really take her to task on this and don't cave in to her sulking, pouting and throwing things around. I am saying that as though it is easy but I know from experience that it is easier said than done.

Good luck and wine for you.

SavoyCabbage Sat 26-Jan-13 21:29:39

There should be no riding. That's madness. Like going round to your son's bully's house with a tin of Quality Street.

I think the family meeting/family motto ideas are great. You need to draw a line under it all and start afresh with consequences for actions.

One of my friends is going through a similar thing with her dds. She seemed to be oblivious to the way she treated her dds differently. One does three major activities whilst the other is dragged along to watch. The oldest does think she is the most important person in the family. The youngest has just started an activity and the oldest is undermining her at every turn. Telling her she's shit at it and laughing at her.

I once read that you should use the phrase "my son" when talking to your dc about things like this. "You are not to speak to my son like that" etc. Placing a value on them.

I wouldn't worry about punishing your DS to be honest - he was pushed to his limit, he flipped, he has been chastised and has apologised. It shouldn't have got to the stage where he couldn't take any more.

Agree with the others re getting tougher on your DD.

By the way - he is apologising to her for the violent reaction. Does she ever apologise to him for being a right cow rather provoking?

piprabbit Sat 26-Jan-13 21:35:21

If you have a moment or two, you could take a look at parentchannel.tv. It has lots of useful short clips with advice and information on handling all sorts of parenting issues. You might be interested in the ones on 'squabbling siblings', 'angry children' and 'family meetings'.

Good luck - and remember the mantra "this too shall pass".

out2lunch Sat 26-Jan-13 21:43:24

Do you think shebehaves like this with him because she can?

I agree with the others who say you need go be tougher with her.

My brother was a nasty bully to me growing up because he could get away with it.be fair to both your dcs and intervene every time - it won't be easy but will be so worthwhile.

Sorry for terrible typing.

piprabbit Sat 26-Jan-13 21:47:53

I think out2lunch may have a point and I wonder if your DS snapped and hit out because he feels that you nobody else is doing anything to protect him. If he learns that hitting his DSis gets her off his back and incurs only minimal punishment, then you have the makings of a full scale war as the two of them battle it out while you stand on the sidelines and wring your hands.

Floralnomad Sat 26-Jan-13 21:52:36

At 11 and 13 can't you just keep them apart , at those ages they surely won't want to be dragging around together at weekends. I'd make time to do things with them individually . Tell your son to ignore her and tell your daughter that if she can't say something nice then not to speak to him at all . It is very tiring but from my experience it does improve eventually . Mine have never got on ,although it has improved slightly in the last year ( eldest now 20) , having said that mine have never physically attacked each other ,its all verbal . I have never got to the reasons behind why they don't get on and TBH I've given up trying to work it out , I think theyre just very different people .

Corygal Sat 26-Jan-13 21:57:39

Bullying this effective and sustained is a much bigger issue than the odd clout. I just hope this won't descend into battle of the offences, but I would tackle the first problem - the bullying - seriously.

Take your DD out for a walk and explain that she is a bully, and bullies aren't tolerated in your house. Ask her what she wants to do to fix it. Explain that she's had many chances in the past and that because nothing has improved, you're looking at more serious sanctions. List a couple of them as examples.

The key is you have to mean it. If you bale doing anything now, it will get worse and you won't be able to escape responsibility any further.

Corygal Sat 26-Jan-13 21:59:01

Incidentally, my Dbro also bullied me for England - parents ineffective, and he eventually got suspended for carrying on doing it at school once I'd left home.

You have to be strict. This has probably become a habit for her. Sorry to say it but you are not being a great parent to your DS. You are supposed to protect him from this sort of shot and you aren't.

I'd march upstairs and read her the riot act. Tell her every time she opens her nasty little mouth she needs to look up to see that tonne of bricks that will be descending on her.

Your son deserves more than this from his parents.

