Brother and Sister Hate Each Other!!

Updated on July 29, 2010
S.B. asks from Rocklin, CA
14 answers

My son (12) always hates his sister to the point that he tells me she shouldn't have been born. The girl(15)does not feel this way. She likes/loves her brother but he thinks that she is a pain in the butt. I have had babysitters just to keep the peace. I told the babysitters that they were referees for my kids and some laughed until the two went at it. He will start something by saying something and of course the girl has to have the last word (a teenager) and they start into a fight. The fight can be pushing and shoving, scratching and kicking. It can get physical and usually the girl runs to her room and hides. These kind of fights can happen every week or day or they can only come every month.. it is unknown why this happens. It has been quiet for about a month now and I think it will happen soon again. Any ideas why or what to do? This boy also is one that hates school! Thinks that it is a waste of time to go and the girl likes school, so sometimes that will start a fight. Thanks ahead of time...:)

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So What Happened?

Hi Everyone...

I have been reading all the responses I have gotten..Thank You...Thank You... I have read them all, so far...:) One question that I didn't address that a lot of you have asked is about the dad. He has had no contact with his kids since Christmas time. This is not for lack of trying. I allow my kids to call there dad anytime they want. I have NEVER stopped them from that. My 12 son has had no contact from his dad since that time and he has attempted to call him and left a message, but no call back. I received an email from there dad saying he lost his phone... not a good excuse, but still he doesn't call the house. The kids had spring break and no call from him. I noticed that the hitting and being mean to his sister has subsided but I wonder when it will start up. I am getting married in a couple months and my son and my fiance' get along great...they play a lot. Both pick on each other (fun stuff)... It has been peaceful around here, other than I have another child I am marrying...LOL (that is another subject..:))
My daughter is into band a lot so she goes many places even with the church. My son just sits on his butt and watched TV or the computer.. I have been pushing him outside lately and also turning off the internet (I am not his favorite mom though...LOL). I believe that now that summer is coming and they can get out more, the fighting will not be to bad. I still have the issue with 'Hating ' school. I have talked with teachers, but not much help there. I get the 'Your responsibility' kind of speech from them. My son is in a higher group of kids to learn in because he was tested into this group. He is smart and this bothers me because he tells me he is also bored... We had a few weeks of all homework done and no fighting about going to school.
Well better let you read what I wrote.. I do appreciate all the help... Also will look for the book someone mentioned to see what I can do or NOT do...LOL
Thanks again!!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I had a problem similar to that a couple years ago son 13 daughter 14 and I explained to my son that he would be much stronger then hes sister one day and that hitting is not an option. I took away hes electronics for punishment and grounded my daughter also no phone no friends.One day they will realize they love each other and are fortunate to have one another/ Good luck

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answers from San Francisco on

my brother and i fought a lot like that even into adulthood. we both have mood disorder issues. i would get your son checked out for bi-polar or depression or something. he may have a learning disability and is why he hates school.



answers from Sacramento on

Yup- this is a big problem, but you're not alone. There are LOTS of parents who go through this, and the reasons why the kids act out like this are too numerous to count. There is a WONDERFUL book by Adele Faber and (?? can't remember) called Siblings Without Rivalry. It's short and very easy to read, like a Girlfriends Guide if you ever looked at one of those. As you read it, you will begin to identify things you may be doing without realizing it that contribute to your son's outbursts. It's not about blame, though, but identifying issues (even the best Mom isn't perfect!) and correcting them. For example, I always thought that you were supposed to tell your kids that you loved them the same, but it turns out that that can be very hurtful. We don't love them the same! Every child is unique, with strengths and talents and personality traits that his siblings don't share. Children need to feel loved for who they are as individuals, not that you have x amount of love and you parcel it out evenly. One of the things you may be doing without realizing it (all Moms do this at one point or another) is putting your children into categories that make them feel at odds with each other, and you. If one is described as "the smart one" and the other "the social one" (you're acknowledging their individual strengths, right?), then to the child it feels like Mom thinks one is "the dumb one" and the other is a geek. Can you see how a child might feel that way, even though you don't mean that at all? It's a very hard line to walk as a parent. Read this book. It will help you, I promise. There's so much in it that I never would have thought of on my own. Best of luck.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi S.,
Have at least one day of the week where you take each one of them out... just you and one of the them. During that time give the child you 100% undivided attention. Ask whats happening at school, give praise for positive things, let them explain, complain, and offer love and practical coping suggestions.See if they can get along with others at school. Ask the advice they childrens teachers. In general,give each child ALONE and away time with you, where they get you all to themselves and let them reveal all their issues and give a loving and supportive response. Make sure you are consistent and stick with it.. the kids will come to look forward to their time with mom, also you might find out some very interesting things about what is bothering them and such.I think having this time to unravel(like therapy) alone with you will do wonders and carry over into their relationship with siblings.
best wishes,
mother of 4



answers from San Luis Obispo on

Dear S.,

Firstly, you need to get your daughter aside and talk seriously to her about this situation, she has some thoughts and you two need to cooperate. It is your son who in deep trouble and he needs the love and support of both his mother and sister, is Dad at home?

