I know that “picking” is just what kids do. I understand that and I try so hard to teach my kids the importance of respecting each other. Just because they are siblings does not give them a free ticket to abuse one another. Now, my frustration level has reached an all time high – with my son!

He was always very, very sweet. An amazing boy who would do anything for anyone, and loved life and everything about it. He would whine (probably excessively) but he was all around just a great kid. What happened to my sweet and loving kid? He’s started bullying – everyone!

I watched my 5-year-old daughter sit side by side with him on a tree that was lying on the ground. My husband was chopping away and they were watching him. My daughter leaned in and tried to hug her big brother and he shoved her off of him with a look of total disgust. He’s always been so affectionate to her that this action really hurt her feelings. She’s not used to her big brother being so mean.

She will ask him to help her reach something, or turn a light on, or to help her do things she’s still just too small to do. His answer every time: No. He teases and taunts her, puts her down, picks at her, and is outright mean.

I try and try to encourage him to treat her better but then he argues with me. Man if I could just get that kid to quit arguing. No joke, I could tell him the sky is blue and he would immediately say “no it isn’t!” with a strong and adamant tone. It drives me out of my mind.

Now, on the flip side, the kid cries about everything. My daughter will, in turn, dish his crap right back to him. He will cry! He can’t handle it and neither can I. They are out of school on their three week “track out” (they are in year round schools) so I am stuck with these two constantly at each others’ throats.

I encourage “team building” stuff to try to get them to learn how to work/play together and it is totally ineffective. They both argue about how they hate each other, and if I force them to go outside and learn how to play together all I hear is both of them screaming and crying.

My son will cry the entire time or scream at and belittle my daughter. He will also cry if he doesn’t like something. If he doesn’t like dinner, he cries. If he doesn’t like the condition of his room (or having to clean it) he cries, if he doesn’t want to take a shower, he cries. You name it, if anything is against the grain with this kid – HE CRIES!!! He is almost 8, isn’t this phase supposed to be over by now?

Example: This morning we were getting ready for their dentist appointment to have their teeth cleaned. When he decided he didn’t want to go to his “normal” dentist, he began to throw this major fit. He was screaming, crying and carrying on. This went on for the full 30 minutes we were all getting ready. He wanted to go to the “pediatric” dentist (where they get any fillings if they are needed) because they have a better “treasure box.”

Seriously? This kid is going to be turning 8 years old this summer and he’s acting like a toddler, throwing toddler tantrums, and bullying his siblings. He’s so mean to his siblings and everyone else.

If my 15-year-old babysits for us, I will get at least 3-4 calls over a couple hours time. Yeah, it’s that bad. He will scream and yell, tell him no, try to hit him (and his little brother and sister) and just pushes his way around. We tried grounding him, taking his computer away, taking his friends away, you name it – we’ve tried it.

Nothing is working. How do I get it through to this kid (before it’s too late) that this behavior is absolutely unacceptable? Is it time for therapy?

Young boy photo available from Shutterstock.