DrSeuss Sat 26-Jan-13 22:01:25

Why is she allowed an expensive, inconvenient hobby when she is so unpleasant?
Why does she have a phone when she won't even let her brother have the charger for his? Never mind Wednesday, give it back when some effort has been put in!
I was the child who watched her brother do as he wished. Do you have any idea what it is doing to him long term? Do you not understand that the feeling of being second rate will last for ever?
Would you allow a child at school to do this to your son? You say you have punished her. I have yet to hear of an actual, effective sanction being used.

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Sat 26-Jan-13 22:02:42

What a difficult situation. I would consider coming down really hard on your DD. Possibly to the extent of not allowing her to go in the same room as your DS (if your house allows it). This type of thing could be extremely damaging to your DS.

Does your DS have any suggestions.

The fact she has shhh'ed him for two days shows that she doesn't seem to take any of your warnings seriously. confused. Is she well behaved at school?

What are the most effective sanctions? Can you remove her phone and replace it with a vey basic calls only phone, ban her from the computer? You need to find out what works. With my DC's it was removing computer privilidges.

Good luck.

VenusRising Sat 26-Jan-13 22:07:47

Start writing it all down. White down every transaction between both dcs and other family members too.

Have a family meeting where everyone gets to say what they want out of the family. No blame games, just what behaviour is preferred and what you want out of family life- basic good manners is a start, fun is an extra option! Look for a win win for all.

If your Dd continues to bully your DS then you must call her up on it every time and send her to do some constructive work. if that fails to improve her behaviour, then send her to a psychologist, and if that fails, send her to boarding school. Seriously: and why oh why are you bending over backwards to appease her, she sounds like she's deeply disturbed.

Show her this thread: she needs to figure out how to express herself in a civil manner. Sure we all get frustrated and angry, but lashing out is a no no. She must learn how to recognise her feelings as they start up, and must have some strategies to hand to head off a violent / physical / verbal attack on her younger sibling.

Tbh, your family sounds like they need professional intervention. Good luck with it.

chocoluvva Sat 26-Jan-13 22:13:58

Is she jealous of him?

ironhorse Sat 26-Jan-13 22:24:48

your DS has been very restrained - i would have smacked her long before now if she spoke to me like that. she is acting like a spoilt brat and obviously thinks its OK to act the way she does - you say she was acting like a spoiled princess in the shop - why did you let her act like that? I was always told dont know was an answer and if i couldnt come up with anything i knew all about it - i would also have known about it if i had thrown laundry about, wouldnt have a leg to stand on.= - sounds like your far too soft on her.

i used to bicker with my brother all the time and roll about on the ground with each other and even now we are both in our 40s we still bicker but there was/is no malice in any of it.

LiveItUp Sat 26-Jan-13 22:27:32

So ... she has been vile to him for a couple of years, particularly horrid in the last couple of days, so you take them both out for a saturday and he gets to stand around in the cold watching her ride? confused Does she ever stand on the sidelines of a rugby / football pitch and watch him play a match? If yes, fine, you are treating them equally in that regard.

As others have said, it is your job as his parent to protect him and allow him to grow in an environment free from fear and ridicule. And as DrSeuss above said, if you wouldn't allow a child outside the family to speak to and treat your son like this, why do your let your daughter?

Sorry that sounds judgemental and you have come here for support. I really do sympathise. You need to be much firmer with her. VERY clear boundaries of acceptable behaviour. I suggest a family meeting, writing down agreed behaviours, and all signing them. If it were me, she would only get her phone back to communicate with others when she had made a consistent effort to get on with those in her immediate family.

Maybe a family holiday doing something where you have to get on and work together (I'm thinking camping, outdoor pursuits where they would have to work together as a team to achieve a goal). And no phones / gadgets allowed.

Good luck.

chocoluvva Sat 26-Jan-13 22:30:46

Hopefully, the events of today will have brought things to a head and given you all as a family the opportunity to have a fresh start.

