To think this goes beyond sibling bickering?(67 Posts)
My sister has three daughters, aged 12, 7 and 2. The 7 year old has autism and her 12 year old sister is absolutely bullying her, in my opinion. Some incidents I've seen recently:
12 yo gave 7 yo one of her hundreds of teddies in front of her mum so she would be praised for being kind. 7yo was ecstatic and took it everywhere and played with it loads, only for 12 yo to demand it back a few days later and just chuck it into the pile in her room
7 yo said she was desperate for the loo on the way back from the park, 12 yo raced in to get to the toilet first and purposely sat on it for ages so 7 yo was crying and almost wet herself
7 yo loves drawing and spent over an hour on a picture. She went to the toilet and 12 yo decided the picture was in 'her space' at the table and shouted "if you don't come and move it in three seconds I'm going to rip it up" knowing full well she couldn't get there in time and would be hysterical at the thought of her picture being destroyed. I'm pretty sure she would have ripped it up if I hadn't intervened
7 yo carries a collection of belongings in a bag at all times that she likes to check and count as a comfort thing. 12 yo constantly threatens to, or indeed does, take the bag or some of the items from it and hides them causing much distress
12 yo constantly sets up 'competitions' between 7 yo and 2 yo, makes 7 yo think she's going to win and then makes her lose so she's upset
7 yo had a hospital appointment and 12 yo kept asking her why (knowing full well it was autism-related) and when 7 yo said it was just a check up to see how she's doing at school, 12 yo kept saying "it's because you've got AUTISM, AUTISM, AUTISM" repeatedly until 7 yo was crying with her hands clamped over her ears
12 yo will heavy-breathe on or poke 7 yo repeatedly to cause her discomfort and provoke a reaction
I could go on. It's become a lot more noticeable recently as 12 yo has been out with friends more and 7 yo is remarkably happier when she is. I approached the subject with my sister but she thinks it's just how siblings are She said she agrees 7 yo is much happier when 12 yo isn't there so she struggles to punish her as if she grounds her then she'll just be at home more and horrible to 7 yo even more as she'll blame her.
Tonight they were coming in my car and 12 yo old locked the door so 7 yo was standing in the rain and couldn't get in. I told her in no uncertain terms that I think her behaviour towards her sister is despicable and she looked shocked, but still kept shooting her evil looks all evening.
AIBU to approach the subject again? It's way more than normal sibling stuff right? My heart breaks seeing 7 yo so on edge and tormented.
Oh god that’s awful, yes that sounds like beyond sibling bickering. Would keep pushing it with your sister, it’s obviosuky started with jealousy from the extra attention their Sibling would have got after being diagnosed.
I would bring it up again, does the 12 year old maybe feel a bit left out? hiding the things from the comfort bag and giving taking the teddy seem especially cruel. It really made me upset reading the whole thing. actually typically older siblings are usually more caring and nuturing. I wouod wonder whether the 12 year old needs some time out and love bombing to be able to learn to be compassionate to her sister. It really sounds awful treating her this way.
12 year old needs a stern talking to, your sister needs to intervene. The poor 7 year old is going to have major issues if this is allowed to continue.
no not normal at all, and pretty foul.
Yes i would try and mention it again.
I have 3 kids, teens now, and there is a lot of sibling rivalry, and not much love lost betwene them, but it is basically 6 of one and half a dozen of the other, so one day the older one is being a pain, and the next day the younger one. Even so, I had to intervene when it was beyond squabbling.
This is not squabbling though, this is systematic nastiness.
Oh and in every family I know where there is a child with special needs, there is a certain amount of protection from the siblings, and an understanding that things are sometimes different for them.
Have they always been like this? Or has it been since the youngest arrived, meaning the 12 year old isn't getting any/enough attention any more? It's quite a spread, 10 years total, so completely different needs.
Also, is there any bullying going on? Any change since transition to secondary?
My older DS can be utterly vile to his younger brother, similar sorts of things. Turned out he was being bullied at school and didn't know how to let us know, cry for help behaviour. He also feels pressure from being the oldest, as obviously behavioural expectations tend to be higher for first borns.
That is horrible,cruel behaviour from the 12 yo. Your sister needs to nip it in the bud ,before the behaviour escalates and the younger one is permanently damaged from these experiences, not to mention the mother daughter relationship will end up damaged too. There will come a day when the 7yo will grow up and wonder why her mum didn't protect her.
