sisters who hate each other - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 10-23-2009, 01:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DDs, ages 13 and 10, used to be best friends. Now it is a rare moment when they even speak in a respectful tone to each other. I've posted about this before, and once again am at my wit's end. Obviously they need something different than a directive that disrespectful communication is not acceptable. I'm beginning to think one of them needs to move out.

I'm kidding, but only because there's noplace for one of them to go. I really think their relationship would be improved by never having to see each other. That's how awful they are to each other right now. They snap at each other. They glare. They deliberately withhold things that the other might want. They borrow trouble. For example, little DD asked big DD to please remember to e-mail some family friends a video that they made the other day, and big DD said snottily, "I will, but not if you keep nagging me about it 400 times all week long." It was the FIRST time little DD asked big DD to send the e-mail, and big DD putting out that warning just pissed off little DD and started another round of bitchiness. It's miserable to listen to it all morning and all evening.

Has anyone else got girls who have gone through stages like this? What has helped? I'm ready to try punishment--jerking privileges at the first sign of trouble. I'm also ready to try positive reinforcement--rewards for getting through an hour without snapping. I'm willing to rearrange their schedules completely so that they have no activities together, and separate them into far ends of the house. Any other ideas for methods that might work? I get it that they hate each other right now, but they have to live together and they don't get to make everyone else's life miserable.

Help please!
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#2 of 8 Old 10-23-2009, 08:27 AM
 
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My sister and I are 12 months, 28 days apart. I am almost 40 and my mom still doesn't say 13 months. We are as different as they come. For one I am here on mdc and she would not be caught dead here. We do not see each other anymore. There was no fight but there is no communication either and it makes me sad. I do not have a sibling relationship with her to use as a good model so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

My daughters are 11, 6, and 4. There is some of this attitude coming from 11 yo dd. I stop any of it with a comment to be nice, treat everybody with respect, treat your sisters like friends, go be alone if you are not feeling well enough to be around others, we are all welcome here and must be made to feel so, etc. It seems in our case to come from tweenage moodiness. (Ds is 13 and doesn't behave this way for whatever reason.) I understand and accept the feeling but not the behavior.

I think this is a case of repeating myself until I am blue in the face, modeling what I expect and hoping it changes for the better as everyone matures. I know there are better solutions but I can't find them. Whatever they are they need to be real and usable.

You don’t owe them an explanation, just a response.
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#3 of 8 Old 10-23-2009, 09:31 AM
 
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You are not alone.
My sons are roughly the same age (13 next week and 8.5) and going through the same thing only boy flavored. Pestering, poking, cussing, sometimes coming to blows. Disdain from the 13yo. Honestly, my 13yo has been snarky and combative with everyone the last several months. Theres a big difference between 7th grade and 3rd or 4th grade!
It's hard and I hold them responsible for their actions. Hitting, picking on someone is not allowed.
We too are blue in the face with repetition about behavior vs feelings.
Some separation and space is a good thing. They now have their own rooms. They have quite different school schedules. I'm making more efforts for my 8yo to have playdates and for the 13yo to get out, go to the movies with friends, that kind of thing.
I know it will pass and I do my best to not get stressed about it.
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#4 of 8 Old 10-23-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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My sister and I were just like that. Sometimes I wonder why my mom didn't throttle us both. Like a pp said, there is a BIG difference between 13 & 9 and I can vividly remember being So. Annoyed. by anything my sister did (I am the older - so therefore *I* would have been the snotty one) In our case, we just weren't friends for a few years. Sad but true. My parents had us in separate rooms - we shared at one point - which helped apparently. I think that being in the throws of early puberty, hello! hormones! and just a natural distancing of interests was our problem. At 13 I was really not interested in what my "baby" sister was doing. I was in my first year of highschool and had a whole outlook on life

If it helps, we're best friends now. In fact we're also neighbours.

mum to a crew...
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#5 of 8 Old 10-23-2009, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not sure this really matters, but my original post suggests my girls are 4 years apart, and they're really only 2 years, 10 months. (I don't know why I said little DD was 9--brain glitch!--she's actually 10.)

Thank you for the replies. We did have a discussion about the problem again last night and I've come to some conclusions. I'm going to try and separate the girls as much as possible, try some positive reinforcement and also some consequences. There is a dynamic at play that I believe can be reversed, but it's going to take some work on everybody's part. And believe it or not, even though it's big DD who's being the snottiest here, it's little DD who carries more influence. Little DD is a better communicator, has a stronger personality and can influence the mood in the room far quicker and far more blatantly than her older sister. Little DD also has an interest in finding a solution to the problem, whereas big DD claims not to--she just wants to focus on how much she wants little DD out of her life right now. Little DD can be very difficult to live with, but she also can be a very positive influence. Just this morning, she had big DD eating out of her hand after one very polite, respectful exchange. Little DD was purposely being friendly, in hopes of solving this problem, and big DD isn't the type to be rude in a vacuum. At least not for very long. So my strategy is to "use" little DD's interest in improving the situation to help her continue to take the high road, to try and keep the girls separate as much as possible, to crack down on abuse with severe consequences, to continue to help them find outlets for their irritation that don't involve berating or abusing each other. Like someone else said, I understand the feeling, but I will not tolerate the behavior.

I am the younger of two girls, and my sister and I have an okay relationship now, but she was pretty awful to me when we were kids. She even says today that she's surprised I'm willing to be friends with her. And I am willing to be friends, but I'm not eager to be super close. I do not feel that our parents helped us AT ALL in our relationship with each other, and it might not have made a difference even if they had. But I'd at least like to help my girls here, even if for no other reason than to get our household back on a more peaceful keel.
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#6 of 8 Old 10-23-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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OP~Are you homeschooling?
We homeschooled for many years and the constant togetherness CAN get intense. My experience was (and still is) that it is essential for all the kids to have their own thing..be it sports, arts or a peer group.
Whether a kid is homeschooled or not, 13 is a great age to find an adult or older teen mentor, teen group, church or synagogue group. Something that's all her own. The younger sibling has their opportunity when they reach that age.
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#7 of 8 Old 11-02-2009, 08:08 PM
 
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Mine are 16 and almost 11 and it's very difficult. They both need their space and they need each other too. Especially right now, neither is pleasant to be around but they still find those moments of shared time and moments of fighting like a couple of cats.

I do find it helps to have things that make the youngest one feel big.

Right not the big complaint is that the younger one is crowding dd's friends.
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#8 of 8 Old 11-03-2009, 02:39 AM
 
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Witchs Mom, my daughter is almost 15 and my son is 10 and a half and their relationship is similar.

Frankly, from what I've been reading, it seems like this is very typical. Just keep towing the line. It's maddening and a little heartbreaking, isn't it??

Take a look at NurtureShock

He has a whole chapter devoted to how siblings relate, saying Freud was wrong about sibling rivalry. They don't fight because they're rivals for our love. They know we love them. They fight when they don't have good times together. When kids have good experiences together they associate the good feelings with each other. There was more to the chapter, but I haven't finished yet.

Also, agreed that it's great to keep them separately busy. We had the best summer break in ages this last time because dd was out of the house at band practice every day for several weeks.

I don't think there's any one solution, but the struggle to insist they treat each other decently is worth it.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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