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professional_Alison, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 78
Experience:  Degree in early years,16 years experience in childcare
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What do I do about sibling rivalry? Boy, 12, girl 10, boy 7.

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What do I do about sibling rivalry? Boy, 12, girl 10, boy 7. The older ones put down the younger ones, and the younger ones provoke the older ones.

Stable, involved parents, even though we both work. They all get straight a's, well behaved in school, and show a moderate amount of compassion to ANY human other than their siblings. The oldest, who fiercely defends his position as smartest tween ever, is relentlessly critical of his younger siblings... but angelic and unendingly patient as a baby sitter for kids outside our family.

When one of them tries to change the dynamic by being nice for a couple days, the others are so suspicious they automatically interpret a genuine complement as sarcasm, and the poor kid gives up.

We never discuss report cards publicly, never say "if only you were like so and so", and try for "fair" in terms of attention and gifts and not "equal", I try to mediate instead of referee, and only intervene if they come to blows. And then I separate them and not punish.

The fighting is driving me insane!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
Hello and Thank You for consulting Just Answer. I can sympathize with you as the mother of three boys and having dealt with sibling rivalry. I like your solution of a glass of wine! That made my day. Are you having trouble with all of them getting along or does it mostly seem like it is the older one who starts the rivalry? Which child seems to be the most annoyed? Has there always been such intense rivalry? How do you usually discipline them when they do not get along? Thank you in advance for the background information to assist you further. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
I will provide you with suggestions that you can implement to reduce sibling rivalry.
Expert:  professional_Alison replied 5 years ago.
Hello there, may I help you? It sounds to me like very typical behaviour and having worked with children for 17 years, i have witnessed this type of behaviour many times. Never the less it is still exhausting. I think a key fact here is to encourage the children to have independence from each other and to respect each others space. As soon as the behaviour gets beyond a few comments to each other it would be a good idea to separate them as one method of diffusing a situation. Another method is to encourage them to do an activity together a board game perhaps something you can supervise and be involved with too. It is important here to remain consistent with your methods of parenting, don't allow any negativity to get out of hand. It may be a good idea to implement rewards for good behaviour but make it something they all had to do. For example a points system which they can all work towards and when they get to twenty for example they get a weekend trip to the cinema or bowling. This will encourage them to work together to get a reward which they enjoy together.

Some of this behaviour may also be due to the fact that they are such well behaved children when in the company of others and at school they probably need to come home and let off some steam. At times like this they need space and plenty to occupy them. I hope this has helped answer your question.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
Hello dear client. I will provide you with the information requested being the original expert who first responded to your question.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks, Alison.

Jordan, you asked great questions. It will take me a little time to answer.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
Take your time. I will respond with some thoughts based on your answers.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The girl in the middle gets the worst of it. She's really smart, but her older brother is, no lie, freak of nature smart, and likes to put her down. "So, sister, what did YOU get for this project?" She's pretty volatile emotionally, always crying or dancing around the room. He's methodical and reserved and has no patience with her nuttiness. She teases him at school and embarrasses him in front of his friends. He insists on getting the biggest piece of dessert and always getting the front seat.

I try not to sort out who is at fault when I intervene, just provide comfort to the wounded. The older one owns that he's mean to the sibs, and every once in a while tries to change his ways. I tell them I love them and that it hurts my heart to see them treat each other badly. They'll go after each other and most of the time I just say the kid's name and raise my eyebrows and they stop, but when I'm busy, it escalates to blows or name calling. And then everyone gets put in a different part of the house. If I have time, I talk with each child individually and let them vent their unhappiness.

They're, in general, fantastic kids and I'm really lucky. I worry that they won't be good friends, or support each other, as they get older.

If this is just normal, fine, but if there's anything I can do to make our home more peaceful...
Expert:  professional_Alison replied 5 years ago.

Hello again,


Having read your follow up information it may be worth talking to your son and explaining that we all have different strengths and weaknesses and he should not tease his sister about her grades but praise her efforts.



You should talk to your daughter about not teasing her brother as school as this is probably antagonizing his beahiour towards her when he gets home. They both sound like they are very different in personality and will treating differently when handling situations.


When you say about him having the biggest pick of dessert and always sitting in the front. Set in place a rota for who's turn it is to sit in the front and insist on equal portions of dessert.


It is right not to look for who's to blame when things happen. You are dealing with the situation very well allowing each child to have their say individually too. This behaviour is normal and just requires your consistency when dealing with the problems as they arise. This should help to keep things under control.


Their relationships will change and grow as they get older. In the meantime keep going, you are doing a fantastic job.


Please accept if I have answered your questions.

professional_Alison, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 78
Experience: Degree in early years,16 years experience in childcare
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