I was waiting for blogging inspiration to strike this morning, when…


I got hit in the face with a block.

An actual block. Thrown by Count Waffles, not because he wanted to hurt anyone. And not because he was finding some new, avantgarde way to build a tower. But simply because he did not want his sister to touch the block.

The sibling issue around here is getting worse. And I’m really out of ways to handle it with any sort of tact or dignity. I’ve sunk to, “be NICE to your SISTER or you’re in BIG trouble,” tirades…laced with a little “you’re her brother, she wants to be near you, she loves you, you are supposed to teach her,” guilt trips.

Count Waffles the Terrible has gotten so bad, Princess Peanut is not even allowed to look at him. From 40 feet away. One glance and he’s shrieking like she spit lava all over his favorite toy.

I have friends who tell me I should be thankful all the Count does is scream. Their nearly three year old tries to smother his little sister. And kicks her. And punches her. And knocks her over on purpose. And displays overall serial killer characteristics with his sibling. The Count jus screams about his. Mainly because the few time he has gotten physical, he’s been in sooo much trouble he dare not go there again.

But mix one crazed, post partum Mom, with one constantly shrieking toddler, add in a dash of crying baby…and whammo, dinnertime around here becomes an exercise in me not becoming an alcoholic or pill-popper while the children meltdown because one is, heaven forbid, crawling in the same direction as the other.

I don’t know what to do.

We’re trying the “I don’t want to hear you scream unless she’s actually touching you” route. That’s not really working.

I’ve tried the “but she just loves you so much” route.
But the Count could really care less.

I’ve tried the “but look how much FUN you can have together” thing…but that lasts for the 3 minutes they were having fun, then someone touches someone else and shrieking ensues.

Please don’t tell me to go get Dr. Someone or another’s book on sibling whatever. I’m trying to read a book right now, and it’s taken me 3 days to get 30 pages.

I need real world parenting advice.

How do I discipline a boy who is allowed to not want to be near his sister? Who has every right to get a little uppity when she comes near, because, let’s face it…she normally slobbers on him and pulls his hair.

But I really can NOT stand this constant shrieking. I’m going even more insane than I already am.

Help me internet. You’re my only hope.


  1. I say we sell the children,take the profits and move to an island somewhere. They’re both really cute, I bet we could get a lot for them.

  2. You just made me spit my coffee.

    …and thanks for commenting.

  3. You could always tie them to trees on opposite ends of the yard.

  4. Okay – so I have no amazing insights here, but my feeling is that perhaps you can have him tell her that he doesn’t want to play and then see if can remove himself and go somewhere else. If she keeps following him, which I imagine she will, then perhaps they can play in two separate areas? Or, what if you gave him a certain amount of time (via timer) where he gets to play ALONE – and then see what happens. See if he will be more willing to be near her if he gets his own private play time.

    And, if all else fails, I second the Kaiser…

  5. Or we could settle this dispute the old fasioned way…


    We could sell tickets to the event and use the money from that to move to an island.

  6. This is totally what I get for wanting my husband more active on the blog.

  7. I am too scared to contemplate further pro-creation because I fear for my sanity if the level of stress in the house increases even a smidgen. The following suggestions are very hypothetical, coming from the lofty heights of a one-child mother, albeit one who seems to constantly have extra children in the house. I know play yards are ghastly, but they can be handy to put the big child inside to keep their bits and pieces safe from the all clutching, all drooling monster, especially if they still want to be “where the action is”. He also might be feeling the baby envy a bit more keenly now she is mobile and all action! Maybe some special Mummy and Big Boy time is in order!

  8. At least the Kaiser has a sense of humor, and laughter is the best medicine 🙂

    MT has earplugs that he carries with him for those shrieking moments when little LT has a tantrum – seriously. But he’s slowly growing out of the shrieking phase, and I think maybe the Count is going thru a phase, too. I wish I had some advice for you, but I’m no expert – I wing it on a daily basis myself.


  9. The Kaiser has good suggestions.


    And I bet you could get phat cash for them on the black market. But it could come with prison time.

    I have no insight. This is not at all an issue with my kids – and we have issues. If you need help with sharing advice I am your woman.

    Buy two of EVERYTHING.

