Half-Sibling Rivalry

Dear Sara,

I have a twelve year old daughter from my first marriage and a two and four year old from my second marriage. The problem is that my twelve year old hates my two little ones. She screams at them and will smack them if they get into her things. I really would like for everyone to get along and I could sure use her help if she was more patient. What can I do to have some peace around here?

Dear Darcy,

You have to realize that your twelve year old has a lot to deal with. She was your only child for about eight years, she experienced the breakup of your first marriage which is difficult for a child and now she has to deal with two younger siblings which take up most of your time while she is probably starting to go through puberty.

Your daughter needs your time and attention just as much as the two little ones and she is probably resentful of them. I’m sure you have your hands full but try to make some time for her. Ask your husband to watch the little ones while you and your daughter spend some time together doing things she likes to do. She’s be off on her own soon so make sure you build a relationship with her now.

Good luck.


  1. Sounds like your daughter is a normal 12-year-old girl. My daughter did not want her brother in her stuff at 12 and they are regular siblings (as in not a blended family). I can see being a teenager these days can be very difficult. No matter if you’re a boy or girl. Being the oldest sibling of a blended family does not make it easier. Take her out with you while dad and sons get some man time together. Go shopping at the store with her, or a beauty parlor outing, or a movie with just mom and her once a month would help. Meany churches have teen nights filled with singing and dancing and worship, or quire singing practice, or band she may enjoy. It’s normal for her to want some privacy at her age. The boys need to learn respect for her things, and her room area in the home. Your daughter needs to understand the boys are still babies and are in need of love from big sis. And her being older she should be able to outsmart them without hitting them. It would show she is more mature than the boys are. Prayer is also good for both you and her.
    Just an old dad with 30 years of experience.

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