My 12 years old son hits, pushes, and teases his 7 years old sister.

When my daughter was born he would constantly disturb me while feeding her and helping her. I tried to involve him in taking care of her, but it did not help. I took him to my pediatrician and she spoke to him and he was fine for few days. As they grew older he started taking her toys and pulling away things while she was engaged in any activity. I tried to take away his privileges and he would show temporary improvement.

At school he behaves very well and his teachers appreciate him. His grades are consistently good and he works hard to excel in academics. My husband is only concerned about his studies and says that all siblings have this type of clashes. When my daughter complains about my son, my husband shouts and threatens him. This does not have any effect and my son says that she provokes him and she should be blamed for his behavior. I am confused and frustrated.

  • We're going to need some more information to go on here. Is this just sibling rivalry? Is it a recent change in his behavior or has he always acted like this? What about schoolmates? Are there reports from teachers or school staff about his behavior? Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 11:44
  • As ChristopherW says, we'll definitely need more information. What have you tried already? What does your son say when you confront him about it? Please edit your question to provide as much relevant detail as possible, and then flag for moderator attention so we can see about re-opening it.
    – user420
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 12:07
  • Thanks for adding more details. I've reopened it. Hopefully you get some helpful answers; I can understand why you're concerned. This does not sound like a healthy situation for anyone involved.
    – user420
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 15:13

5 Answers 5


Nobody hits in my household. No spanking, no violence, ever.

If violence is unacceptable always, you have to jump on that behavior instantly, every time with a consequence.

If violence is only sometimes unacceptable, when and where it's acceptable is a difficult thing to teach.


Looks like there is a lot of jealousy going on which has not been resolved for a long time. I suggest reading Siblings Without Rivalry. It addresses different scenarios and gives suggestion on what to do in different situation, including the ones you described above. Meanwhile I suggest:

  1. Don't react to your daughter complains the way your husband does(and this is discussed in the book as well). She might have figured out that it gets her brother in trouble and use it. If not now, then in the future. If you did not see what happened you can't assign the blame. If your daughter complains, tell kids to resolve the issue themselves. If it does not get resolved both would face consequences.
  2. Talk to you son and spend some time alone with him. Tell him you love him. A lot. Do the same with your daughter. But not at the same time.
  3. Don't put kids in the roles. Older brother does not mean more responsible and protector. Younger sister does not mean weak and blameless. He does not have to love his sister (though this is something we want as parents), but he has to treat her with respect.

In the spirit of SO, I'd like to ask what have you tried ? Anyway, I am assuming that you tried to explain gently and politely and that did not work. However, if I were you, I'd try to do it like this:

No one like to be mistreated. Would you like it if someone bigger and stronger did that to you for no reason at all ? Go hug your sister and say sorry to her. Tell your daughter to be prepared for this and accept his apology and love. If this also does not work, remind him again and gently push him a bit 3-4 times to show how it feels. Let us know how this goes.


She should certainly not be blamed for his behavior, but (speaking from personal experience) it is very possible that she does provoke him. They will both grow out of it eventually, but in the meantime, if your daughter indeed does or says things to your son that are not nice, put some blame on her as well (although obviously less blame than for hitting). I don't think you can expect a 12-year-old to keep his cool under constant teasing the same way an adult does.

  • I think you're making an assumption here that the sister actually is teasing/provoking him which may be unwarranted. The OP has not said anything indicating this. Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 3:47
  • OP has not said anything indicating the contrary, either. Given that it's what the son claims, if it's blatantly false then the question should say so. I see no reason to dismiss the son's claim a priori.
    – user7953
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 3:55
  • By the way, most other answers make the opposite assumption, and more strongly than I do.
    – user7953
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 4:01
  • I don't feel that strongly about it; I didn't mean to sound so certain. Just reminding. In any case, I have seen maybe more than my fair share of blame-shifting not to see it as part of this pattern. She provoked me from a 12 year old about a 7 year old? That just raises a red flag for me, but certainly doesn't mean it's not true. Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 4:25

Tell your child that abusing and hitting is not acceptable. If your son is jealous because of the attention that may be his sister recieves, then hug him and tell him how much he means to you.

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