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really struggling to deal with sibling rivalry/violence.

(16 Posts)
familyfun Mon 08-Oct-12 21:30:15

dd1 (5) is being really mean to dd2 (22 months).
she says she loves her and does cuddle and kiss her and read to her but ive noticed that when i leave the room dd2 ends up crying.
it swings from over the top cuddling/squeezing ending up with dd2 getting pushed over/hurt, to dd1 just poking/smacking/pushing dd2 as she passes by and again dd2 getting hurt.
dd2 can be rough and i always move her if she hits/snatches but dd1 never used to be rough back, but now dd2 isgetting bigger dd1 is getting really rough and mean with her.
today dd1 has squeezed dd2s ankle hard, hit her arm three times, swung her round till she fell, and squeezed her in a bear hug. dd2 says stop it stop it and then cries.

i have spoken to dd1 saying dd2 is much smaller and is getting hurt, warned her she could really damage her, put her on naughty step, dd1 cries and says she is sorry and kisses dd2 better (who forgives her immediately) but she carries on doing it.

i give dd1 attention, read to her every night, do her homework with her, and at the weekend i play with her for 2 hrs while dd2 naps, i praise her when she is kind nice and helpful. dp takes her out to the park and plays with her. i go to every school event, go to assemblies, make sure im there for her.

she says she doesnt know why she does it and loves dd2 more than anything.

i dont know how to deal with it, im worried dd2 will get hurt more and more, i cant leave them alone at the moment and constantly have to split them up and feel like its ruining our family life.

help please

familyfun Tue 09-Oct-12 14:00:44


Bundlejoycosysweet Tue 09-Oct-12 14:07:40

I feel your pain! My DS 1 who is 4.10 is always beating up his little bro who is 2.5. It seems to be the first reaction to anything is to lash out, even though he is not violent with anyone else and is a total love to his baby sister.

What I have found helps (I am currently reading siblings without rivalry for tips but haven't finished it yet) is to express their frustrations to each other with words instead of violence and this seems to be working.

I also stop them playing together if they can't play nicely, which seems to incentivise them to try and play nicely together.

The other thing I try to do is find games we can all do together so they see each other as fun playmates rather than just irritants.

HTH. Good luck!

familyfun Tue 09-Oct-12 14:15:31

i am doing too much shouting, i know i am, im just fed up of the constant battles.
dp says thats what siblings are like??

EugenesAxe Tue 09-Oct-12 18:20:20

Gosh you poor thing; it sounds really hard.

I have noticed this recently where never seen before in a girl of 3 or 4, with her sister of 9 months. She has started preschool again (which apparently she has struggled with liking/settling into in the past) and her Mum said she has been getting very tired by the end of the day. I saw & still see (although less now thank goodness) this in my DS (2.9) with his DSis 11m, just after starting preschool 3 mornings a week recently.

Could it be a combination of tiredness and school separation having an impact? I would suggest it's a 'phase' and I think with what you are doing you will see it pass eventually.

Perhaps also ensure you are giving some gentle remonstrance to the younger for bothering/teasing type behaviour? I've noticed that now I have to say 'No!' to DD for things like trying to touch the power socket, DS will look quite reflective about it!

tadjennyp Tue 09-Oct-12 18:58:18

That sounds like good advice EugenesAxe. I am noticing this with my just 5 year old boy (not at school yet as we live in the US) and ds2 20 months. Only ds1 is the middle child and I am concerned that he is reacting as such; being very babyish in his manner of speaking but quite grown up in other respects. He is sneaky with the way he is aggressive towards ds2 though: walking along beside him to knock him over and saying it's an accident. Drives me insane. Removal from the situation and consistent reminding that it isn't the way to treat people?

familyfun Tue 09-Oct-12 21:03:00

the worst time is the hour after school, so yes i think its a bit of tiredness, a bit of anxiety and acting out school things and partly she doesnt want dd2 there after school as she wants me to herself as she hasnt seen me all day.

but i cant ignore dd2 for an hour after school each day.
today it was over the top loving, carrying her round, squeezing her, swinging her but doing it over and over till dd2 gets hurt.

jellyrolly Tue 09-Oct-12 21:14:39

I found Siblings Without Rivalry helpful but can never remember what the books say the moment I put them down.

The one thing I did remember from this book is the idea the forcing good feelings will create bad ones and letting bad feelings be expressed creates good ones. I gave my eldest a book to write/draw etc. his bad feelings and it helped.

Maybe if you find a way of expression that suits your dd this might help? My ds1 writes awful things down "I could kick him all day, I wish he was dead" etc. but then gets on much better with him!

familyfun Tue 09-Oct-12 21:27:44

the feelings book is a great idea as dd loves writing and it would give her time to calm down when angry or overexcited. i will try that. thanks.
might have to get a sibling book.

Bubblegum78 Tue 09-Oct-12 21:32:15

I think you are being too hard on yourself?

I have 3 children and 3 step children, all girls!

It is sibling rivalry, your DP is right.

You are doing everything you can to sort this problem out but we can't as parents solve every problem completly?

Distraction is the best tecnique, you sound worn out, can your DP look after the kids and give you a day to yourself? x

ICouldBeYou Tue 09-Oct-12 21:37:40

One thing I found helped was not to give ds1 any attention at all for the behaviour. Every time he hurt ds2 I would cuddle ds2 and say things like 'poor ds2, come and have a cuddle as you are sad ds1 hurt you. I'm sure he is sorry he hurt you'. That kind of thing.
The fussing is then transferred away from them and it WORKED!
Mines fight now, but ds2 is more able to start it handle it.

familyfun Wed 10-Oct-12 12:58:49

ok i gave dd1 her paper this morning and told her she can write any feelings she has and instead of shouting/hurting to write it down.
she loved the idea.
before school she wrote, i am happy because dd2 is calm, i am sad because i will miss dd2 when im at school.
i think she wishes she was at home with us doing swimming, baby gym like she used to.
i will try and encourage her to use the paper tonight as thats when things normally escalate.

jellyrolly Wed 10-Oct-12 21:04:05

That's really sweet and nice for you to see she loves her smile.

Did it help at all tonight?

familyfun Thu 11-Oct-12 14:08:26

last night she wouldnt leave dd2 alone, poking her, flicking her, blowing her hair, nothing to hurt her just general annoyance so dd2 kept skrieking stop it stop it which dd1 found hilarious.
she wrote dd2 has daddy and i want him, but dp had been cuddling them both and put them both in bath/bed so dont know why she was jealous.

familyfun Thu 11-Oct-12 14:08:54

oh and i fetched the book "sibling rivalry" from the library to read for ideas.

tadjennyp Thu 11-Oct-12 18:31:10

Little ones completely lack perspective though, don't they? At least you can talk about that and remind her of daddy reading a story to her, putting her in the bath etc. It will get better!

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