Dear Carolyn: My grandson, 14, is responsible, kind, loving and sensitive … mostly. I have a 12-year-old granddaughter, his sister, who also is a darling: creative, empathic, sensitive. I know he loves her and it’s mutual, but he constantly belittles her, since they were small. It turns into her defending herself, and he doubles down. If she hands it back, she invariably is either in trouble — or leaves the scene.
I have not been able to deal with this with any satisfaction. Explaining, scolding, ignoring — nothing. I think I lean on guilt. (Not a good railing!) And I don’t have the language to address it in a kinder, more effective way.
I don’t feel as if I was effective in this realm with my children. I reacted like my parents, and it was not good parenting. I want to do better. Any advice?