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Lynda Loveland: Snarky siblings

Posted September 18, 2013

Lynda Loveland

It’s two against one at my house. My kids are six, eight and ten. The boy’s in the middle. My oldest is a tomboy through and through. My son actually said something very sweet about her the other day. He said Campbell is his best friend. Given that tidbit of knowledge, guess who gets left out. 

The older two are always ganging up on my youngest, Carys. They tease her for being girly, being ugly, being stupid, pretty much just being. It makes her so upset.

She usually gets back at them by tattling. She tries to be proactive by being super nice to them. For example, when she got to get a toy from the prize box at school, she chose a three-way popsicle maker she could share with her brother and sister.

She’s a super sweet girl and very generous. She’s always giving them things, making them things or offering to do things for them. She’s like that with her friends too. She has a huge heart and is very sensitive. It absolutely kills me when her older brother and sister are mean to her.

The minor battles I try to let them settle on their own, other times I step in. They probably think I’m playing favorites but what the heck am I supposed to do?

I tell the older ones that Carys looks up to them and just wants to be their friend, blah, blah, blah. That’s about as appetizing to them as liver and onions. I don’t know what to do without creating a bigger divide. Any advice?

Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's The Mix Morning Show. Find her here on Thursdays. Click here to see her Facebook page.


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  • mbsheisey Sep 22, 2013

    To hsiflee: I've had many years of therapy and I've punched him many times! Now our mother has dementia and my husband, who was the buffer between me and my mother has passed away and only now are me and my brother beginning to resolve our relationship.

  • hsiflee Sep 20, 2013

    mbsheisey...Therapy I suggest is for you to punch your brother

  • alwaysab Sep 19, 2013

    We all go through this. Make it a point to have everyone in the family make positive comments about other members of the family. Tell them that hurtful comments are not allowed and that you don't want to hear them. Make it a point to show each one of them that they are special by complimenting them daily. It an make a difference. Good Luck!

  • New York Attitude Sep 19, 2013

    Years from now it just may be your youngest and your middle will be best buds. My kids are 28, 26 & 22 and what I did with them is I'd have them sit down and they'd each have to say something nice about the other sibling. There were times when I'd hear I like her shoes,he has a nice haircut, or he/she can throw a ball really far. Now when we all are together they talk about what they said to each other back when I had them say something nice about their siblings.

  • JAT Sep 19, 2013

    Good gracious, people! Bullying? Lifelong issues? Really? If you have issues because your sibling picked on you, you probably have other issues.

    My opinion: the more attention you give the older ones, the more they'll continue it. They're competing, too, with the pretty little baby of the family, so the only way they can get attention when they want it is to push your button. Use what you did when they were little - they get a reward each time they do something - in this case, not calling the little one a name or picking on her. If that doesn't work, don't stress on it. They'll all grow up just fine and the little one will be all the stronger for it.

  • mbsheisey Sep 19, 2013

    I am 56 years old. My brother is five years older than me and picked on me a lot and if I protested, my mother would take up for HIM. Sometimes, they would pick on me together. It had a terrible effect on me that I am still dealing with today. Also, I was the youngest cousin on both sides of my family so I was the target for more bullying. If I protested, all my mother would say was *shut up.* Yelling at them won't work. And if they see you giving the youngest one more rewards, they will pick on her more. You are going to have to talk to the older ones A LOT about how would they feel if they were in the younger one's position and teach them some empathy. I learned this from a woman I used to work with. It doesn't take one or two talks. It takes a lot of talks with the older ones. Good Luck!

  • raleighmom Sep 19, 2013

    I think a lot of it is just human nature, because we have it in our house and I have all girls. We sat down and created our "family rules" with the kids' input: no sarcasm, no putting others down, no mean jokes. It didn't really fix the overall problem, but it helped us to all be more aware of each others' feelings. Home is supposed to be the "soft place to rest" from the meanness of the world.

  • st5937 Sep 19, 2013

    every house has approx the same little issues ours is no different
    older son 18 and little one 11 big brother always has a tough mean streak while the little one is always loving and caring and doing anything possible to please and do anything to get the upper hand in the house

  • sunflower3443 Sep 19, 2013

    I have the same problem at my house , but you would think i wouldn't since my youngest is 9 and i have 3 teens . i have a 19,(girl),a 16(girl) a 15 (boy) and a 9(girl). and my 9 year old is always sweet trying to make everyone happy , helps everyone ,and her siblings are always so mean to her . I have come to the conclusion that some fights aren't worth fighting. i can yell until im blue in the face for them to be nice , but it never fails its back to the way it was 20 min later. I just let them figure it out them selves . But my 9 year old does get rewarded a lot more then they do . maybe if they start being nice they will get a soda .lol :)

  • bjgupton Sep 19, 2013

    My oldest could be mean to her younger brother and most of the time, just ignored him. But he, like your Carys, is sensitive, giving and has a huge heart. Like you I let them settle it on their own, so the youngest could learn to stand up for himself; but when I had seen and heard enough, I had a very serious talk with her about how her actions were similar to bullying and it was to stop. The oldest cannot stand bullies, so she learned her lesson.