Don't be too hard on your DS.

deleted203 Sat 26-Jan-13 22:39:47

I feel really sorry for DS and concerned at the impact your DDs behaviour must be having on him. Imagine having to live with the school bully who made your life miserable! Being put down constantly, humiliated, criticised, undermined by someone (presumably) bigger, more sarcastic, more unpleasant than you are. It will be doing dreadful psychological damage to him. And it sounds as though DS is a patient and easy going sort of child generally.

You have to get this sorted NOW. As LiveItUp says, it is YOUR job to protect him and you would not let anyone else treat him like dirt in this way. So why does she get to? I wouldn't confiscate his phone. He snapped and has voluntarily apologised. That would be the end of it for me. Glad that you at least told her it was long overdue. If she were mine she'd be sent upstairs to pick up all the stuff that she'd thrown around and told to grow up and stop behaving like a toddler. And then she would be told that her behaviour stops NOW. The minute she opens her mouth with something unpleasant you come down on her like a ton of bricks. The riding stops. The youth club, tea with friends, pocket money, days out. Anything she wants. These are not rights. They are treats that will be taken off you if you are unpleasant and behave badly. If she sulks or gets upset, or has a tantrum then send her to her room. You have to stop letting her rule the household and expecting everyone to tiptoe round her moods/wishes. She does not tell her brother to 'shhh' again. She speaks to him in a civil manner at all times or there will be hell to pay.

Globular Sat 26-Jan-13 23:19:13

madame Tell her every time she opens her nasty little mouth...

That's quite harsh, given she's only 11 sad

chocoluvva Sun 27-Jan-13 00:46:08

My DC just seemed to grow out of their constantly sniping at each other when DC2 turned 12.
They get on well now. They have more in common now, and DC1 doesn't find DC2 so embarrasing apparently.

Maybe you could let your DS have a bit more space. Did he need to be standing around watching your DD do her thing? Is he old enough to stay at home on his own now?

flow4 Sun 27-Jan-13 00:53:51

Here's what I think, Fred, for what it's worth...

Firstly, I think you dealt with today's incident perfectly well enough. smile Both your DCs behaved badly; you've challenged them both and sanctioned them both. People could (and probably will) argue about precisely what sanctions each of them deserves - but you did a reasonable job of weighing things up and did what you thought was right, which (let's face it) is the best any of us can ever do.

However, you have an underlying, 'chronic' problem that you need to handle differently - not (necessarily) because you're doing it wrong, but because what you have done so far just isn't working - your DD is still being vile.

You say you have already been punishing her for this behaviour. Because of this, I disagree with the people who say you should punish her harder and think you need to find something else.

By and large, humans (not only children) are not much motivated by punishment. I know lots of people will disagree, but the evidence is pretty clear: punishment doesn't really work very well. (See here for some reasons).

Also, people (including kids) tend to behave badly because they're not very happy. Your DD doesn't sound happy. I can't tell whether she's angry, or sad, or frightened, or jealous, or something else nasty, but whatever it is, she's not feeling good. Punishment will inevitably make her feel worse and there's a risk that it will therefore make her behave worse.

Lots of people confuse 'punishment' with 'consequences', IMO. Yes, a child needs to learn that there are consequences of bad behaviour; but the most powerful lessons come when these consequences are natural (not artificially created by a parent). In this situation, your DD has experienced several natural consequences - she's had her hair pulled, been kicked, had to eat alone, made her brother and her mother angry and had to deal with the unpleasantness of that... She might have learned a really useful lesson! But if not, you have some work to do highlighting the natural consequences of her being so nasty and making sure she understands them: her brother won't like her; he won't do her any favours; you'll be angry with her; you won't feel like giving her treat... Etc. Every time you notice a natural consequence of her nastiness towards her bro, point it out.

So, rather than punishing your DD, IMO you need to motivate DD to be pleasant. Reward and positive reinforcement work better than punishment. The best rewards, again, are natural ones: people are most motivated by 'intrinsic' rewards like making other people happy, and feeling good about themselves. Your DD might not be very good at recognising the 'good stuff' (lots of us aren't), so you can help, but pointing out to her every time she's pleasant and telling her how pleased that makes you feel with her.

