My brother and I fought like typical siblings. After an afternoon of playing we would need alone time and naturally an argument would occur. My brother still holds some deep-seated resentment about these events, and I recognize having a younger sister was somewhat traumatizing for him.
Over thirty years later, I am parenting an older boy and younger girl, with a similar gap in age. Their arguments are familiar and often remind me of my childhood. This past weekend I had an opportunity to catalog a series of arguments and learned a few things about how my children relate to one another (and how I respond).
Sharing does not come naturally, unless you have more than your sibling. In that case, you are more than willing to share what is leftover and feel rather noble about your charity. This often reminds me of some work situations.
My response the first time this happened was to calmly offer, “we share equally.” After the fifth incident Saturday morning, even the neighbors heard be shout, “WE SHARE EQUALLY!”
What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine. When one child breaks a party toy, their siblings’ toy has officially becomes public property. My children have different styles of negotiating, but their skills have improved with age.
No matter how good the argument, my response is to take the toy away and put it back. Of course, after the complaints and tears begin, we ask the party host for any extra toys. If there are no toys left, we move quickly to packing up for the day. After the excitement of friends, party snacks and cake;
we are I am headed for a meltdown.
Distraction works every time. If you want something, take it. When your sibling is
distracted engaged in another activity or your parents are doing whatever it is they do, take what you want. By the time anyone realizes what’s happened, it may be close to bedtime or you’ve finished playing with the pilfered item anyway.
My response, act as if I never noticed in the first place to avoid a meltdown
or two and offer a distraction of my own. “Does anyone what popcorn?” It works every time!
As I begin a new work week, I am grateful that my kids are going back to school soon and I have nine uninterrupted hours
of the same issues in the adult world.