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Well, I would put both of them in time out LOL.

On the upside, at least they're learning to put up with each other. I don't have siblings, so am never sure when teasing is real or just stick poking.

Actually, you pose a very good question that can be applied to adults as well! I have an employee who tries to push my buttons and send me into a spin. I'm having to stop and remind myself not to "bite." So, teaching that it is both wrong to provoke and wrong to react poorly are both important. I'll be reading the rest of the comments with great interest!

By the way, your posts work just fine in my google reader. Never had a problem. It might be individual folks' settings. If they have it set for a preview, that's all they will get.

pay back time ha ha

Usually, I put the teaser in a time out and just talk to the whiner about a better way to react (doesn't work by the way). That is if the whining is reactionary. With mine, sometimes the whining is entirely disproportionate and is being used to get the other in trouble or bigger trouble or just be dramatic. In that case, they probably both need a time out just to get out of my arms reach.

I try too to word the punishment as them not being "allowed" to play together for a while because I am hoping someday they will be friends so I'm hoping that particular psychology will make them think that they really want to be together instead of blaming one another of the time out.

This behaviour is the ticket to madness. I use a technique from Barbara Coloroso. I start by sitting them both on the couch until they are calm. Neither can leave the couch without the others permission. Then we talk about the plan so that this doesn't happen again. It helps. They have to follow fair fight rules, like no talking about the past, only the future and how we are going to solve the problem.

Both the whiner and the teaser deserve to be moaned at!

Haha! You are loving this, aren't you Dad? Yes, I did have a little flash back to Mel and I, and how it used to drive you crazy. Sigh. Pay back time indeed

Get this book: "Siblings without Rivalry." It has problem-solving techniques for all behaviors, including teasing and whining.


As Mum to 4 kids - 20/19/17/3 I will share my "wisdom" - turn off your ears, and don't interfere unless someone is bleeding.

It's the old-fashioned approach, but I guess it must work as my 3 eldest all made it to adulthood!

There aren't many parenting books I would reccomend, but I second the reccommendation for the book "Siblings without Rivalry. This is full of pratical techniques and was very useful to me through the years with my four, who certainly had their moments. However, by the time they were teens, and now as adults, the have gotten along very well.

My kids are 15, 13 and 10 and I still haven't figured out how to stop the madness. Usually they all get in trouble because they are all party to it, no matter how innocent they pretend to be!!!
Good luck and if you figure it out you should get the Nobel Peace Prize

It starts out with two spanks and two time outs because OMG, while i HATE that the one teases/whatever.. the whining is literally the MOST. ANNOYING.SOUND. EVER and I'm sorry, I just refuse to put up with it. The next time there is some screaming involved ( mine, ahem) and eventually as the day goes on I tune it out. Unless there is blood or broken decor involved, they can figure this crap out themselves. It's either that or I shove them both in the closet and lock the door. I figure I've taken the more legal approach.

I just told my four kids that they could fight all they wanted, but I didn't want to hear it so they had to do it outside. When a fight started, I didn't react and didn't take sides - I just reminded them to go outside. Once the fun of drawing Mom into the drama was taken away, the fighting went away.

I will 2nd the book "Siblings without Rivalry". I used a lot of ideas in that book, the fighting has minimized, at the same time they are learning to resolve conflicts.

LOL, sounds like great fun ;)

The only solution I've heard of that works quite well is to ban them from playing when they antagonise each other. So when the tease/whine cycle starts you send them both to separate rooms, and tell them that if they can't play nicely then they can't play together.

After a while you put them back together and when a new cycle starts you send them off again.

More often than not they miss each other so they learn to play nice, but worst case scenario they don't care and they do their own thing...still leaving you in peace :)

Worth a try at least!


Get the book "Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too." http://www.amazon.com/Siblings-Without-Rivalry-Children-Together/dp/0380799006/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237748849&sr=8-1

I read this when my kids were young and it really helped a lot.

Well, infertility handed me the gift of an 8 year age gap between my two, so sibling rivalry of the variety you describe is thankfully something I'll never have to deal with. Are you not supposed to hang onto the hope that they'll be great pals...eventually?!

Go your dad!!


I used to say something along the lines of 'OH STOP IT YOURE BOTH DRIVING ME CRAZY"..." NO I DONT WANT TO HEAR IT, JUST STOP IT" Not sure if thats good advise or not. :)

Blame your spouse, instead. I do. :)


As a rather overly sensitive person that took to heart too much what other people said for very long as a kid (and, sigh, as an adult), I think it is good to somehow learn to grow a thicker skin when you're young and learn that: "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." (Eleanor Roosevelt). I know, a bit deep for a kid, but boy, do you need to learn it. Just knowing that you have a few moments in between the tease/whine where you actually choose to whine or rather, just, go on playing and ignore the teaser 'cause you know they're having fun and responding gives them even more fun, is, like, I mean, huge... Growing that internal security in a kid so that it is not rocked easily by external pushes and shoves is probably one of the biggest gifts you can give a child. Says the childless expert, you know.