Most importantly, perhaps, you need to show her pleasantness does reap rewards. If your DS is 'easy' and nice, and yet doesn't get much praise or attention or treats, it might be that she's learning "pleasantness doesn't pay". You need to reinforce the good stuff, which means making sure that your DS gets lots of attention, appreciation and praise when he's pleasant - much more than she gets if she's unpleasant.

As well as praise, some other things that motivate people are:
- Appreciation: this is like praise, except you can appreciate things before they're done - you can appreciate her effort as well as any success...
- Attention, especially yours: give her more, but make sure you give attention to the behaviour you want rather than the stuff you don't want!
- Challenge: set her a certain period of time to be nice (a mealtime, an hour, a day, etc.)
- Success: make sure she succeeds in these challenges - so start small with something you're sure she can do. For instance, challenge both of them to say just one nice thing about each other (pick your moment carefully!) If you think she can't be nice about her brother at all, then start with something entirely different, to give her lots of experience of succeeding at something you've asked her to do, and then move on to the 'being nice' stuff.
- Learning about herself: most people are motivated by learning (though not necessarily by school). Help her reflect. As well as asking her "Why did you do that?" when she's behaved badly - which might be too difficult - just help her notice her behaviour to start with, by asking something like "Did you mean to be so rude?", "Did you notice how horrible you just were to DB?", "Oh, that was a much nicer way of talking! What do you think made it sound so nice?", etc.

And also, I'd say it's worth trying you think will help your DD to feel happier, because that will almost certainly make her behave better.

Goodness, I've waffled on long enough, I'll shut up now in a moment!

I'm not saying your DD should 'get away with' being horrible to her bro. I'm saying that focussing on the horribleness and punishing it hasn't worked; so instead you could try focussing on the positive, and leave the negative to take care of itself...

achillea Sun 27-Jan-13 01:10:27

Part of the fighting is about giving each other emotional space. It is normal for siblings to fight and argue, it wouldn't be normal if they didn't.

Apart from that obvservation I can't top the advice that flow4 gives above. My dds are at each others throats too.

Dd1 is now moving out of the shared room because dd2 is being impossible. She is prepared to take the box room. In our case dd1 has no privacy and she is ready for some, dd2 has no respect for personal space (additional needs etc) so it is time to separate.

I'm sure it will settle.

Cervixfiddler Sun 27-Jan-13 02:26:00

I have been going through the same shit with my kids. DS 13 and DD 10. They have driven me mad since she learned to run and talk confused They are both pretty vile to one another, though she is far worse than him. He's pretty chilled tbh. She's a bloody termagant. In fact, she was a mere 6 mo old the first time she pulled his hair and screamed bloody blue murder because he had the cheek to sit on my lap next to her. After years of navigating through the hell that is parenthood, I think I keep things under control with my own threats of violence and apocolypse being visited upon them when they dare to fall asleep and risk me becoming a mad woman from the depths of hell... I think this whole situation is normal - unpleasant as it is - and Flow4 gives really amazing advice that I will use more often myself. Also, I was considering that your DD might be on the verge of puberty and the hormonal upheaval of that might be causing her to be viler than normal. God knows I was a horrible little bitch at that point in my life. Like you, when my son has had enough, I also tell her that she deserves the slap / kick / punch / push / menial strangulation / nosebleed / partial drowning / etc that she got, coldly watch her cry in frustration because I will not take her side and quietly let DS know on the side that lashing out in violence really isn't the best way to go, but if he does feel the need in future, leave no evidence behind and the rose patch out back is a pretty good burial site. wink Above all, try to keep your sense of humour or you'll end up in a mental facility before they are 18. Good luck.

porridgeLover Sun 27-Jan-13 09:05:56

Excellent, excellent post flow4

Theas18 Sun 27-Jan-13 09:15:04

In think your ds apologising is enough tbh.

