Sunday, August 15, 2010

Siblings not getting along

The youngest of three children, a 4 year old girl is always getting in fights with her 6 year old brother, but she gets along with her 8 year old brother.  When she gets frustrated she resorts to yelling at her mother and basically stirring up trouble by trying to get her brother blamed for things.  The parent indicated that he tells her to stop behaving the way she is acting and has tried things like time out or punishing her.  I asked if he had asked her how she was feeling or what she was upset about.  He indicated that he had not done that.  He was mainly concerned with stopping the behavior that he didn't like. 

It really helps if you think of children as being inexperienced communicators who need help.  By saying something like, "You seem really upset, come sit with me and lets talk about it." you are opening the lines of communication.  If she hits you or your wife, rather than moving to punishment think of it as a child who is having such a hard time communicating that she is going to extreme to try to get your attention. 

Stop the behavior, seek understanding, give alternative behavior options to get what is wanted, put limit on unacceptable behaviors, interact in a positive way.


  1. And the smarter they are it seems, the more intense their desire to communicate, hence, even more frustration... am I right or close to right?

  2. Oh, we are trying to do better at this... maybe you should come live with us so we don't ruin Levi forever. :)