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Please give me tips of dealing with sibling arguments.

(42 Posts)
slipslipslippy Tue 22-Jul-14 10:47:42

DD's are 3 and 6 and cannot be together without arguing. It is enough to drive me up the wall.

Mainly dd1 is bossy and likes to mother dd2. This can involve telling dd2 off, telling her how to do something instead of letting dd2 work it out and generally wanting to be in charge/be the boss all the time.

DD2 hates this. Quite rightly she considers herself dd1's equal and doesn't see what right dd1 has to tell her what to do or how to behave.

This results in arguments or dd2 lashing out at dd1 in frustration. DD1 then comes crying to saying 'dd2 has just hit me/pinched me' etc etc. I then have to tell dd2 off because hitting is unacceptable but I do really sympathise with dd2. I would feel like hitting out as well if someone kept criticising me or trying to stop me playing.

DD1 is a complete fun sucker. She sucks all the fun out of life for dd2. Even at the water park the other day, dd2 was running around enjoying herself, having fun. DD1 kept stopping her, telling her off, telling her where to go, what to do etc. In the end dd2 hit dd1 in the stomach (not a punch) and then ran away from dd1. I had to call dd2 over to tell her off. This completely spolied dd2's fun and dd1 was the instigator. I am so fed up of this that I lost my temper and told dd1 that she keeps ruining dd2's fun, made her stand next to me, outside the play area and then proceeded to show her how much more fun dd2 has without her.

I know this was unaccountable. DD1 just look confused. In the end I sent her back into play. She doesn't understand what she is doing wrong and I must be explaining it really badly because she just doesn't get it.

I can't cope with 6 weeks of this .. please help

slipslipslippy Tue 22-Jul-14 10:49:44

I know this is unacceptable*

slipslipslippy Tue 22-Jul-14 11:19:32


slipslipslippy Tue 22-Jul-14 11:56:38


TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Tue 22-Jul-14 12:03:23

Can you invite a friend of DD1's to distract her from big sister teacher mode or a third child somewhere in the middle? An older child who bosses her around would be ideal as you can point out that her sister doesn't like being bossed around too much either. grin

Is your daughter used to being top dog at school - oldest child in the class or leader in her group of friends. She could simply be a bit lost suddenly being out of that environment.

Have you looked at your own behaviour here? Do you frequently ask DD1 what DD2 is doing? Or to keep an eye on DD2 while you do X, Y, Z? Do you hold DD1 responsible for DD2's actions - if she gets hurt or trashes the room etc?
Speaking as an oldest child, it was very difficult to switch off the pseudo parental role and be a child when it suited my parents to parent. It's totally altered my relationship with my siblings and formed my character.

With my own children I've been extremely careful never to put my oldest in the position that I was put in. That said, an older bossy sibling gene is evident anyway and we have tried to curtail it as much as possible - "it's our job to look after/tell off etc" - it's your job to be your sister's friend. It has a small effect.

5madthings Tue 22-Jul-14 12:06:51

Well for starters you need to stop your dd1 from telling f2f off. Tell her it's not her job, you are the parent. You need to intervene/stop dd1 before dd2 gets to the stage of lashing out,

Also read siblings without rivalry.

CheeryName Tue 22-Jul-14 12:07:07

Reward chart for not squabbling? Ie don't call it being bossy, so it seems it applies to both, but should tackle the bossiness.

Or get DD1 one of those babies that cries all the time ;)

morethanpotatoprints Tue 22-Jul-14 12:09:41

Tip no1 Buy and use ear phones.

Tip no2 Don't get involved.

Tip no3 Don't worry its normal

Tip no4 Whilst annoying, its normal.

HumpsForHalfMile Tue 22-Jul-14 12:16:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Iggly Tue 22-Jul-14 12:18:05

Is she copying you? Especially as she looked confused!

slipslipslippy Tue 22-Jul-14 13:08:58

I need to buy that book.

I do tell her its not her job to tell her sister off, its her job to be a child and have fun.

But she can't help but step in. She probably is copying me and her Dad and telling dd2 stuff that we would tell her but firstly, its not her job to tell her and secondly she is 6yo and has no idea when to tell off/when not to etc

I don't think I encourage dd1 to parent dd2 now but I think I was guilty of this in the past; 'look after dd2' when they head off into a busy park and its difficult to keep an eye on them or telling dd1 'you are 6 you should know better' if they have trashed/broken something blush

Is the damage irreparable?

ComfyLeatherChair Tue 22-Jul-14 13:39:26

Watching with interest.
I have used both the 'peace mat' Montessori technique and the 'both of you can sit on the sofa until you have sorted it out' technique which has helped them learn to resolve issues themselves. HOWEVER unless I keep a discreet eye on the process DS1 always 'wins'.

ComfyLeatherChair Tue 22-Jul-14 13:41:36

I agree with stopping the elder child parenting the younger child... It is difficult though because you want to foster a sense of 'looking after your little DS/DB'

slipslipslippy Tue 22-Jul-14 13:44:12

What is the peace mat?