As regards your dd you can either come down on her hard and make her earn trays like riding. Or, and it's supposed to work, though you won't initially like doing it....spend more one to one time-more cuddles, walks outside, girly films etc.

Oh and your ds is 13 . How about cutting him some space without her? Can he really not stay home alone for a couple of hours instead of standing around at riding?

Startail Sun 27-Jan-13 09:39:23

Lay off the sanctions and read the chapter on punishment in
"Who to talk so teens will listen and listen so teens will talk"

If she's anything like my DD2 your DD, deep deep down hates being the youngest, she hates the one thing that is in no ones power to change. She hates the fact that she is powerless ever to change that.

If you punish her that heightens her feelings of anger and resentment, it heightens her feeling that she's at the bottom of the heap.
She will blame you for being horrible parents, she will blame DS for ever being born, but she won't behave any better.

You need to find a way of giving her the control and independence she desperately seeks without her perceiving it as a reward for being vile.

Seriously I'm not one for parenting manuals, But in this case READ THE BOOK!


specialsubject Sun 27-Jan-13 10:22:25

You already HAVE a delinquent. She might be only 11, but she is nasty and vicious. You are doing her no favours by letting this carry on, everybody hates the school bully. If she 'doesn't know why' then she can just stop.

they don't have to spend time together (Who would want to spend time with her as she is at the moment?) but he mustn't live in fear in his own house. Why didn't you stop the horrendous 'sssh' the moment it started?

stop her abusing him, make the place safe, remove all her entitlements - and then start trying to change her.

best of luck.

flow4, excellent post and I agree with everything you've have said.
The challenge is to put it in practice when tempers are running high and, when there is physical violence involved, protecting the current punchbag in the heat of the moment.

But yes, v v good advice in your post.

Abra1d Sun 27-Jan-13 12:54:30

OP> you might be describing my children a year ago. My daughter, two years younger, would wind up my son, who is a bit of a 'reactor'.

She has now stopped winding him up and has become very supportive to him.

It's very sad and awful to relate this, but I think one of the reasons, apart from growing out of it, perhaps, was that two teenage boys known to us killed themselves in separate and unrelated incidents. It showed her in the most tragic way possible just how fragile and vulnerable boys can be. I don't think either of these boys were being bullied or teased, by the way: there were other things going on, but it made her think about her brother and realise that she did care a lot about him. She had a real shock on both occasions and was visible shaken.

I hope and pray nobody else needs to have these things happen to have conversations like this, but perhaps some general chat about the sad things that can happen to teenagers and how we all need to look out for one another?

"your DS has been very restrained - i would have smacked her long before now if she spoke to me like that"

Me too! Whoever mentioned natural consequences is quite right. The natural consequence of goading someone day in, day out, is that one day they'll turn round and wallop you. If you're lucky, maybe his reaction will actually teach her a lesson and make her think twice next time she opens her mouth.

YY flow4 wise words.

I have had issues like this in the past between DS1 and DS2.
One technique which had some success was that I talked to DS1 quite calmly about the effect his attitude to his brother had on the family as a whole and me in particular. How sad I felt when I heard him putting down his brother or sneering at him. How family life as a whole was being spoilt by his unpleasantness. He was quite taken aback by this and made visible efforts to improve.

Oh dear, really sorry to hear this. I can only echo what others have said. Your daughter behaves like she does because she can get away with it and go riding. A win win for her.

Your son at some point will reach puberty and grow into a very big unhappy young man if this continues. I agree with others, I would not punish him for this outburst, I think he has done extremely well to contain himself so far.

I have no idea why she behaves like she does and can't help you there. Is it worse on certain days of the month, if so she could be hormonal. But also how does she behave with her peer group?

She needs to know what is acceptable and what isn't. You need to carry out any threat that you make and be prepared to not go riding even if you have to pay for it anyway. You must not back down.

My DD always has a disgusting room, I ground her if it isn't tidy and she won't get pocket money either if she doesn't keep it nice. She knows the rules. Thankfully she won't go near her brother (who is just under 6ft 5' now) to be nasty - she wouldn't dare!

