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How do we cope with screaming fits? How do I foster a better relationship between my 8 year old and 5 year old? How do I stop my 13 year old from picking on the my 10 year old? You asked these question. Dr Leman answers them.

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Question #1: [Audio Question] My 2 year old is a very powerful child, but doesn’t talk much. He often has screaming fits. How do we cope with these tantrums?

Answer #1

  • One of the parents is a powerful person that uses power to parent.
  • Your child is watching the effectiveness of using power and has decided to do the same.
  • Get a clinic or pediatric to evaluate why he isn’t talking. A 2 year old should be actively talking.
  • Don’t power back to your sons power display.
  • Steps to follow:
    • Pick him up firmly without an attitude.
    • Remove him from the scene
    • Put into this room.
    • Hold the door closed, even if he kicks it and screams.
    • Don’t speak to him, if he is kicking or screaming while you hold the door closed.
    • Once he is quiet, ask him if he is done.
    • If done, bring him back to the original scene.

Question #2: How do I foster a better relationship between my 8 year old and 5 year old?

One thing we are really still struggling to deal with is her attitude and treatment toward her younger sister, who is five years old. I’d say 95% of their interactions are negative – because of my 8 year old’s treatment towards the 5 year old. I know there is a jealousy element there (and having grown up with a sister 11 months older than me, I feel my five year old’s pain!) How can I help foster a better relationship between them so things are totally out of hand when the are teenagers?

Thanks so much!!


Answer #2:

  • Fighting is an act of cooperation
  • Don’t tell them to stop fighting. Let them resolve it themselves, if it is safe.
  • Steps to follow:
    • Pull the 5 year old aside and ask them,  “Can I ask you a question?”
    • Ask this question, “Is your sister a bit too bossy or controlling?”
    • Your 5 year old will be delighted to know you realize the situation.
  • You are establishing equality with your 5 year old and they feel understood.

Question #3:  Sibling Rivalry

We have a 13-year-old compliant daughter and 10-year-old son who until recently has received a large amount of negative attention for misbehaving (thanks so much for your podcasts!). Our son regularly tries to torment his sister, his sister overreacts to everything he does. We have tried to tell our daughter not to give her brother the attention he is seeking when he pesters her but it is difficult not to fall for his antics as a 40-year-old so its probably asking just about the impossible of a 13-year-old. What advice do you have for us in trying to help them get along better? 


Answer #3:

  • Steps to follow:
    • Give license to the 13 year old to take her brother on when he acts up.
    • Say it in front of the 10 year old.
  • The 10 year old boy needs to learn respect towards women and it starts in the home.
  • They can fight as long as it isn’t too much. No blood, broken bones or anything too aggressive is allowed.


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