Go to the school and talk seriously with his teachers and counselors. You may not get any help from them, but you need to let them know that you are on a mission to help your child. Keep asking them for advice about where to go to get help. Then go to the local health dept and ask about counseling for him. Go to the Supt of Schools in your area. Go anywhere, he needs outside interests beyond school and home, and I frankly do not blame him for hitting someone. He probably feels really badly about himself and just hits out and says mean things to let you know that he needs help. He doesn't plan this it just happens. O.K.? Good Luck and perservere for your darling son. C. N.



answers from Los Angeles on

Although it is perfectly, anxiously, normal for siblings to fight, I want to ask you something. Is his father ACTIVELY involved in his life? Whether the two of you are married or not, whether you like each other or not, whether he works 40 hours a week or 14 hours a day, does his dad spend regular, QUALITY time with him. My hubby is here and he LOVES our son and would do absolutely anything for him, but he is still a part time/ weekend dad. But the time he does have, he makes it GOLD.

I ask this because when my Uncle passed away he left behind a 10 year old daughter and a 6 year old son. We’ll call them Kari and Daniel. Daniel was okay for the first few years, and then something snapped inside him. He was chasing Kari around the house hitting, kicking, and yes, even trying to stab her with scissors. Kari would cry and scream “WHAT”S WRONG WITH YOU?” My Aunt couldn’t for her life figure out what was going on. She forced him to go to a counselor until he finally opened up. Part of what was revealed is that there was a kid in his class whose parents were divorcing and he was complaining to Daniel about how little he gets to see his dad. Daniel was angry because this kid crying about seeing so little of his dad, but Daniel didn’t even have a Dad. He also felt as if his Dad had chosen to leave him. (I believe they said it was a form of Post Traumatic Stress.) Daniel had to be re-taught everything he already knew about his Dad’s passing. Once he had again come to terms with his loss, he began to calm back down.

If he continues to behave so violently towards other, I recommend take him to a counselor, regardless of his relationship with his father. It’s also possible that he hates school because someone is bulling him, so he’s coming home and bulling his sis. For what ever the reason, a counselor may be a great option.

Let us know what happens. Take care –Janell-



answers from Los Angeles on

Hello S.,

I'm new to this site and have only read your initial and second messages. I haven't read over any advice you have been getting, but I know with my children whenever they're under stress or pressure they act out.
We had a terrible time with my son for quite a while with biting. Once we solved that he was the 'sickly' child, always coughing and wanting to stay home from school. Then we solved that. Now he just doesn't like to stay after school for tutoring, because he's in special education and when he stays for tutoring it's general education - he is really great in math so he attends a regular math class. The regular education kids have been picking on and teasing my angel.
All this being said, it's hard to know what exactly is going on or bothering them without constantly asking questions and hanging around with them. As a single mom, working full time, I know how hard it is to spend quantity time with our loved ones but we have to find a way. They need to know we are sacrificing for them. I know my friends think I am crazy, going without sleep and without material things so as to provide little extras for my children. But my daughter will be 21 years old in May and there is nothing like having your adult child tell you, "Momma, I love you so much. You always give so much more to us than you ever have. I am so happy you love us so much." And of course my son who will be 10 years old in April, always tells me he loves me.
They all have rough spots. There is a reason he isn't happy and says he Hates school, don't give up til you find out and help him through it. As you know education is so very important.
My children are 11 years apart and they squabble at times. But for the most part it's over, you let him get away with more than you did me at that age. Or she won't let me watch cartoons. I'm blessed with that.
Good luck and GOD Bless!



answers from Stockton on

I'm sensing most of the hostility originates with the boy. Maybe he needs anger management or counseling? There has to be some reason he's acting this way.



answers from Las Vegas on

Hello S.,
First of all I agree with Jennifer (how can you allow this),
this boy needs some restriction I will call him aside and talk , you need to show them that it is not allow fight between brothers and sister and respect is number one in the family.
How can he say that to you that he wishes his sister never been born poor girl she probably feels after all bad. You should call him and sit him at front of her to apologize that is what I do with my kids when they "TRY TO FIGH" I don’t think so it is not allow I always tell them that the only family they have is their siblings once mom and dad are gone.
The same I do when they don’t want to share I said: “ if you open the package of candy at front of your sister/brother you will have to share if you don’t want to share take it to your room without they notice otherwise is for share” and that goes for my 15 years old and my two toddlers.
I also tell them every time I see them kind of mean with each other” Nobody replaces your brother and sister” oh! My gosh! I wish you could see me how tuff I get when they try to fight or be disrespectful with each other. Sit him on the couch next to her and talk to him immediately tell him if this continues you will take all the fun away from him until you see improvement until you see a good brother and sister relationship.
Please don’t allow this in your family it really makes me sad how I see family members including my husband’s sister and brother how apart they are I don’t like that. Probably because in my family we grow up very tie with each other still we are. I remember fights but there was my mom and dad making us to kiss and apologize after an argument.
Take Care.



answers from Minneapolis on

Ok I am a 16 year old teenager and I cannot help but to read your question. I am also an older brother and I don't get along with my sister. But its pretty normal for sibling to fight and say those things. It gets better with time.

