Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Sibling Rivalry

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My 7-year-old daughter is disappointed that she has a brother, three and a half years old, instead of a sister. My son is a very active, bright, and loving child. I see a conflict in her for she loves him but hates him at the same time. My husband and I have done as much as we could to show her how we love her by action and words. We spend a great deal of time with her every day. But nothing is enough. Both my husband and I have OCD. My daughter is very much like us in her behavior (incessant). She whines a lot, which makes all of us feel very irritable. Any suggestions on how to convince her that she is important and loved?
Christina

A: I would suggest not continuing the same "dance" with your daughter. She is learning that she can and does get a lot of attention by being demanding, whining and never getting enough. Since she will naturally not change her role in the "dance" (why should she when she has so much power?), you have to change yours.

OCD notwithstanding, you must be satisfied that an appropriate (not excessive) amount of daily pleasant interaction with your daughter is fine. Interaction with her peers, friends and other adults should round out her social development.

I would respond to her whining by saying something like," When you want to talk about this and not whine, I'll be in the other room." Then leave her presence. Hold your ground and don't let her get you frazzled; that's one of the goals of this negative behavior. That and perhaps drawing your attention away from her less demanding brother.

Take a look at Faber and Mazlish's book, Siblings Without Rivalry. They give many examples of how to empathize with your daughter's conflicted feelings towards her brother while letting her know how special she is.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Printable Fall Fun To-Do List
Celebrate the cooler weather with this printable checklist of fun fall activities for your whole family.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Care Package Items for College Students
Show your college student that you love and miss her by mailing a care package full of dorm room essentials and comforting treats. Whether it's her birthday, exam time, or just because, get care package ideas to brighten her day.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!