With regards to who needs the klap, I honestly don't know. I don't think teasing is nice, but that's what kids do. Doesn't mean it's right, but a klap or reprimand may just add to the teaser's glee. Ignore ignore ignore (my kids will one day be so ignored, poor things, lots of therapy during their twenties). As for the whining, geez, nobody likes a whiny kid/adult (ask me, I know) so, more ignore ignore ignore (but if it was my kid, I'd help them grow a thicker skin as my genes probably need a bit of "repair" in that department).

Glad to be of service. Ask any time. I have so much experience in this parent thing, you know.

My favorite parenting technique at the moment is Love and Logic. What they would suggest is you tell kids "That fighting hurts mama's ears. You need to go (outside, to your room, basement) if you're going to argue so that it doesn't drain my energy." If they don't listen. Then you say "Wow, that's a huge energy drain having to listen to you kids fight. HOw are you going to put energy back in mama? I have some ideas: you can pay me with your toys or you can (and give a small chore they can handle like dusting or washing windows). Which do you pick?"

In other words, you don't get in the middle. You give them alternatives you can live with -- having them fight where you can't hear it OR enduring the consequences of irritating other family members which will cost them in valuables (toys) or effort (chores).

When my twins start I lock them both outside. They can work it out and i don't have to listen.

Mine are g/b 5 yrs apart and guess what. It gets no better. I send them to their rooms. They hate that. But, it's better than me whacking them upside the head. Tell Kate EE to leave Adam alone. LOL Poor lad.

My boys are 21 months apart... And they both get a time out. Our youngest, who will be 3 in July, is the teaser and our oldest, who just turned 4 in November, the whiner. I explain to T-Rex that it is not nice/polite to tease and I tell the oldest he either needs to tell me WITHOUT WHINING and let me deal with it, or ignore him and get over it. It DOES drive me insane, and I do sometimes feel as though telling Mega to come tell me when he is being teased may turn him into a sissy, but with his auditory sensory issues, I don't know that he CAN ignore his brother, and that's all I can think to do. Besides, T-Rex DOES need to learn that it is not nice to tease people. *sigh* Let's hope they outgrow this SOON!!!

Ha Ha, This is my life. I have twin girls aged 3.5. Very different and the fighting drives me batty. I try to leave it sometimes but I am so scared that they might get hurt. They can be brutal with each other but the next moment they are the best of friends. I think 3 & 4 are difficult ages , lets hope they outgrow it!!!! The can't be 18 and still beating each other up so I still have hope!!!!

If you figure this one out, please let me know. I have a 4 year old boy and a 2 year old daughter..my 2 year old picks on the 4 year old..he is the whiner..she is the instigator...must be a girl thing... I don't understand it, nor can I handle it. Drives me nuts...

Don't even try to figure it out, put them BOTH in time out. (Time out for my twins was in my bedroom with the door LOCKED, only way I could contain them both!) That way THEY could deal with it and the 1-2-3 had a consequence. When they got older I would put MYSELF in time out. They hated that! I would just quietly go to my room and shut the door :)

I would teach them both that kindness is not optional and that if they are not kind to each other, they both get removed from the situation. So, once you have told them this, when they start the tease/whine cycle, you can simply utter the word 'kindness' but they will hear "both of you are about to get sent to your rooms for the next 10 years."

Also, you are fast approaching the phase of pregnancy that for me was pure fatigue, and that can make your fuse quite a bit shorter. So the best advice might be to let them duke it out and protect yourself from unnecessary angst.

I nannied for a 3 & 5 year old whose mother's reaction to this (and thus, mine) was, "I don't care who started it, both of you go to your rooms." It worked like a charm.

The book The Secret Of Parenting by Anthony Wolf explains why, contrary to my DH's view, this is a better approach than listening to each side of the story and then trying to find a fair solution. The gist of it (as others have already mentioned) is that the thing children value most in the world is their parents' attention (possibly followed by their siblings' ditto). So providing it (attention) in exchange for squabbling is counter-productive -- even if the attention is negative, it is better than non-attention. Conversely, breaking the kids up and sending them to a place where they cannot get attention is effective, because they don't like that (obviously you don't need to leave a 3 & 5 year old, or in your case 4 year olds, in their rooms long to make the point ...).

Yeah, what others said.

They can carp all they want, but they have to do it somewhere else. Outside. In their room. The garage. Whatever.

These two rascals are quite likely old enough to be able to use the "work together or perish" approach (a great tool learned from many years of adolescent counseling).
Whatever you think they want most desperately on any given day, they may earn it only by either utter silence and playing alone (when you and they are just unable to take one more second of the squabbling/they are unequal to cooperating at that moment) OR, preferably, to accomplish something positive together. Otherwise, be fierce, do NOT give in, they earn the reward by adherence to a cooperative relationship---or give themselves a time-out if they really need one.
I take away toys like a madwoman; wee son is 2 and a half and knows this quite well. He also chooses "behave" over "Mommy will take" almost every time, heehee. Even better than Naughty Step. But that's him; we'll see how he wises up and learns how to push my buttons even better in the coming years :-/

My three are exactly the same!! I just tell them I am not interested in "tell tales" and to sort it out!!! and to call me if there is blood.