  10. Having no children, I haven’t got a clue! I wish I did…I REALLY do! So Sorry Queen…

  11. The rule around here is, if it’s a toy you don’t want to share (and you don’t have to!)- keep it in your room and play with it there. If it’s in the living room, it’s fair game. But I think what you’re talking about goes beyond that. I told my son (when his sister LOOKED at him and he freaked, oh my gosh how DARE she?) that he is exceptionally handsome and he needs to get used to people being unable to stop looking at him. He thought it over, nodded, and sighed, accepting his lot in life.

  12. The Kaiser is wise. Heed his advise. Honestly, as a mother of 3, all of the kids being only 1-2 years apart in birth, I got nadda. When Dora was a new big sis, and Grumpy Bear was just starting to walk, she would put her toys up where he couldn’t reach, and play up there. She still has a bit of that hoarding habit, to this day. But over all, my guys were never clued in that they were allowed to not want to be looked at, etc. We still get the typical fights over certain toys, but the kids have learned that they either get along, or they have to clean their room. A simple punishment, but it works on many levels for us. So I guess what I’m saying very wordily is, go for the Thunderdome.

  13. Tie each of them to opposite ends of the room, with the ropes just short enough so they can’t touch each other?

    Seriously, I’ve got nothing. We’re still a one-child household (which may be changing next year), so I haven’t had to deal with it yet.

    I do know that one of my friends has two children, and she tells her oldest that if he doesn’t want his little sister playing with his toys, he needs to keep those toys in his room. And if he wants to play without her, he has to play in his room as well – the living room is common ground.

  14. Yeah, I’ve got nothing for you love. Luckily Agassi doesn’t move yet so we don’t have this problem, I hear it starts at 9 mos, and then goes through college, grad school, marriage … oh yeah, it’ll basically last for the rest of their lives …

    Wow, I’m REALLY no help. Maybe Kaiser’s idea is a good one. Let me know if you go that route and maybe we’ll join you. I might be biased but I think if we throw Brad, Jr. and Agassi in we might be able to buy that island …


    p.s. for a good funny, visit Troll Baby today …

  15. Well, what I should tell you to do, is ignore it for the 2 weeks while it gets worse, pretend he isn’t around or that you have sold him to another unsuspecting family when he is yelling. It is hard to do and almost no parent can actually follow through with ignoring. It might work as he isn’t hurting the Peanut. Then only praise with gusto and excess, any, little bit of tolerance on his part. “Look at you, Count Waffles, what a super big brother you are, for not screaming when Peanut is moving in your general direction.” However, this is the typical parenting advise.

    On a whim, I might suggest that you laugh at him and then join in his screaming (as you so obviously want to), and tell him to keep screaming louder and louder… then perhaps the Queen of Poland might hear him too. We did this with Will’s tantrums (when they weren’t problematic), telling him to scream and cry loud and to kick his feet and roll around more. It usually confused him, and he doesn’t tantrum now. He was so baffled when we first did it, that he stopped tantruming all together.

    As he isn’t hurting anyone, just annoying you, both can’t make the situation worse.

  16. Well…I wish I had some real insightful advice for you, but the only thing I can tell you is you should’ve had them 7 years apart like me! Just kidding, cause that wasn’t actually our plan but that’s how it worked out and life is pretty sweet right now when it comes to that. BUT I can’t say much for when she’s 14 and he’s 7 because I don’t know too many 14 year old girls that like to be terrorized by their 7 year old brother…and yes I’m quite sure there will be some terrorizing going on…I can see it in his eyes! But for now, it sounds like you’re doing the best you can with what you have to work with..and remember there is NO perfect advice ANYONE can give you because all kids are different….I feel for you though, I’m sure it’s tough:(

    AND if all else fails….the Kaiser probably has the right idea, because I’m sure you could get TONS for them!!!

  17. I’d have to agree with a couple of the ideas here…not sure which one i’d pick though! “Common ground” is a good one. If he doesn’t want to play with her or her to be near him, tell him he can play somewhere that she isn’t allowed.

    I also like the increased levels of yelling & screaming thing. With Zoe when she puts on a little performance, we mimic her and tell her she can do much better than that, usually gets her laughing or just stopping, one or the other.

    I hope you find something that works for you..

