Cincinnati Family Magazine

Your # 1 Hometown Family Resource

May 25, 2024


Does your older child constantly bug the younger one? 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:

•  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.

•  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.”

•  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!

About the Author

Susan Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief of Cincinnati Family Magazine and a mother of four.