How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask MaryA. Your Own Question
MaryA., Teacher, Parent
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 5
Experience:  10+ years as a teacher, mother to a teen and 8 year old
Type Your Parenting Question Here...
MaryA. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have two children ages 9 (daughter) and 7 (son). My son

This answer was rated:

I have two children ages 9 (daughter) and 7 (son). My son adores my daughter and she barely tolerates him. Okay - that's not entirely true. At times they are the BEST of friends, laughing, creating new activites, etc. In fact, my daughter has taught my son almost everything that she learns in school - making him advanced in just about every area in the 2nd grade. But, on the flip side, she is absolutely horrible to him. His simply breathing irritates her into being hurtful and obnoxious, which is easy because he admires her so much. He overcompensates (giving her anything she wants to keep her happy) and she becomes even more annoyed. I can't figure this out as this is not behavior that is demonstrated anywhere else in our family. My husband and I have tried reasoning with her, using object lessons, "how would you feel if..." type conversations, but she routinely shuts us down and becomes cold (rolls eyes, looks away, etc.) whenever we try to talk about it. I have considered trying to make her see how he feels by treating her the way she treats him for a 24 hour period of time (because she adores me the way he adores her) but decided against it as a.) it's too cruel and b.) I doubt it would work. At school she is beloved - "the sweetest kid in the class", but at home with her brother - another story. I know some of this is typical sibling behavior, but his constant hurt feeling are making me angry with her, and I do not want to say something in my anger to make the situation any worse. If I could just understand what is going on in her head...

MaryA. :

Hello. I agree with you that treating her the way she treats her brother would probably not work and it is also a bit cruel. I have children of my own and have experienced "sweetest kid in school" followed by oppositional behavior at home. I see that you have already tried giving her consequences and letting her think about her actions as a sort of time out. Have you tried praising her for the positive behavior? Sometimes children will react to praise and positive reinforcement more than to the negative consequences. I would suggest saying something, like "That was so nice or sweet of you" when you "catch" her and her brother getting along. You could also try engaging them in some type of family or child activity where they would have to get along and then praise them for that. For example, having them work on a special project together or a game that is non-competitive. Of course you would be supervising this and providing positive feedback when needed. I'm glad that you are taking your own "time outs" and not lashing out, as this might make her even angrier. I do understand this can be very frustrating, as my own children are 8 years apart and still bicker constantly, but I have tried the positive reinforcement and rewards strategy both at home and with other families and it has worked well. Please let me know if you have any further questions that I can assist with. Or if you are satisfied with my answer please click accept. I am here to help, so please feel free to contact me.

MaryA. and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you