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Sibling Rivalry

Posted by on Jun. 15, 2013 at 8:04 AM
  • 5 Replies

Hello!  I need some advice about my oldest 2 children.  They are boys and are 17 months apart.  They are 8 and 6.  My concern is that my 6 year old is always trying to be like and do everything his older brother does.  I know this is normal to some extent, but he just takes it way too far!  He cries a lot and feels left out if his older brother gets to do something, even though he did the same thing the day before.  We try to let them have time with me or their dad alone because they are together all the time.  He acts out and wants attention.  I try to give all my children equal attention, but I have 4 so it's a juggling act.  They also fight, hit, punch, yell at each other.  I feel like a referee all day and I just can't take it anymore!  Help!

by on Jun. 15, 2013 at 8:04 AM
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by Bronze Member on Jun. 15, 2013 at 8:08 AM
Normal. My boys are 15 months apart. I swear it's worse than having twins! I will say as they got older, it got easier. They still argue but it's over and done quick.... they now have their own friends and interests so it's not a competition any more. They are 18&17 now 
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by Platinum Member on Jun. 15, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Mine are 13 months apart. We didn't have it until HS even then it was very minor. Mine didn't hit or punch. What I did was talk to the older about how his little brother looked up to him and adored him. How he needed to be the big brother and set a good example. We did make sure they each had their own set of friends. They did share a group but then had their own. They pretty much did everything together and got along really well.

I think your younger one needs to be ignored when he throws a tantrum. When it starts tell him go do that in your room . Then walk away. Do NOT speak to him until it stops.

by on Jun. 16, 2013 at 2:01 PM

 Sorry wish I could help. But mine are 10yrs apart! And with only 2 kids it was pretty easy to make sure everyone felt equal or whatever.

by on Jun. 16, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Having alone time with mom/dad is very important even if it is just doing a craft or watching a movie while the other kids are in another room. Also it would probably help if you explain to big brother how little brother looks up to him.

by Member on Jun. 17, 2013 at 2:46 AM

Over all, it sounds pretty normal, especially the way your 6-year-old is trying to manipulate you.  I don't know how old your youngest two are, but that may be a factor as well.  If there is a big enough age gap, it could be that he is trying to distance himself from being a "baby" by being like his older brother.  While they definitely both need one-on-one with both you and their dad, age does have its privileges, and the younger son should not be allowed to manipulate extras by his behavior.  Don't referee, when he cries because he can't do something, calmly explain that only babies cry when they can't have their way, and until he decides to act his age, he will be treated accordingly.  If he complains that he is feeling left out, firmly remind him of the times when he got to do something that his older brother didn't.  I have four boys myself, and when they were younger, I felt like a spinning top trying to give them equal attention at times.  It took me a while to learn,  but the easiest way to stop refereeing is to not let any given situation deteriorate into a competition of who got what and when.  Keep it focused on the child who is complaining.  Sometimes they have a legitimate gripe; most of the time, it is they don't like the fact that life is not fair and they can't have what they want when they want it.  The fighting, hitting, punching, and yelling is also somewhat normal.  I had strict limits about what was and wasn't allowed, but mine outgrew it about the time they hit their late teens.  You may want to read, "Have a New Kid by Friday" by Kevin Leman.  It is a quick read and offers simple, practical, easy-to-implement parenting tips that really do help change your children's attitude.  I know after I read and applied it, it took a lot of the stress out of dealing with my kids' drama.

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