Does your older child constantly bug the younger one?Â Bossing younger siblings around is typical for kids ages 5 to 7, says Jerry Wyckoff, Ph.D., coauthor of How to Discipline Your Six- to Twelve-Year-Old … Without Losing Your Mind. Wyckoff suggests the following tips:
• Â Make it clear that parents make the rules, and discuss this out of earshot of the younger sib, since you don’t want to seem like you’re taking sides.
• Â Act out scenarios to help your older child distinguish between protecting his siblings (“Don’t touch – that pot is hot!”) and throwing his weight around (“Give me your crayon!”). Suggest language that he can use, such as “Please give me that yellow crayon when you’re done.”
• Â Encourage empathy. Talk about (and, when needed, remind him) how he dislikes being ordered to do things.
Also, consider whether you’re too authoritarian. If a child’s tone is particularly forceful and he mercilessly nitpicks everything his brother or sister does, think about where he may have learned this behavior!