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Older Sister Angry and Violent to Younger Sister


My 12-year-old daughter has become angry and violent toward her younger sister. She tells her that she hates her, calls her names, hits her and recently said that she wants to kill her. I just made an appointment with her pediatrician because I am terrified. She does get angry with me, but she only acts this severely toward her younger sister. Any suggestions would greatly help at this point.


Sibling conflicts can disrupt the entire home environment. Both of your children have the right to grow up in a safe environment, and it is not safe in your home for your younger child if she is being yelled at and threatened by her sister.  “Hate” is a strong and hurtful word, and it is not easily forgotten.

When your 12-year-old gets angry at her sister, what has occurred? What have you attempted to do to change the environment so this does not continue? What has been done as a result of the yelling and threatening? Is the 12-year-old required to apologize and do something nice for her sister as a consequence? If these consequences are not in place, we encourage you to work on this right away.

Sit your 12-year-old down when she is calm and inform her that her behavior is not tolerated in your home or anywhere else. It is OK to be angry, but that anger must be expressed in a socially acceptable manner. When she gets angry, she needs to go to her room to calm down. Once she is calm, she can talk to you about why she is angry and what she can do about the situation that caused the anger. Formulate a plan with your daughter on how to improve the situations that give rise to her anger, as well as ways to handle her anger when it occurs.  

Let her know that these are your expectations all the time. If she meets those expectations, she will continue to have the privileges she enjoys. If she does not and falls back into her old ways of yelling, saying she hates people or is threatening them, she will be required to apologize and lose one of the privileges she enjoys. If she continues, she will continue to lose privileges.

Monitor the girls as closely as possible. Let them know that you will be watching for them to get along. Find a task for them to do together in your presence so you can watch how they interact, and then do some teaching to improve their relationship.  Consulting your pediatrician is an excellent idea. He or she knows your children and can talk with them individually. He or she can assess the seriousness of the situation and offer recommendations for outside intervention if necessary. 

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