Here are my thoughts. The relationship between my 10-year-old and 14-year-old girls has been up and down for a few years. My DD14 is the sweetest, nicest kid, until she interacts with her younger sister--and then she can be a total, er, pill.
I won't tolerate rudeness in the home. Family harmony is extremely important to me (and to the kids, I believe). I insist that they speak kindly to each other and apologize if they've mistreated one another, and I have in the past created a harmony chart where they've earned privileges together by behaving warmly toward each other (no sniping). That worked very well.
As an example of the snotty sort of behavior DD14 will exhibit toward her younger sister, today she was getting a snack out of the cupboard. DD10 leaned around her to get a snack, and DD14 snapped that she needed to wait. I calmly pointed out to DD14 that if *anyone* else had performed the same action, it would have been no big deal, or it would even have started a silly push-and-pull situation. I continually try to get the girls to see how they behave differently with each other, and I praise them when they are kind. I try to participate with both of them in fun activities when possible so that they have peaceful, happy memories of times together.
Having said all this, I think your DD11 is pushing the envelope to see what happens when she behaves rudely. Looking at this:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom
My 11 year old wearing one, the smallest one in the bunch. I asked her to take it off and give it to her sister. She refused.
I walked away. The only reason she was wearing this shirt was to be a snot.
IMO, you shouldn't have walked away. It was rude of her to have taken the smaller shirt, and she knew it. She should have taken the shirt off when you asked her to do so, and when she blatantly refused your request, that was her raising the stakes to see what you would do.
I'm not about being confrontational with my kids--and I do realize that you made a request, not a demand--but I would have clearly stated, following the refusal, that the shirt needed to go to her younger sister. I'm sure your DD would have been angry, but she was being snotty anyway, so what's a little anger on top of that?
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom
The 11 year old told her it looked like a turd, the pancake was ovalish but not brunt or anything. He tone was flat out mean! My 14yo son called her a bitch
: I wasn't happy about that but I have to hide my head in shame and I agree with him. I did correct him.
I'm glad you had the talk with your DS14. I'm sure he's frustrated with the dynamic between your girls. My DS14 gets annoyed by the bickering between his sisters, too! He doesn't get why they are less friendly to each other than they are to everyone else.
What did you say to your DD11 when she was so rude about the pancakes? I think the best you can do is reiterate on a regular basis that it is important to use kind words. If one of my kids were that directly verbally cruel to a sib, I would take immediate action that would include (a) an apology to hurt sib, and (b) a request to take a break to cool down and think about how to treat people more appropriately.
I believe you should nip this sort of snottiness in the bud now. I'm really glad I began working on this issue a few years ago when my girls were your girls' ages. It's not an issue that's entirely solved yet, obviously (and I can't expect my girls to be best friends; their personalities are very different, and they're likely not suited to be close at their ages), but there's a clear understanding that they are NOT permitted to be purposefully mean-spirited or cruel & that harmony is the goal.
You said this is new behavior, so that's in your favor. If I were you, I'd take the girls aside in private and talk with them about what you've noticed between them. I'd ask them how they feel, and what they might recommend in order to have a more peaceful relationship. I'd use that time to emphasize that the rudeness has to stop, and point out that you'd prefer the girls to be active participants in improving the situation--but be clear that you are going to be sure it improves.
I sympathize; it is tough when you see someone you love being intentionally mean to someone else you love.