The 12yo is maybe jealous, feeling left out, alone!
This does by no means condone her behaviour, she needs an adult to be able to talk freely about her feelings and to encourage her to talk.
Otherwise she will bottle it up and pure resentment will kick in just in time for hormones to start too.
Approach it with your sister. She needs a better view of what’s going on!
...Twelve? That's strikingly immature behavior for a 12-year-old. She's old enough that I'd expect her to be a compassionate helper to her little sister, not a bully. Moments of irritation and annoyance, yes, but this doesn't sound like normal sibling behavior, and it needs correcting.
It sounds like classic attention seeking behaviour from the 12 yo.
Does her sisters autism mean she gets lots of special attention and treatment?
The 2 yo is obviously still at a needy stage too, what does the 12 yo get? Other than into trouble...
12 year old sounds like a horrible child. What awful behaviour. Can ypu broach this with your sister?
"...hey I've been feeling really upset & noticed how (12 yr old) sometimes is with (7 yr old). What do you think its about?"
Your aim is to open up a conversation & find ways to help the 12 yr old become less vile to her sister.
Oh my word poor little girl. At 12 years old she definitely knows right from wrong, and she is a bully treating her little sister like this.
This is way more than sibling rivalry, it's abusive and sounds similar to how my sibling treated me growing up and I'm currently in therapy because of it. Definitely try again with your sister, the long term damage to the 7 yo makes this worth standing up for. The 12 yo also clearly has some problems and needs some counselling to work through her thought processes and actions.
I would have the 7 year old to stay as often as possible. She needs a safe place where she is always welcome.
12 yo is pretty much the centre of attention. She's into loads of sports and clubs so they're always ferrying her around and the other two DC can't get a word in edgeways because she's always talking about herself to her mum. 7 yo old doesn't really get any special attention because of autism. The ironic thing is 12 yo is kind and compassionate about the 2 people with autism in her class but horrid to her own sister. I think she's jealous because 7 yo is extremely bright and talented and 12 yo never really sticks at anything to become good at it.
Yes mention it, if fact show your sister the list you have posted here and say if she was the 7 year old how would she feel. The 12 yo is being really horrible, but does she also understand what autism is, or does she see her sister being treated differently and is jealous?
My second child went on a course at the local hospital for siblings with autism in the family.
Maybe there is something like this where you are.
I do, Hollow
Have also heard 12 yo call her a weirdo and a freak when 7 yo has self harmed. My sister helps 7 yo wipe after a poo because 7 yo can't cope with the thought of getting poo on her hands and 12 yo constantly taunts her about it, saying she's a baby and threatening to tell her only friend so she has none
I read this the wrong way at first and thought that it was the 12 year old who was autistic. It's really horrific that she is behaving like that to a 7 year old autistic girl. Your sister is upholding discrimination and harm within her family - your poor niece.
Her behaviour definitely suggests she's unhappy about something- the immediate thing to spring to mind is attention as pp's have said.
I would talk to your sister again, make sure you are not coming across judgy though (easier said than done). Are you able to offer to take the younger children for a couple of hours now and again, letting the 12yo have some time with her mum? Or perhaps take her out, develop your relationship with her and maybe she will open up a bit.
I agree her behaviour is unacceptable and needs to be stopped, but it also needs to be understood- kids are usually struggling to express something if they are acting out or being unkind. Happy kids don't make others feel bad!
I’m sure the 12 year old is being an attention seeker. You’re making some sweeping judgements (eg she doesn’t stick at anything - maybe that’s a confidence issue?) and you’re not there all the time.
Yes the 12 year olds behaviour is horrid but fundamentally they’re still a child.
She is doing it because she can, she isn’t being told off by her parents. Her behaviour is awful but there is normally something going on in the background that’s behind it. Her behaviour is attention seeking, it may seem like she gets a lot of attention but are her parents actually listening to her when she is waffling on about stuff. She may feel that they don’t actually hear her but notices the difference in their behaviour with her siblings.
Missed post about 12 yo getting the attention.... Although still think helping your sister give them time apart would be a lovely thing to do if you can!
I knew twins one developed leukemia which they recovered from. The other one went off the rails. I think the years of worrying about the sick child really affected the other one. The well one grew up to be an awful person, stealing from employers, shoplifting etc.
This really needs looking into by professionals.
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