  18. Our 3 yr old likes to run full force at his 1yr old sister, kicks her down to the ground and the other day shoved her down the stairs (she tucked and rolled and Daddy caught her after a couple steps). We always laughed at the SuperNanny and her “naughty spot” but honestly, for us, it’s working. He laughs at timeouts but you say naughty spot and he’s all about being good. Regarding the toys, we’re lucky in that our daughter is easily entertained and we can distract her if need be. With him though, we’re very firm on the “give that back to her she had it first” thing. If he doesn’t, it’s naughty spot time for 3 minutes. That’s all I got for ya. Hope it gets better soon.

  19. That is one of the hard parts of parenthood, no doubt! At our house the cry often is “he’s SMILING at me!!!” — usually complaining about a teasing or mocking smile.
    So I don’t have it all figured out. BUT I do have a few ideas:

    — give him SOME time every day where he doesn’t have to play with her.
    –give him some time every day where it is his JOB to play with her. You stay close and coach him in good ways to play (for example, he could build her a tower and she could knock it down) Praise him like heck when he does well at this. in fact, you might even give him a special big boy treat after 5-10 min of nice play with her.

    Hopefully with practice and tons of positive reinforcement the playing-with-her times will become more frequent and natural. You could even stash gummy bears or something similar in your pocket to instantly reward ANY bit of nice play for awhile.
    best wishes!

  20. I’m with Mary (owlhaven)…

    Some time each day he doesn’t have to play with her and some time he does. The positive reinforcement goes a long way.

    For me – screaming is pretty close to an immediate time out. I can’t stand it. At all. Unless there’s blood. For quite awhile, The Boy was quite the screamer. Each and every time he did it, I ‘called’ him on it. “Use your words,” I’d tell him. Or, “You can scream and sit in time out, or you can stop screaming and play.”

    It will get better. Of course for me, now that The Boy has significantly decreased his screaming, The Baby is just starting up.

  21. I have three kids, ages 8, 6 and 2. We just threw into the pot a 3.5 year old foster child. He and my youngest have all but beat each other senseless. When he is grieving or feeling uncomfortable, he doesn’t want her anywhere in the HOUSE! When she is feeling deprived, she doesn’t want him anywhere on the PLANET!

    So, if one of them screams at the other one for breathing, blinking or perhaps their heart was beating too loudly for their taste …

    I calmly walk over to the tazmanian tantrum thrower and gently say, “I can understand why you want them to go away. You need some time alone. Let me take care of that for you.” Then I walk them to time-out. I let them know that they can get up when it won’t bother them anymore to be around so-and-so. I also allow so-and-so a free-for-all on whatever toys the tazmanian tantrum thrower was enjoying.

    The first week I would have to continue doing this SEVERAL times (underscore “SEVERAL” and add a few exclamation points). It was teaching, teaching, teaching, teaching. Now, I can just start heading in their direction and they gain control like MAGIC!

  22. I don’t even TRY to talk and reason about it with my toddler (and he’s got TWO little sisters). I just keep them apart as much as possible. Sharing? Not a concept that will sink in right now. I don’t even try. I even separate the girls sometimes (finger-poking & hair-pulling & all that fun stuff), and that helps.

    I have playpens for the girls and a baby-safe playroom.

  23. Just an observation of late in my own journey raising a boy of six & a girl of four:

    Sibling love does not come naturally. Selfishness does. My sister and I learned not to fight because our mom taught us that Love doesn’t fight. When my kids (and we started this at 2!) begin to get into it, we head it all off by asking, “Are you loving your sister (or brother)? Why did God give you a sister/brother?” The response they have been asked to give is, “to love and help take care of.” We examine the offense & ask them to tell us if what they did was loving or unloving. If they don’t know, we can explain to them why it was unloving and why not to do it again.

    Someone commented above about “using your words.” I could not make it without that phrase!!! Helping kiddos to learn to speak instead of freak when they get frustrated is an indespensible tool that will carry into adulthood!

    I guess my point is, as the parent, you set the tone for your family. Will you allow your children to decide how things work or will you establish your authority by laying down rules/consequences that you can all live with? Most people have grown up in homes where the siblings fight. It doesn’t have to be that way, but the parent will have to work harder to lay the groundwork. Loving others is hard work & it’s worth the effort, but we have to teach it! I pray God will bless each & every effort in your home!!!

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