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Sisterly Fight Ends in Arrest

As children, my brother and I were the poster children for sibling rivalry. Five years older and much bigger and stronger, my brother would randomly throw me over his head and carry me around the house. I'd beat my fists on him as hard as I could, and occasionally get a really solid punch in. Or I'd scratch and pinch him. Anything to try to win the battle.

Ah, the joys of having kids and confining them to living under the same roof. Even with all our fighting and trouble-making, there is one punishment that we never encountered: Police arresting us because of our violent battles.

For a 10-year-old in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, a sibling battle at a park last weekend resulted in just that -- the girl getting arrested. Reagan Green and her 13-year-old sister Desiree were playing when "Reagan refused to follow Desiree's instructions," reported Fox News TV in Dallas-Fort Worth. "She pushed me, so I just walked away from it," Desiree recalled. "The third time she pushed me, we just started fighting."

A park-goer called police, who arrived at the house where the girls were staying soon after they did. Police arrested Reagan because her sister's injuries were worse and because she was the "aggressor." The District Attorney's office does not expect to press charges, reports the Dallas Morning News.

When asked if the girls planned on fighting in public again, Desiree told Fox News: "Not in public, but we're still going to fight like every other sister will."

What are some typical sibling fights in your house? How violent do the battles get? And how do you handle them?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  June 15, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
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Comments


i hope the DFW police had nothing better to do, because this sounds like a complete waste of time and money.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | June 15, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Probably a waste of time but good lord, I have never gotten or known anyone whose siblings could get into a fight to that degree of injury and girls especially ,maybe a cultural thing

Posted by: lildg54 | June 15, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I have a low tolerance even for bickering and will bark at my kids for using mean or rude words. Every once in a while, the younger one will give the older one a smack out of frustration (since older one can talk circles around her). But that's the extent of the physical stuff. Maybe I'm lucky to have good kids, but they know I will quickly separate them if they treat each other badly. Not acceptable.

Posted by: annenh | June 15, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

At worst we have the occasional slap, push or trip. They don't get much unregulated play (no backyard) so it doesn't get too out of hand. We also have plenty of play accidents were someone gets stepped on, kicked, elbowed and so on.

Unfortunately, this can't be compared to the fairly violent fighting between my siblings and I. We did get violent but no broken bones or other injuries as a result - bruises maybe? My siblings and I had plenty of unsupervised play where my parents were not around. We had a backyard and a back 40 and the deadend street that we lived on. We could range far and wide. Our kids have a balcony. It is not possible for them to get out-of-hand angry with their sibling without someone seeing it happen or figuring it out within seconds.

And that is what happens when you trade rural life for city living. Some times just can't be compared.

Posted by: Billie_R | June 15, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"maybe a cultural thing"

Sure thing. Because if someone is of a different race from me, the differences between our families couldn't be just differences between families. They have the burden of representing an entire ethnic group. Please don't miss the sarcasm.

Since when did, "must be a cultural thing" become the way to say something racist but pretend it's not?

Posted by: anonfornow | June 15, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"maybe a cultural thing"

I'm sure lildg54 is just repeating something he/she heard Lush Limbaugh say (isn't smart enough to think original thoughts).

Posted by: kenman57 | June 15, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Don't underestimate the impact of sibling rivalry. I am very close to a young teenager who has been suffering outright abuse at the hands of an older sibling his entire life. The parents discount it as "sibling rivalry" or, they defend the much older, larger child by saying that the younger one provoked the behavior (behavior, in this case, being extreme beatings that leave the younger one hurting and bruised for days.)

I don't know how the parents have been able to protect the older child for so long, because their situation has come to the attention of various agencies recently. I think that part of the problem is that, instead of viewing the extent of the damage and injuries suffered by the "victim" child, they get hung up on the fact that the children are siblings.

For anyone scoffing at the police intervention, imagine that your ten year old child was pushed by that 13 year old and in the ensuing battle, your ten year old was injured. Would you want some intervention on behalf of your child? If your answer is "yes," then why should that change just because the 13 year old is the sister of the 10 year old?

Sibling abuse is a serious and far too under-reported event. Children are badly injured - and even killed - by their siblings. If there is a persistent pattern of bullying and hurting it's not healthy sibling rivalry, it's abuse and it should be as subject to legal intervention and protection as any other form of abuse.

Posted by: nlynnc | June 15, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

That amount of violence is scary to me. Siblings fight, but to the point of visible injuries?? And at 13, she really ought to know better. I wonder what the parents said about all this (or if their response was just to beat the kids... they learned this stuff somewhere).

Posted by: floof | June 16, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

If the children were not siblings, how would you respond?

If the police are necessary to save one of then, then I'm glad someone called 911.

Posted by: peonymom | June 16, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I saw that story. The parents acted as if the police did something wrong. No shame that their kids were so out of control someone had to call the police. No shame that their kids put them on TV for their bad behavior, just oblivious. Of course if the police blew it off and their kids were hurt they would blame the police.

Posted by: pwaa | June 16, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

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