I need to be proactive about dd's meanness - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 08-06-2012, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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My oldest, 7.5, has been pretty mean to her sister.  Since the day we brought her home, it seems.  It's become something of a self-fulfilling problem.  DD1 tries to hurt dd2, I come to resolve the problem, scold, and comfort.  DD1 likes dd2 even less.  She can be meanly competitive, insulting, taunting, you name it.


They are also best friends.  We HS, so they are together day and night.  When we go out together, they are each other's best allies.  I've tried doing things separately, but they always end up asking if the other can come too.  They don't want to do things separately and right now, even though I still think it's great when I can, I can't really make it a reality very often.  


So, I need to deal with this here, at home.  I need to better teach dd2 how to stand up for herself and (more importantly because this is serious) not to internalize the crap that dd1 flings her way.  She believes what dd1 says.  It just pisses me off to no end.


I would love if they could just wrestle and fight like other kids.  Shouting matches--fine.  But this passive-agressive assault has me worn down.  I need to do....crap... something that doesn't look like I'm rushing to dd2's side because that just seems to compound the problem.  Mind, dd1 would be perfectly happy if her sister had nothing, never got her way, always lost....


.....you get the idea.

"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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#2 of 4 Old 08-06-2012, 11:15 AM
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Thats rough. My little brothers were like this. It made it so the youngest was ok with losing all of the time and the oldest was ok with cheating to win. I eventually had to rig (I am 8 years older than them) it so the youngest would win.  THe older would throw fits and tantrums. THe winning over the youngests manifested in lots of other areas, Playing, sharing, and attention from our mom. He had to BEAT him no matter what. So we just ignored the olderone until he was reasonable. The more he persisted the less attention he got. I hate to tell you this but they are 22 and 20 now and there are still issues. The older one only likes to hang out with the youngers friends to be the center of attention. He has slept with every friend thats a girl my younger brother has (Like 10 of them)  including both of the youngers exgirlfriends. The older finally went to the army and the younger can FINALLY be himself without competeing with the older.


I wish we had been more proactive at nipping this in the bud when they were little instead of leting it fester. I am affraid it will be like this until one moves away indefinatley.  Because ti sadly has followed them into adulthood. I have suggested counselling to both but to them they are "BEST FRIENDS" they don't really see it until its a huge blowout and everyones feelings are hurt.

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#3 of 4 Old 08-06-2012, 02:30 PM
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How old is dd2? Have you read Siblings Without Rivalry? I found that book helpful. As for what to do in the moment, I am never sure if I am doing it right, honestly. I try to get the full story and then have the injured/upset child tell the other how her actions made the upset child feel. I usually snuggle the injured child. I don't get involved right away either. They go back and forth some, and I let them work it out. If they come to me for help, my response is just to guide them in talking it out. But if everyone is screaming (for more than a few seconds, honestly) or my 2 YO starts hitting, I jump in.

Maybe just a one-on-one conversation with your oldest might help. Something like: Hey we have this problem. I am sure you have a reason, and I want to understand why you said or did ___(specific example)____. How can we solve this?

My oldest is 8 and my younger dd is almost 3. My oldest tends to act up for attention from time to time, and one thing that breaks the cycle is reminding her that I love her, always will. I love them both equally but differently. Everyone will get what they need when they need it and some of what they want. There will always be enough love to go around, and I love her even when I am upset with her.

Mom to: Honey (6/04) and Bunny (9/09)
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#4 of 4 Old 08-06-2012, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
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DD2 is 5.75.  Yes, I've read Siblings w/oR and it was helpful, but doesn't help much with turning off the tap, so to speak.  Yes, I need to always reassure that I love her, I can never do that enough and I don't do it often enough.  I will say that since the beginning, All of Everything has never been Enough for this girl.  All of my attention, doing her thing (and she is disinterested in doing my things most of the time.)  


I think my nipping it in the bud when it comes out helps dd2 to brush aside what dd1 says.  We talk that this stuff comes out especially when dd1 is grumpy or frustrated, like this afternoon.  When she has to wait for something she is excited about, or disappointed, she starts the insults ("Stupid!" aimed right at her sister.)  And the pushiness (or punchiness.)  We talk about this over and over, from every angle I can think of.


The competitiveness happens all of the time.  (Said in a braggy tone of voice)  "Look how much prettier my hair is than yours.  YOURS is thick MINE is thin and curly."  Or, the ultimate insult "*I* am older than *you*!"  "You're not very fast."  (DD1 is really strong and really fast--really!)  "You're short and I'm tall."  "You're nose sticks up.  Mine is perfect."  I could go on forever.  This just wears me down.  She doesn't get *scolded* for this talk if it's just a comment, but I do talk about how people have a hard time listening to someone talk about themselves, and maybe if she also includes something nice about her sister, then maybe that's OK.


I do promise her that we will find an appropriate activity for her competitiveness.  It's OK in the right places, just not in the family unless everyone is having fun.  I do not compare the girls ("DD2 never insults you.")  I do take some lessons from Sw/oR to heart, and dh is on board with this.  As far as the physical races (when she is racing because she has a deep need to be first, not just racing for fun) I let her know how a real competition works-- exact starts, stop watches, etc.  I think she'll be OK with this when the time comes.  I race her from time to time, just so she has someone to race who doesn't mind losing (and I do!  That girl is seriously fast!)


Ugh.  Today was just a good example of how much this wears me down, how the day would be so much easier to deal with if this BS didn't happen.  I would give dd1 more of my time and attention, and I do, but from my perspective and experience, she is not satisfied unless she has ALL my attention ALL the time.  Like I said already, all of everything is still not enough.

"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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