Family Relations/Brother-Sister fights

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Question
This is not a big problem, but it is bothering the whole family and while it is nothing serious, it is really annoying and the whole family is fighting more and more, and it all started like this: we got a cat. My daughter, who is 14, really loves animals and 4 months ago we adopted a stray cat. The cat is an adult cat, probably 2-3 years old. She has been through a lot and she is afraid of sudden movement, loud voices, etc. My son is 8 years old. He is very hyper. He makes sudden movements and a lot of loud voices. The cat is afraid of him, but she never bit him or hurt him. She would just go and hide somewhere when he is around. My daughter, on the other hand, really hates that the cat is afraid and that she isn't comfortable in our house. At first, we all talked and son promised he will be carefull around cat. As time passed, me and my husband really fell in love with the cat and her calm and peacefull character. I guess that's when our son started being jealous. He started scaring the cat on purpose. Then, our daughter would shout on him and they would fight. We talked with him many times, sometimes he wants to be good with cat, but when he starts going forward her, she runs away and then he loses patience and starts chasing her which frightens her even more. Then our daughter is mad at him and they would fight. Someone would say to get rid of this cat and to get a little kitten who woll not be afraid, but we can't. We fell in love with her. She is not afraid or nervous when she is with us. Of course we love more our son and we would alway choose him, but is there any other option?

Answer
Katarina,
I think there are a few options. One, as you have stated, is to get rid of the cat. Another is to get your son a pet he can call his own and that matches to him. Another option is to teach your son self-control and when he doesn't exert it then there is a consequence. I think another option is to redirect. He most likely scares that cat because it gets such a great response from people in the home. Kids want responses and they often don't care if they are negative or positive. He is getting a response it's just negative in this instance.
David
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Dr. David Simonsen

Expertise

I am a licensed Marriage & Family therapist with a Ph.D. in Psychology. I work primarily with teens and families on a weekly basis. You will get the straight truth. I will not pull punches.

Experience

I have been working daily with teens and families for the last 10 years.

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AAMFT; AACC; WAMFT

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M.S. in Marriage & Family Therapy; Ph.D. Psychology

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