'Stop Touching Me!' Actually Worse Than Whining


siblings annoying each otherWhether you love The Family Circus or believe it's a cartoon for semi-literate people in institutions, there's one thing you can't deny about Bil Keane's creation: It really gets the minutiae of sibling conflict. Because it's all minutiae. There's nothing especially enlightening about two kids in the backseat annoying the crap out of each other. 

Still, I decided to make it my mission to discover why my daughter always has to rub her baby brother's head, and why my little boy insists on grabbing his sister's hair and not letting go until I pry his tiny fingers (with a surprisingly strong grip) off. I might as well have spent that time on the Internet banging my head against the wall.

So instead, I asked my daughter, "Why can you not keep your hands off of your brother?" After she insisted that she was not touching him -- as her finger hovered in a point about two centimeters away from his arm -- this is what she had to say:

Because I want him to play with me.

I informed her that her little brother isn't a very good playmate when he's crying because she just grabbed him for the 50th time. But she stood firm.

I want him to pay attention to me.

This is when I realized that everyone really wants the same thing, which is to be acknowledged. Whether you get that attention by poking your finger into a toddler's arm until he screams or by sending an email in all caps, it's for the same result. Negative attention is still attention, as so many celebrities realize, and there are a lot of annoying ways to get it. Clearly, this is a lesson my kids learned super early.

Do your kids drive each other crazy like this?


Image via Family Circus

siblings, cartoons, toddler development


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kjbug... kjbugsmom1517

Ohhhhh yes... Mine r 6 and 3 and both aggrivate eachother pretty regularly. Now that school is out I just want to bang there heads together and tell em to snap out of it before I snap.. But I just seperate them into there rooms. Then they beg to play with eachother till again it starts over... They do love eachother but this summer stuff with kids home all day with eachother is for the birds! 54ish days til school starts :)

ggray73 ggray73

Definitely. My kids are now 13 and 15. My youngest is always harrassing his brother. When he calls me frustrated to tell me to make his brother leave him alone, I explain that he wants attention from his older brother, even if it's negative attention. If he is fighting with him, at least he is conscious of the fact that he is in the room. Still, the youngest harrasses, bugs, and drives the older child nuts. Sometimes, I think he does it just to annoy his brother. I have even heard the "MOOOOMMM, He's touching meee!!!" or "Mom, he won't quit breathing on me". My favorite yet, is about 3 years old, but it was the oldest who said, "Moooommm, Dakota won't stop licking my face." I couldn't even tell him to stop I was laughing so hard.

Bobbi Jo Cozby Caulfield

Oh my gosh, my girls are in the center of this! They are 6 and 2 1/2. I told them unless someone is bleeding or unconscious I really don't care to hear about their squabbles. :P

Jespren Jespren

This reminds me of my younger brother grabbing my knees whilst I was sitting on the couch reading a book and shaking me as hard as he could (in a failed attempt to break my line of sight with the book) while complaining 'you're so borrrrinnng!' He wanted to go outside and play, I wanted to read. He drove me crazy, and we fought like cats and dogs, until the second we were alone together with anyone outside the immediate family, then there couldn't have been a stronger bond. (Which led to everything from getting mistaken for twins to being mistaken for girlfriend/boyfriend, because the on lookers couldn't imagine two teenage siblings getting along so well)

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