Thursday, 12 July 2012

Sibling Rivalry

I have a very dear friend who dropped in the other day, out of the blue… why was this so special? she live on the other side of the country.

We watched our 3.5-year-olds play… It was really great, because although she has not been gone for a long time, it was enough time to realize how our babies were growing, as before she left they would play in the same room but not together, they were totally inseparable this time and it was dreamy…

As the coffees were being drunken and we were laughing about life, I was watching their younger son, who I think is a little over one,  he wanted to join in…well It was not taken well and a fight broke loose between the two sibling… My friend asked me to write a blog about how to control fighting sibling…


Now this is where I need to leave a short space free so everyone can send me some advice…

My kids fight continuously; I chose to look at this as a sign of love, like a schoolboy who picks on a girl he likes.  I may have my head stuck in the sand but if I played referee constantly, I would never get any house work done... well less than I currently do anyway.

The three main things are:

NO BULLYING… sibling rivalry is one thing, but name calling and personal attacks are not fair for anyone, god knows we get enough of it in the out side world so home should be safe.  (this does not mean it does not happen in our house, but it is not left un noticed)

BE RESPONSIBLE… if you are the older sibling and what you are doing  will hurt or be unsafe, you are at fault and should be punished… if you are younger sibling and continually decide to play with someone you know is going to do things to hurt you then you are at fault and wont get any sympathy. 

BE CONSISTENT… if the rule is don’t call your brother a Ranga, then don’t let him do it some times and then not others… if the rule is no double bouncing on the trampoline when your younger brother is screaming for his life, then no double bouncing…  inconsistency is the mischievous spirit that breeds excuses for bad behavior in the home.  If kids know the rules, they know the out comes, so there for  cant sook for being in trouble, so are ultimately are in control of their own outcomes.

It is easy to micro manage kids lives, I have friends who’s kids are scared to go into the play ground at school because their parents monitor and watch everything they do to protect and keep them safe (a good thing in moderation)… The fact is, we all need to learn how to stand up for ourselves and how to make choices about our own safety and the people we should and should not play with… Home is the first place we learn these virtues.

I by no means have perfect kids, I spend a fair chunk of my day yelling, there is a lot of time with kids in their bedroom for bad behavior and I too will put my hand up for using the TV as a baby sitter on way too many occasions…

But for all my faults, I have reasonably secure kids, kids who know how to size up risk and if they are willing to take it, then they know there is always a  follow through reaction, be it good or bad… now don’t get me wrong, there will always be people who don’t like my kids, (we all know what that is like, when you don’t take to your friends kids) BUT  as a whole, they are confident to try new things, stand up for themselves in the play ground and usually pick relatively decent friends.

So my thought is that watching your kids every move, fixing their every fight, doing their homework, making excuses, writing a note so they don't have to do PE, all the things we do to make their life easier ( I am not immune from any of these things)… It does not make a role model child. 

Kid's learn how to be responsible for their own actions in our homes… So lets build a future with bright happy confident people and take a step back like Marlin finally did in Nemo… Although he was scared to let Nemo get hurt, he dis empowered him by not letting him take the risks he needed, too be able to learn where his inner strengths lay.  When Marlon finally let go, Nemo was able to reach his full potential and Marlon could be proud of the choices Nemo made based on judgment not fear.

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