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Sibling Rivalry and Bullying

(12 Posts)
Tillytoes14 Fri 26-Dec-14 22:14:38

Hi, I have two children, who are 8 and 3. The past three days my 8 year old has been agitating and bullying his younger brother, today during bath time my 8 year old splashed his brother various times in the face with water and also poked him in the eye, he has been snatching of his younger brother, shouting at him, telling him to move, instead of asking him politely and has pushed him the odd time. He has been rude to us also, this behaviour seems out of character (not helped with the long days spent indoors over the Christmas holidays) but, I can see that my oldest son is bullying his younger brother and this is clearly not acceptable and my youngest son is becoming very upset by this.
Any ideas on how to deal with this?
I have written some house rules, which will be going on the fridge tonight, also we will be deciding on consequences, not sure if loss of privilege's or time-out would be most effective.
Any advice is very welcome.
Thanks in advance!

spookyskeleton Fri 26-Dec-14 22:18:31

TBH, that sounds like normal sibling behaviour to me. My 2 are 8 and 6 and treat each other like that quite regularly.

Admittedly the age gap between your 2 may make a difference as the youngest one is fairly powerless to 'defend' themselves.

No advice though but can offer you wine

theknackster Fri 26-Dec-14 22:33:19

As with spookyskeleton, this sounds like an average day with our two. If you do find a solution please let me know! (On a more serious note...it's always worse when they're tired, and the autumn term + Christmas excitement ticks all the boxes. Time out is the only thing that works for us...).

Tillytoes14 Fri 26-Dec-14 22:46:06

Thanks for the replies. I have spoken to my dad tonight, who said it's to be expected etc, I understand what he's saying, but it seems to be more one-sided, my dad's advice was to let them sort it out, but I don't feel comfortable letting them sort it out, with my youngest being much younger. I don't want my youngest son feeling bullied and unhappy in his own home. I've written some rules, such as keeping hands to themselves and no name-calling, just deciding on what consequences to use. It is so hard sometimes!

theknackster Fri 26-Dec-14 22:52:06

On the bright side, ds2 has a wonderfully robust sense of self-worth and confidence now, having been forged in the fires of spite from ds1! Strange thing is that they're thick as thieves half of the time.

Tillytoes14 Fri 26-Dec-14 23:00:00

My dad also suggested working through their differences/conflicts with them, instead of issuing consequences. He also reminded me of the many times he had to pull me and my sister apart, whilst we were pulling each other's hair hmm Ahhh siblings hey!

Holdthepage Fri 26-Dec-14 23:11:16

Don't leave them to sort it out the age gap is far too big. I had an older brother who bullied me relentlessly until I was old enough to stand up for myself, I have never forgiven him for some of the things he did & our relationship now is non existent.

Bullying is never acceptable & being bullied in your own home at the age of 3 is heartbreaking. You wouldn't put up with it from anyone else's child so don't allow your older child to get away with it.

Tillytoes14 Fri 26-Dec-14 23:43:39

Holdthepage-I totally agree with you. I also have a few friends who don't speak to their older sister/brother, due to bullying issues whilst they were children/teens and I can see how it can affect future sibling relationships. The thing is where do I draw the line? I know a certain level of sibling rivalry is normal, but I also think their is a thin line between rivalry and bullying. I feel like a referee at the moment sad

Iggly Sat 27-Dec-14 07:33:55

There's a book called siblings without rivalry. I recommend it.

Also your dad is right to some extent - you need to help them work it out but you need to step in to do that.

The biggest issue is that your 3 year is very young so you need to be there breaking it up. I also wonder if your oldest is getting annoyed - 3 year olds can be bloody annoying. Give the older one some space.

ARGHtoAHHH Sat 27-Dec-14 07:47:18

My sister is 6 years older than me and bullied me mercilessly. My mum was totally unaware of it. She would only do it when mum wasn't around (mum worked 2 jobs so was out a lot of the time) and I was too petrified to tell mum about it.

I don't have any advice, maybe I'll think of something and come back later.

Just wanted to say, please don't just write it off as normal sibling rivalry, especially if your gut is telling you otherwise. Don't allow your little one to be bullied. It effected me in a bad way. My sister has apologised about her horrible behaviour in recent years, and although we are close now, I still can't get the constant bullying out of my head and I don't think I'll ever fully forgive her. She should have been protecting me as her baby sister, not physically and mentally bullying me.

Holdthepage Sat 27-Dec-14 12:39:23

Just to confirm a point that ARGH has raised, whatever bullying behaviour you witness will be twice as bad when you are not there, trust me on this one. My parents never saw the beatings my brother handed out to me & then afterwards he denied it & it was my word against his & my parents didn't know who to believe.

wingsandstrings Tue 30-Dec-14 19:32:08

I agree with you OP that it's not OK, and it is indeed bullying. Sibling unkindness doesn't have to be tolerated just like playground bullying shouldn't be. I have a zero tolerance approach to unkind behaviour between my two, if I hear an unkind comment, see a thump etc I give a warning 'that behaviour is unkind and will make x sad, if you continue to not treat them nicely you have to go to your room until you can be pleasant'. During a particular phase of sibling scrapping that was driving me up the wall I realised that I needed to try and make it all more positive too ie. before something negative emerged I would give every opportunity to do something fun together, to work together for a mutual reward, to give them an opportunity to have a laugh at my expense, to talk about how much we love each other and each child's good qualities, talk about how much I love my siblings anyhow being good friends with them makes our whole family a lot happier etc etc.

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