They used to love each other

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My boys are just shy of 3 years apart. When we knew we were having a 2nd boy, some of my friends warned me about how badly some brothers can fight with each other at young ages. Thankfully, my boys have really gotten along fairly well. Maybe it’s because their personalities are so different, they don’t (didn’t) cross each other too much.

Owned by H.K. Robinson
Owned by H.K. Robinson

Until now.

Lately, they’ve been in each other’s grill like crazy. I’m not sure what is going on but they just cannot stop each other from constantly bickering. I’m trying to not get involved too much but when I see that it’s the older one (8 year old Andrew) finding ways to pick on, put down or just be a nudge to his brother, which is followed by Dylan (the soon-to-be-6-yr-old), losing his temper, I can’t just let it be.

Last night, as we all settled into bed, I heard them talking (they share a room).

Dylan asked “Hey Andrew, do you know how much I love you?”

(Awwww….I thought I was about to witness a cute, adorable moment between brothers)

Andrew: “No.”

Dylan: “Less than zero.”

Andrew: “Well, I love you negative infinity.”

This went back and forth a little bit, each brother trying to clearly express his discontent for the other.

This morning, they were at it again. Andrew got Dylan fired up and apparently smacked his brother in the back. After some intense discussion about Andrew constantly trying to piss his brother off and Dylan needing to learn to control his actions, I tried a different tactic.

When we were kids, my brother and I fought like crazy. My mother would make us sit quietly on our stairs for 5 minutes, then say 3 nice things about each other. It was brutal.

I sat the boys down in their room and said, “I will give you 5 minutes to sit here and come up with 2 nice things to say about each other. You can’t leave the room until you do so.”

They both said “No way! That’s so lame.” But I walked out of the room and waited. Not much time passed when I heard them each mumble a few things to each other and then come flying out of the room to head downstairs, “We’re done mommy!”

Within 10 seconds, Andrew turned around to his brother and said “What I said in there??? I take it all back.”

Dylan: “MOOOOOMMMMY! Andrew needs to sit back in the bedroom.”


So, here we go, ready to tackle a fairly new issue in our house. I’m paying attention to where this is coming from and how it’s playing out, but I’m also trying to work on when I do and don’t intervene. (I always do a little check of “Empowering Parents” to look for pointers, such as this article).

For me, this is my opportunity to really work with them on conflict resolution and kindness/respect. I guess before now, I hadn’t really felt that we had to sit and over-talk such points. But here we are, needing to make it a constant conversation.

I’m curious if anyone else has had a sudden rise or occasional spike in sibling conflict. Any tips and ideas are welcomed!!

1 comments on “They used to love each other”

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