Startail Sun 27-Jan-13 17:55:39

Seriously read the chapter I suggested it's coming from exactly the same ideas as FLOW4s link.

It's just easier to read, has cartoons and a practical plan of action.

It's not a new book, your library or a friend probably has a copy. It's stupidly expensive for a light weight paperback even on kindle.

flow4 Sun 27-Jan-13 23:04:26

You're right, Pacific, it's absolutely not advice to put into practice when tempers are running high and/or when physical violence is involved.

The OP was asking for advice/suggestions about 'long-term strategy' (I think), rather than 'crisis intervention', so that's what I was focussing on.

When I think about it, in 'crisis' circumstances I aim to:

1. Prevent if possible: distract 'em just like toddlers tho' maybe not with bananas ; head it off with some other activity; separate in anticipation, etc.

2. Remind kids of no violence rules (they sometimes seem to forget v easily when they're angry hmm )

3. Listen out for whether they're equal participants: since my kids rarely argue in front of me, I am often making judgements about whether/how to intervene from another room - it's very tricky, and I don't always get it right. I agree with achillia and others who say some sibling conflict is normal, and actually I think that if parents always intervene it can cause problems, because the kids don't learn to resolve disagreements for themselves... But I find I can usually hear a 'change of pitch' or some sort of 'escalation of emotions' - a sign that one or the other isn't coping any more - and that's what I listen out for.

4. Checking/giving feedback: I call something like "Are you both OK? It sounds like that's going too far". This gives them both the opportunity to take it down a notch if it's a 'fair fight', and gives me more of a sense of whether everything's still OK.

5. Intervene if one of them isn't OK or can't 'handle it': sometimes that's the younger, smaller one; sometimes it's the older, more insecure, less articulate one, who's more likely to 'snap' and be violent. I intervene very directly by entering the room, shouting "Stop it!" before anything else, and if necessary stepping in between them (but that point hasn't been reached for a very long time).

6. Separate: sending or taking one of them out of the room. I can't really 'send' them to their rooms any more (at 13 and 17 - they just don't go) but usually the one who had had enough is happy to come with me.

7. Express my dislike: I'll reinforce that I don't like fighting, or that they went too far, or that one of them was out of order.

8. I don't use sanctions: I learned a long time ago that unless you see every moment of a conflict, you can't be sure who's 'right' and who's 'wrong', and anyway punishment doesn't seem to work (see above).

9. Don't give it more attention at the time: You know that old bit of advice, Ignore the behaviour you don't want to encourage? Well, because of this, I give conflict as little of my attention as I can manage, at/around the time it's happening. Once the immediate crisis is over and I have (I hope) prevented anyone getting hurt or losing control, I don't fuss or comfort or nag. If anyone is upset, I'll give hugs, but I'm also likely to say something like "Well, you should have walked away sooner".

10. If anything needs discussing, talk about it much later: IME, nothing constructive is ever discussed in the immediate aftermath of an argument or fight - adrenaline and testosterone mean no-one can think straight for a while. If I think they need to talk about something, or I need to say anything about their behaviour, I'll do it hours later, or even the next day.

It seems to work reasonably well. My boys dislike each other fairly intensely - my youngest says he hates the eldest - and they have very different 'attack styles (my eldest is more likely to be physical and my youngest is more likely to be verbally nasty or cruel) - but they haven't 'totally lost it' with each other ever, and conflicts where someone gets even slightly hurt (as opposed to angry) are very rare - maybe 3 times a year. I reckon we get to 'stage 4' maybe once a month. They wind each other up a lot, but it hardly ever gets unmanageable.

I am less good at handling conflict/aggression when it is directed at me tho' - or I used to be - but I have (sadly) had quite a bit of 'practice' with DS1 and learned a lot. And I have found it much easier since I introduced the 'no violence' rule...

Sorry - I've made a couple of long posts now! blush I guess it must be useful for me to think it all through like this!

