Sibling rivalry and bullying(4 Posts)
My dd (14) has always been the dominant one in her relationship with ds (12) and in the past there have been lots of occasions when she has humiliated him and put him down on a virtually daily basis. I feel that for a long time I let her get away with this (she always framed it as feeling jealous/insecure so I felt guilty). Eventually I decided to put my foot down - I could see my son was suffering to the extent it affected his health & happiness.
Things have been a lot better since then but yesterday the old behaviour flared up just before ds's 12th bday party. Dd got v angry and tried to attack ds (physically) though he got away and wasn't hurt.
In response I banned dd from ds's party (which was at a leisure centre, away from home). In the past she has ruined a couple of social occasions centred around ds (on one occasion punching him in the face at his party!) and I didn't want to risk it again.
On our return she was (unsurprisingly) angry & upset at missing the party but not overtly hostile.
Now she has found out that ds received a lot of birthday money from his friends (in lieu of a present) and she is harassing him about that and making him feel guilty, to the point he was in tears about it this morning. I should add that she gets a generous allowance each month while he still only gets pocket money.
I don't want to inflame things further but do need to protect my son. I am wondering if it would help to empathise with my daughter along the lines 'I know it's hard for you/I know you feel jealous' .. perhaps adding 'but it's not ok to take it out on your brother like this'.
Any thoughts gratefully received!
I think my approach wouldn't involve any empathy - its his birthday, he got money for it, you get a birthday as well, behave yourself.
By continuing to sympathise with her jealousy (she's 14 not 2) you are making it seem as this sort of ridiculous spoilt behaviour is ok. Oh and stop the generous allowance.
Just be firm and fair. You seem to be wavering emotionally and caving to the idea that you have to cater for her jealousy. You don't. Tell her she is lucky to have a sibling (which she is). Tell her to value him and him to value her. And absolutely clamp down hard on the bullying. Don't tolerate it for a second.
So no, I would not say 'I know it's hard for you/I know you feel jealous'. Not at all.
I would say 'DD, you were excluded from the party because you behaved badly. If you continue to behave badly I am going to dock this month's allowance. It is absolutely not acceptable to bully your brother. Go and give him a kiss and say sorry. And me too, come to that.'
This is one of those times you have to be tough. I would not empathise at all with her behaving like a spoilt toddler.
I would tell her that you will never tolerate her being unkind or deliberately hurting her brother. I would tell her that you love her very much and you love her brother equally much and that the way she treats him hurts you as well.
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