My mom just had us hash out until she a) saw one of draw blood or b) just got fed up with it and told us if we didn't stop something bad was gonna happen. That was enough to make us stop.

Oh my god, I'm almost thankful we've not been able (yet) to produce a second baby. My inner counsellor spirit would probably make both kids sit around a table and _mediate_ until the bitter end. Yes: "Now if I understand correctly, you're telling me that when Thing 1 took your toy without your permission, it made you feel hurt and angry because you felt it went against the rules you both had agreed on?"; and: "Thing 1, how does hearing that make you feel?" and so on and on.

This said, I am very anti-bullying and do not tolerate any kind of teasing/undermining/mocking/picking/ on anybody, child or adult. I'll come back for advice if ever we get another child!

Seriously Tertia, go and buy Siblings without Rivalry. Like, today!

My kids are 2,4 and 7 and I nearly GO OFF MY HEAD daily with the rascals. I,too, have a Teaser and an insane Whiner who is so dramatic. The danger I find is that I lash out at the Teaser who is actually (often) trying to engage Whiner in something that could be fun. But Whiner wants to get Teaser in trouble....

IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE. Until you get the book. Then you will find more responsible, adult ideas. hehe

I used to be teased to the point of abuse by my older nasty sister. I still have the deep scars that require hours of therapy. Fortunately I love the Lord which means I have forgiven her. The Lord seems to be using her critters for revenge, hee hee heeeeee!!!!!

Sister Mel...you're hilarious!!!

I'm with Old Mom and Katy, my twins are constantly going after each other and their younger brother. I ignore or say go away until tears roll then I scream at everyone and put them in their room!

Separate them in different rooms and tell them they cannot play together. Don't try to figure out who started it etc. In our house, the teaser was an older brother and the whiner a little sister. It appeared on the surface, that he was the initiator of the tease/whine thing, but after some covert watching I saw that she was expert at pushing his buttons and actually the one who started it about half the time! That's when I decided to just tell them if they couldn't play together nicely, then they had to be separated. I'm sure some psychologist could explain why kids do the whole tease/whine thing, but it's hard not to believe they do it simply to drive Mommy crazy. Such fun. I'm glad those years are over.

Unless there's blood I stayed out of it. When it got physical with my kids is when I stepped in - although, I sometimes was a little slow to react on purpose so that one of them could get a well-deserved smack back. (I believe in natural consequences and in fighting back if someone attacks you [if you hit someone, they might just hit you back], so your mileage may vary with that advice.)

As for the whining - "I can't understand you when you use that voice. If you want me to hear you then you need to talk normally." It may or may not work, but it does make them aware that they're whining. Maybe. Sometimes.

Kids make you do the crazy.

Put earplugs and let them work it out. Stop them at first blood.

There's never an innocent victim, so I tend to go with "this isn't working, isn't safe, isn't sane, so everyone is going to a separate space RIGHT NOW."

You can try to talk about family rules after everyone is calm, again, but good luck with that.

In my experience, it doesn't get better before age eight, by the way. Just thought I should add that part.

Oh -- I would be reluctant to leave them alone when they're in this cycle. It's not really respectful of their safety (emotional or physical), and it's not going to teach them anything but power wins. Which, yeah, maybe, but not at home in the family. Separation when they can't get along works much better, I think.

Such a hard call. I like Becky's approach with the "it's draining mommy's energy" The consequences approach is good. Will have to give it a go with my son as he has started the whining thing. It completely zaps my nerves! Of course he knows he can't do this with his daddy, but somehow he thinks he can with me. I've been telling him that I can't help him out if he whines. Must use words! The whole thing really does get me all bent outta shape. It drives me NUTS! As for Kate and Adam, eventually this phase may pass and then on to the next! BTW, Hope you had a great "me-time" night away.

You may be interested in this video report on the SA expat vote:


I had three kids very close in age. What I would do if two of them got into it was make the two little miscreants stand literally nose to nose with each other. Yup, noses touching. Until they started laughing.

Usually didn't take long.

They are all grown now and get along really well, for what it's worth. ;-)

Lol it gets worse with age, so use this time to work on your patience... you are going to need lots more of it in a few years.
But, I think the teaser is definitely the problem -well the instigator at least. The whining is relative to the reason, try sort that out and you should get -some- peace.
good luck :)

I have the exact same problem (they are 17 months apart) and it is doing my head in! I will need what your readers tell you cause I have no idea how to fix it!

separate them, say you won't listen to whining/whinging, so they have to stay apart and not interact until they can talk calmly.

DONT get involved in he said she said . . . just dont accept the behaviour and DONT give in!

I'm chiming in a little late here, but suffer from the same problem. Just last week I instituted a new motto and policy on the subject. I told my two bicker-some children that as a family we need to work on being encouraging and supportive of each other. So as soon as I hear the teasing start I just say "We are encouraging and supportive of one another." Interestingly, it has worked pretty well so far. The only caveat is that my two squabblers are few yrs older than Adam and Kate.

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