FredWorms Sun 27-Jan-13 23:13:59

Blimey, the riding thing got people going didn't it? It's not regular and it's free, a relative has a horse and it was a pre-arranged thing. I encouraged DS to come along because he spent much of the day before alone at home messing on his computer and I thought fresh air might do him good. I'm certainly not bending over backwards to appease her.

The thing is, as a few perceptive readers have noticed, the sanctions aren't working. "Coming down like a ton of bricks" doesn't work. I removed her phone last night, she's not getting it back until she's been civil to him for 3 days. She loves her phone. It's her first, a Christmas present. She is v angry and has been nasty to him several times today. It's not working.

I've ordered the book Startail, thankyou.

I've also tried praising the good stuff, spending time with her etc. I'm stumped, tbh.

Cervixfiddler, you are my friend grin

FredWorms Sun 27-Jan-13 23:25:12

I should perhaps say a bit about DS. He's articulate, charismatic, kind, much loved by his teachers and is a total star. He is a big character, verbose; a hard act to follow I should imagine.

Startail, I have thought for some time that DD can't stand the fact that he's older than her, knows more than her, reaches milestones first etc. She goes wild if he tries to offer advice to her about anything. She has put herself in positions where she messes up at school rather than accept his advice about which classroom to go to or whatever.

Startail Sun 27-Jan-13 23:48:54

DD2 doesn't like being the youngest at all.
Despite the fact that she reads, spells and makes friends far more easily than her dyslexic big sister (who is three years older), she still hates it.

There are several threads running at the moment about DDs and DDs of 11. Seems to be a very frustrating in between age.

I was a horrible Y5/Y6 very disobedient and cheeky.
I think DCs that age want more freedom than they can handle, but are still very insecure and want to hold on to being little kids too.

My two are totally different and surprisingly don't fight.
Partly because DD1 is very tolerant of DD2's control freak nature and let's her have her own way. Partly because DD2 knows any cocky school work or friendship snide comments get her sent instantly to her room.

They have too, DD1 is only tolerant up to a point. Then DD2 is likely to get thumped. DD1 is not little, never has been.

Also we live in the middle of no where if you want company you need to get along.

I have the book from the linty and the chapter reminded me of a year 5 boy in a class I helped in.

Teacher wanted to talk to his mum because he was being a grade A pain. He said to me he didn't care he'd already had all his privileges removed and he couldn't see what else she could do. He really didn't care.

He was 10 and he had a brain, but he just accepted that he'd always be being punished and in trouble.sad

Startail Sun 27-Jan-13 23:50:12

Library not linty

steppemum Mon 28-Jan-13 00:12:19

my 2 oldest are like this, but much younger. my older ds is constantly relentlessly horrible to his younger sister. Compounded by the fatc that he is nice to and very sweet to dd2 who is the youngest.

I think it is insecurity underlying it. He thinks we love her more than him. She is calm and co-operative and 'good' and he is emotional, reactive and kicks against everything.

We try several tactics of giving him time, which makes him calmer.

We also have a zero tolerance to meanness. One mantra I have is that everyone in our house has the right to be there and the right to be respected in their own home.

He has ot leave the room/go to his room if he continues wiht his unkind comments.

It doesn't really hit the underlying stuff though. I wish I could help more, as I see ours going on like this into the future.

one thought. My brothers were consistently horrible to me until my parents went to work overseas and we all went to boarding school (aged 9, 11, and 13) in the first holday together the teasing had just stopped. Space and disctance and their own lives away from me did something

I think Flow should write a book. I'd buy it. smile

Just a thought re sibling rivalry - my brother was 18 months older than me and seemed to always do everything first, know more than me, etc. (Don't remember behaving like OP's DD, mind you....) Anyway, we ended up going to different secondary schools (boys' grammar and girls' grammar) and I was quite pleased about this. For me it cut down on the feeling of trailing in someone's footsteps, and it was nice to be able to make my own way.

