My 13-year-old son is constantly teasing his younger brother, who is 10. I never know when to intervene. On the one hand, I want to let them work it out themselves. On the other, I worry that my older son is going to think it's OK to be mean and my younger son is going to have some lasting emotional scars. What do I do?
Squabbles between siblings are common and a natural part of family dynamics. Often, it's wise to let kids work out their differences themselves and not intervene unless there's a possibility that one of them is going to get hurt.
If the teasing is done in a friendly, playful, and mutual way, and both kids find it funny, then you probably don't need to worry. But if it becomes relentless, hurtful, and unkind, with one kid always doing the teasing and the other always on the receiving end, it's smart to address the issue. If the teasing continues unchecked, your older son may think such behavior is OK at school and with friends — and it could take a toll on your younger son's self-esteem.
If you're concerned about the teasing, talk to your sons about it. Set ground rules for acceptable behavior at home, and stick to them.
Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: July 2013
|American Psychological Association (APA) The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.|
|Stop Bullying This U.S. government website offers valuable resources for kids and adults on bullying awareness, prevention, and intervention.|
|Kids Talk About: Siblings (Video) What do kids think about their brothers and sisters? Hear what they had to say.|
|Shyness Lots of people are shy. Are you? Find out about shyness in this article for kids.|
|Kids Talk About: Brothers and Sisters Brothers and sisters make life more fun, but sometimes it's a bumpy ride. Find out what kids have to say about their sensational siblings.|
|The Story on Self-Esteem You need self-esteem, but it doesn't always come naturally. Find out what it means to feel good about yourself.|
|Cyberbullying Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. Here are some suggestions on what to do if online bullying has become part of your child's life.|
|Dealing With Peer Pressure Did you ever feel like another kid was trying to get you to do something you didn't want to do? If so, you've felt peer pressure. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Helping Kids Deal With Bullies Unfortunately, bullying is a common part of childhood. But parents can help kids cope with it and lessen its lasting impact.|
|Teaching Kids Not to Bully Whether bullying is physical or verbal, if it's not stopped it can lead to more aggressive antisocial behavior - and interfere with a child's success in school and ability to form and sustain friendships.|
|Cyberbullying Using technology to bully is a problem that's on the rise. The good news is awareness of how to prevent cyberbullying is growing even faster. See our tips on what to do.|
|Dealing With Bullying Bullying has everyone worried, not just the people on its receiving end. Learn about dealing with bullies, including tips on how to stand up for yourself or a friend.|
|Sibling Rivalry As upsetting as it can be for a parent, conflict between siblings is very common. Here's how to help your kids get along.|
|Kids Talk About Siblings Whether siblings bicker all the time or are the best of friends, they still love each other. Hear what kids have to say about having a brother or sister.|
|Getting Along With Brothers and Sisters Brothers and sisters might not always get along. How can you keep the peace? Find out in this article for kids.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.