I have read your question about your son not setting his priorities straight. I have a suggestion. I know I'm young but I used to be this way, but my father has set me straight.

I have heard all about "the speech" and how all the things I do in school is not for my parents benefit, but for my own benefit. You can always try a strict private school but otherwise here are 3 suggestions.

First, Martial Arts, I suggest a school that is a family owned business, with teachers who have had over 20 years of experience in Martial Arts. I suggest Tae Kwon Do, or Hapkido. Stay away from franchise schools like ATA Karate and National Karate. They are only after your money. My father used this on me. Make sure the teachers are older. The older they are the hardened and strict they are.

Second, I suggest bootcamp. There are bootcamps run by the Marine Corps and ex-military. These guys will set you straight and really fast. But this option is usually for juvenile delinquents. So your son may not be a good candidate for an option like this one.

Third, is Dirt Therapy, here are a couple links

A Korean Pastor had a son who was not happy with his life. He watched tv all day and did nothing. He was very rude and selfish and screwed around. His father grew tired of it and tried everything! He yelled at him, took away his son's car, his phone, his computer and his tv. But nothing helped. So he asked his friend, who was a farmer and a pastor. His friend told him to have his son work on the farm. So he took his son and left him in the farm for long time. At first his son hated it, he swore and threw a fit. But one day, he just started working in the field. A few days later while he was working in the field, he just broke down in tears. He had realized how much pain he has put his family through and from then on he prioritized everything. He finally heard what his father has been trying to tell him the whole time, through dirt.

Try a farm that is run by a friend of yours who is willing to take your son in for a few months. Have them set rules and boundaries. Have them be strict with your son as well.

I hope this will give you an idea. Good Luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

I know exactly what you mean, but from a different stand point. I was the one with my brother fighting. We would fight EVERYDAY. I could not walk by him without him hitting me and me yelling back. It was so bad, my mom tied us together for hours and said she will make us get along.... the only time we were let apart was if we had to use the restroom. We had to watch TV together and eat dinner together...what ever the day brought. By the time he was about 19 and I was 15....we finally stopped fighting and actually became best friends. Im not saying tieing them together is the answer, Im just saying eventually, they will get tired of fighting and will be ready to be siblings. And Im sure it was hard on my mom to hear us all the time and running through the house, patching my chin up and loosing teeth....and Im sure it hard on you...
listen to the other moms suggestions and see what works....but lots of talking to your children and letting them know the added stress it adds to your day may wake them up...or maybe throw hints on how it sounds when you yell at him to come to dinner and let him see how ridiculas he/she/they look.
All I can say is good luck and hang in there!



answers from Modesto on

I grew up with a brother who is 13 months older than me and we were home alone after school when we were in High school. The difference is your daughter is the older one and in my situation, my brother was older. We would fight like cats and dogs. Chase each other around the house, kicking, fighting yelling, wrestling.... I thought he truly hated me. I would also eventually run to my room and hide. I think I stabbed in the arm with a salad fork once and he pushed me down and cut open my foot, we were mean to each other! It was hard to keep the peace in our house, but soon we were both working at after school jobs and he was in football and I had dance so we really didn't cross paths to often. Maybe if your son gets involved in some after school activites, he can get some of his energy out and will be less likely to start fights with your daughter. That might also keep him interested in doing well in school, if he has to keep his grades up to do after school activites. Good luck, it will get better soon and hopefully without to many more fights. My brother and I get along great now and we look back and laugh at all the things we did when mom wasn't home.



answers from Chico on

First, Jennifer is right, this is unacceptable behavior...and you should not allow it to continue without some kind of consequence.

That said, I guess, welcome to "Teenagers"! I know that my brother and I fought like cats and dogs...and "hated" each other; wishing the other "was never born!"...just like I "hated" my parents. My brother was younger than me, but boyyyy could he be mean! My parents did not tolerate us hitting or calling names...and we were punished for it when it did occur...having to "kiss" and make up with each other and play nice.

It's hard, but if you allow your son to behave like this; for WHATEVER reason, it's telling him that it's okay and that, esentially, you agree with him...there needs to be consequences for his actions.

Maybe it is a case of too much energy and no where for it to go, or maybe he's not getting the attention he needs from you (you know the whole "bad attention is better than no attention" thing?). Try spending some one on one time with him; see if that helps. If you've tried all the "nice tricks", maybe counseling would help him???

And a question or two: Where's their father? Could it be your son is angry and doesn't know how to show it "properly"? Is something going on at school? Why does he not like school?

One last thought, is your daughter all that "innocent" in these fights? Could she be instigating it when/where you can't see it?

Good luck, I hope you get some good "advice" here...



answers from Sacramento on

I have to ask why in the world do you allow this to continue? Fighting should never be tolerated to the extent that you explain. You must put a stop to it and inflict severe punishment if it is to happen. Let it be known that that kind of behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated at any level. If this continues, it shows your children that fighting is a way of expressing their anger and someday, someone is going to come and put them in their place if they try it outside the home. I wish you luck.

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