Flow's book has been written (see above link) grin
My own problem with crisis intervention seems to be that things can flare so quickly and suddenly that I don't see it coming until the fists are flying. They are good at making faces at each other (silently) until sombody, usually DS2, loses their rad.

Fred, I am certain with my 2 that low self-esteem/self-worth has a lot to do with DS2's outbursts. DS1 is v academic, high flyer at school (they go to the same school, natch), popular, funny, much better at 'reading' social signals, emotionally far more mature than DS2 than their 12 month age gap would suggest.
So, DS2 feels rubbish at everything not because he IS rubbing, but because his older brother appears better at everything. In fact, DS2 is doing just fine in most things, and is better at some other things than dS1 ie sport. He just does not value it the same.

Today they were fighting over who brushed their teeth better, for goodness sake hmm!

I have been trying hard to get DS2 involved in some activity, any activity, that DS1 does not do, but he point-blank refuses to go to rugby/cubs/art calss. For I care, I'd take him ballet dancing, just get him a taster of something that might turn out to be his 'thing'.

Sorry, to offload here. I clearly have nothing particularly helpful to say, other than offer sympathy. I saw his counsellor today who felt that things had improved before Christmas (they had) and was going to close his case, but I asked her to meet with him again. He is so much happier when he has been to see her. From what I can tell, she does nothing radically different than what I am trying at home (getting him to look on his good points/strength, getting him to set goals etc) but it seems to much more effective coming from somebody who is not-mummy IYKWIM.

So maybe that is my genius helpful input on your thread, fred: consider getting outside help inivolved?

He is not rubbing FFS, rubbish <proofread failure>

greencolorpack Mon 28-Jan-13 13:20:08

My ds and dd are getting into winding each other up on a regular basis, it's getting annoying. What I say to them is "imagine you are a grown up and you phone your sister/ brother and they screen their calls because you were such a horrendous bully and scumbag to them when you were this age.". At the moment this is a sobering thought to them. I answer calls to my sister cos we get on well but often screen calls from my parents cos they are a mind trip. So it's not like I'm talking about a scenario from fiction.

Fredworms, how about a family meeting where you get the children to reflect on the things they have said to each other and discuss how those things made them feel. Then get your dd to write down "when I did this it made my brother feel x. I would not like to feel x, so I will try not to do it again.". The act of writing essays is long winded and boring and forces them to think about their behaviour.

FredWorms Mon 28-Jan-13 13:31:18

flow, please don't apologise for long posts, it's all useful smile

chocoluvva Mon 28-Jan-13 13:45:31

My DD used to wind up her younger bro something chronic and he'd react violently. DH and I would tell him off, but not really impose any major sanctions. I really sympathise OP, it's so wearing. If DD complained that he'd been rough with her we would acknowledge that he shouldn't have behaved like that, but also remind her that she knew he was likely to lash out if she wound him up, so it was foolish of her to do so.

It's hard to know in your case whether talking to your DD at length will yield any insights into why she's so mean to her brother. It might or it might not.

It could result in her being even more mean to him if her behaviour is motivated partly or wholly by a need for attention (even though the attention she gets from this behaviour won't be positive) or it might be really helpful.

For just now, I'd be hopeful that after finally seeing the "natural consequences" of her behaviour she begins to grow out of this.

Is your DD at secondary school yet? Once my two were both at secondary school they became more 'equal' again and had more in common.

I hope things either resolve spontaneously for you or some of the suggestions here work. I'm sure things will improve. smile

getoffthecoffeetable Mon 28-Jan-13 14:14:36

She's definitely not being bullied at school is she? Just checking that your DD isn't mirroring what might be happening elsewhere.

For what it's worth, my two brothers were like this together but now get along fine now they're both grown up and have left home. Doesn't help you with the situation now though I suppose.

I have no useful advice. Just wanted to wish you luck.

flow4 Mon 28-Jan-13 17:21:16

You mean someone's beaten me to it, Pacific? Dammit, I'd just started planning my literary career with scwirrels as my agent ! grin

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