I do the resolving thing as well. Sometimes dd1 can resolve things before I have to get involved because she knows my involvement may not end well for her eg time out

Iggly Tue 22-Jul-14 13:44:16

She probably is copying me and her Dad and telling dd2 stuff that we would tell her but firstly, its not her job to tell her and secondly she is 6yo and has no idea when to tell off/when not to etc

Then go easy on her. How on earth is she supposed to figure out what's right and wrong - she is doing what you do? Which may make it harder as children hold up mirrors to our behaviours in such ways that make it painful to see sometimes. Maybe that it why you reacted that way.

The other day my dd said to ds to "get into bed" in quite a strong bossy voice - I realised she was mimicking me! Which immediately made me realise I sound awful when I go on at them. So I try and save "the mum voice" for serious things.

Encourage her how to behave e.g. tell her to show dd how to do things, how to play and the rest of it.

slipslipslippy Tue 22-Jul-14 13:49:15

I know exactly what you mean Iggy.

I do try.

I say to her 'try and find the nice way to say it' and I point out how she could do it differently.

Sometimes I just snap though blush

5madthings Tue 22-Jul-14 13:53:55

Ok well yes you want her to look out for het sister but not tell her off.
I told mine if they thought their siblings were doing something naughty or something they shouldn't that they shouldn't tell them off, they should come and tell me!

And yes it's ok to ignore to a degree, they need to learn to resolve conflicts but it's not ok here where the elder one is winding her sister up, albeit unintentionally and with good intentions.

One thing I have Saud to mine is would they speak to their friends like that, the answer is generally no! So don't speak to your siblings like that either!

It's hard and ime they go in phases of getting on/ annoying each other.

Maybe when dd1 starts telling dd2 off you just need to be there and reassure her that dd2 is ok and doesn't need to be told off. Thank her for looking out for her sister but encourage her to come to you rather than tell her sister off?

slipslipslippy Tue 22-Jul-14 13:57:40

She does come to me quite a lot already. She is quite good at 'telling tales'.

BigfootFiles Tue 22-Jul-14 14:02:14

"She is quite good at 'telling tales'."

But they have a very strong sense of right and wrong and fairness at this age. I couldn't get DD to bend one school rule even a little without her having palpitations. The older child is the one who feels they have to be grown up in comparison to their younger sibling. Try using questions to get her to reason things out herself: "So your sister did what? Hmm, and what should we do about that, do you think?" (or even, "Hmm, do you think we need to do something about that?") Then ultimately you can get her to cut you out of the middle as she figures out what to do without you.

Failing that, the "get along shirt".

5madthings Tue 22-Jul-14 14:04:09

Ha ha yes I have ds3 who is of chief telling tales in our house!

Sometimes I say what do you want me to do, do you want me to tell x off? Often they aren't doing anything that needs a telling off, he is just grumpy or doesn't like their game...

Is dd2 doing anything specific that dd1 thinks is naughty or doesn't like? Are there triggers, certain behaviours from dd2 that make dd1 tell her off? If so can you address these? Talk about them being ok or the fact that in different situations some things are ok?

And remind dd2 to use her words and not to hit and she should come to you if her sister us annoying her... Big ask my dd (3) bit ds4(6) yesterday when they were fighting over a scooter...

Viviennemary Tue 22-Jul-14 14:10:41

I agree with letting your DD1 know who is boss. And that's you. Listen up DD1 I'm the Mum not you. You are six years old and in no position to give anyone advice as to what they should or shouldn't be doing unless they are doing something dangerous. But younger ones can be annoying too. I once heard DS letting out an almighty scream. I went rushing in the room. DD said DS had said I bet I can get you into trouble. He was three or four.

TinklyLittleLaugh Tue 22-Jul-14 14:13:06

Slip, you are sounding very much like you have a bit of a favourite here. Your DD1 will pick up on that, she may end up really disliking her little sister.

Hakluyt Tue 22-Jul-14 14:17:34

Does dd1 have any special privileges because she is older?

slipslipslippy Tue 22-Jul-14 14:31:41

I don't have a favourite. I treat them both the same. Which is why I tell dd2 off even though I can see why she has lashed out.

DD1 does swimming lessons, rainbows and beavers which dd2 doesnt do because she isn't old enough yet. Does that count as privileges?

DD1 has many lovely qualities, she is extremely well behaved at school, is very caring towards dd3 (6 months) and is generally lovely .. apart from when she is dealing with dd2.

She does a very strong sense of fairness and right and wrong like a pp said.

Hakluyt Tue 22-Jul-14 14:37:08

I don't think they do count as privileges. Does she go to bed later, for example?

My age gap is a bit bigger than yours, but I found it really helped if dd had a later bed time to ds (pissed him off something shocking, though!) She then had some time with Dp or me or both all on her own. Mind you, I still have to remind her she's not his mother, and they are 18 and 14! On one memorable occasion she said "I know I'm not- but sometimes you do it wrong, so I have to step in"

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