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Question
Posted by: Lynette | 2009-03-09

Sibling Rivalry

Hello
I' m not sure if you would be able to assist but here goes.
I have 2 sons - 1 is 12 and the other 7 &  I am having a huge problem with them fighting constantly.
I' ve read all the advise on not having favourites &  teaching them by example, but nothing seems to work. My 12 year old just seems to hate his younger brother &  as parents we have paid particular care not to spoil the younger son, to the contrary the elder one is probably more spoilt, we treat them as equals and when the elder one does well he gets all the praise and recognition he deserves. I have sat him down and had numerous heart to hearts with him and he gets plenty hugs and kisses and love, so I am totally confused as to why he is reacting like this to his brother, he hits him and hurts him all the time, we have now even been contacted by their school to let us know that the treats his brother terribly at school &  that something should be done. I am at my wits end and have no idea how to change his attitude towards his brother

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Our expert says:
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Have you also tried posting this quesion on the Parenting forum, to see what other parents may sugest ?
I gather that despite your long and pleasant chats with your 12-year-old, he himself can shed no light on why he feels so angry about his younger brother ? This is in fact a common phase, often one that doesn't last too long, fortunately, ; and if often lessened if the older boy can get more interested in his friends, hobbies and other activities, rather than neein to spend much time with the younger one.
And otherwise handle this as any other basic discipline problem --- amongst what ought to be your short-list of basic rules, one is to treat his brother well and politely ; and any failure to do so results in demerits, sufficient of which loses him some privilege he values ; doing so gains him brownie points towards gaining something else he wants.
What do other readers suggest in this sort of situation ?

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