So as the title reads, 2 of my 4 children do not get along. When I say do not get along, I don't mean that they bicker every now and then - I mean that one child really does not want *ANYTHING* to do with the other child.
Miss 8 and Miss 6 have always gotten along. They were BFF/together with no one else for 2 years before Miss 4 came along. Miss 4 was like a third wheel when we bought her home.
Miss 6 was not ill towards Miss 4 at all when she was a baby. In fact, I used to comment on how I had never had to deal with sibling rivalry when a baby came along. Fast foward to the last 2 years or so.. Miss 6 can't stand Miss 4. In fact, she has a very nasty tone with her (only), ignores her and gets jealous/angry when Miss 8 makes an effort to include Miss 4 in their games. Miss 8 and Miss 4 have no issues.. They are not "BFF", but Miss 8 is well aware of the gap and is making a huge effort to include her baby sister in everything.
Miss 4 is a trying young lady. She doesn't listen - period. She has given her sisters a fair amount of greif. She is one of those kids who will do things JUST TO GET ON YOUR NERVE and smile while she is doing what she knows she should not be doing. I never knew such a child could exist.. I thought it was due to poor parenting, but let me tell you, it's all personality. I've done the same thing with all 3 and she is the only one who consistently challenges everyone. I think she lashes out in part, because she has always felt left out of the clique that is Miss 8 and Miss 6. She also has a baby brother Mr 1 who is too young to appreciate her antics. She often ends up being too rough with him and her sisters lash out at her for hurting their "baby boy". She is a sassy and bright girl, wise beyond her years from an social standpoint and knows how to push everyone's button. Miss 6 on the other hand is shy, quiet, very stubborn/quick to anger and very emotional. She doesn't appreciate Miss 4's attitude.
Now, it has come to be that Miss 6 doesn't even want to answer Miss 4 when she asks her questions. It took me 10 minutes of pleading with her today, to get her to answer her sister's question. If they're only 6 and 4 and acting like that now, what is going to happen when they are older? I don't want them to drift apart and have a toxic relationship.
What do I do? What can I do? All help is appreciated. Please help me understand what is going on with Miss 6 and Miss 4. I find myself getting very angry at Miss 6 for her nastiness towards her sister and I'm close to ripping my hair out at Miss 4's constant challenges. Oy, she gives me a headache. They both do actually.. I was secretly thrilled today when both Miss 4 and Miss 6 had a nap and it was just me, Miss 8 and Mr 1 together for an hour. I don't want to feel relieved at the thought of not having to deal with two of my kids - That's awful! :(
I don't know if this helps, but they are all homeschooled and share a room.
Our babies: Our researcher Our comedian Our boundless energy Our streaker Our cuddly bear
A couple things cross my mind. Miss 4 needs to be engaged - sounds like she is a smart and sassy girl. Do you have some games/play/work that she can own? Her things, she is responsible for them and they make her mind a body work? Sweeping the porch, sorting laundry, carrying groceries, etc.
Miss 6 is more of an introvert? Maybe she needs a private place she can escape to when Miss 4 is too much for her? Is there a place in your house that could be a safe place for her to go and be away from noise and process?
I don't have any advice for how to help them get along. I don't think there's anything you can really do. My experience with my siblings is that the mom sets the tone. My mom always sided with my siblings, and that fueled the fires. So other than checking periodically to make sure you are not accidentally choosing sides in their disputes, I don't have any suggestions.
As for their relationship when they are older, if they get along, great! But don't worry if they don't. Just insist that they treat each other with basic respect. Other than that, let then avoid each other, if that's what makes them happy.
I find a huge hurdle in parenting, is in working at teaching everyone (mainly the kids, but myself too as parent) the better ways to express your own frustration with someone else. I think that finding a way to allow them both to say 'I don't want to do that with you/I want to be away from you' that you and they can accept would probably help the most. Trying to get everyone to do things together, even when they don't want to, isn't always ideal and will just escalate conflicts and resentment. It sounds like your Miss 4 & 6 may neither naturally have an easy time to 'just do things they don't want to with people they don't want to' in the first place, just due to their own personalities.
I think the above suggestions for private spaces and working with them about appropriate things to do and ways of minimizing each other's grating actions/behavior for each other would be the best things to focus on. Like, if Miss 6 doesn't want to answer her sister's questions - she needs to at least be up front with that for her sister, and say that she's not going to answer questions right now, and then she doesn't have to. If Miss 4 has her own *need* for asking someone questions, perhaps someone could write the questions down for later. Or she could find a way to pretend and answer her own questions herself, in play. And she needs to respect that her sister can say no - and can be allowed the right to say no to her sister too.
It can be fair and good to have one of them disappointed (though probably unpleasant, for mom or others). That's perfectly okay to be having them teach each other - they can say no and disappoint each other, and get the focus on how there are just boundaries on doing it in respectful ways and a need to respect each others boundaries and being as kind as you can in the moment.
I don't think the conflict is bound to continue through life - eventually they'll develop more interests and probably get along better than they do now (that 4-6 time can be particularly trying, I find , anyway). Good luck mom.