Monday, July 13, 2009


Today we are talking about Sibling Rivalry.
Are your kids Friends or Foes?

How do you encourage love at home?
How much bickering and arguing can you tolerate?
What is or is not acceptable?

First, I have to look at my own childhood.
There were 4 of us.
I was the oldest, the only girl and obviously the most well-behaved, least troublesome child.
To be honest, I don’t remember us really arguing much.
I'm sure we did.
It was like two families.
There was my brother and I - 2 1/2 years apart.

And then there was a big gap with the "babies" being 10 and 12 years younger than I.
I know that we were NEVER allowed to fight physically.
If we wanted to hit each other,
we had to wait until my parents left to go to some church meeting. ;)
I’ll tell you about chasing my brother with a ski pole some other time.

My mother also made sure to find something good and praiseworthy about each of us.....which with some of those boys wasn't always easy to do!
One time when she was yelling at my brother,
I came in and sweetly announced,
“Mother dear, I just finished emptying the dishwasher
and now I will go and pick up the toys.”
For some reason, she didn’t think I was being altruistic and called me out.
But I was always close to my brothers and we’re still very close today…
Maybe even a little bit sick and twisted close………as my fantasy would be to live with all of my brothers and their families on the same street.

I don’t want you to think that we were perfect…….only I was.
We did have our moments.

My brother did slug the other brother and say, “Dude, I’m sick of you always being so selfish!”
They were 25 and 23 and it was the day before the selfish one’s wedding.

As for my own angels,
It’s pretty much the same.
Physical violence is never allowed………except on the lacrosse field and only when focused on the opponent.
I don’t put up with name calling or belittling either.

I've tried to encourage my kids to find a talent or skill that is just theirs...something they can excel at without having to compete directly with their brothers.

We didn't have many "play dates." The boys had to play with each other so they pretty much had to get along.

We try to support each other by having the entire clan go to the boys games, recitals, choir performances, speeches etc.

And I do remember having little talks with them about “Your friends will come and go but your family will always be here.” Etc. etc.
I even remember the boys bickering one time in the kitchen
And I pulled the Heavenly Father card.
I did.
But I wasn’t lying.
I can’t remember everything I said but I remember feeling like if I didn’t bear my testimony of our family and its purpose, I would have to answer to Heavenly Father. I knew that as the mother, I would be held responsible.

I told them that. I bore testimony of my responsibility as a Mother and their responsibilities to each other as family members and brothers.
It was pretty sobering.
No one said an unkind word the rest of the day…..
Maybe even the next day too. ;)

So share your hot tips!
How do keep the kids from killing each other?
Comment away!


valerie said...

I have two boys 11 and 9 and a girl who is 7. Someday's I'm convinced that my kids hate each other. They LIVE to antagonize one another, which in turn drives me crazier than I already am. An occasional slug on the arm as they walk by and little comments to get the drama queen going. Of course just glancing her way and breathing in the same room gets her going lately. :) Sometimes when they were younger, I'd make them hold hands when they were fighting, which in turn, would cause them to end up laughing. That doesn't work so much anymore. lol I am more tolerant with the bickering than my hubby. I think I have that selective hearing when it comes to that. I just block it out till I hear some real screaming or blood is being shed. lol. I like for them to try and work out their problems between themselves but I don't tolerate physical fighting, or name calling either. Honestly, I know that they love each other. I see it when Mackenzie crashes on her bike and my oldest helps her up and brushes away her tears, and my other son helps his brother find a lost item. I know that in the end, they have each others back.

Missty said...

I can't and don't tolerate teasing, belittling, bickering, bugging or of course hitting, etc. I just can't take it.

So, even tho we have four boys, many peole have said, wow your house is quiet, or tidy, etc. I DON'T do a loud house!
Since day one - stuff like the above has been stopped instantly. I never did the "let them work it out stuff". lol I WORKED it out for them! and FAST. lol

So, maybe it never got very big as they got older? I don't know. I know they are all close, yet they are all very different with different personalities.

I know we never had to deal with a lot of stuff I see extended family and friends deal with - constant bugging each other, etc.

And if they bugged or hit etc. while we were away, we never heard about it! LOL So, that worked to!
Good subject.

Guymons said...

loved your pictures of your kids when they were younger.

Yes, when the kids are antagonizing each other just to hear them whine, oh man, that bugs me. They think it is so fun.

I can tell the end of summer is nearing because they don't play together as well as they did at the start of the summer. They are starting to bug each other. I just try to separate them when they get too...a lot of sending to their rooms...or I quickly answer YES when one of them gets invited to a friend's house. (I am talking about the 2 little guys). Melanee and William get along with each other and do a good job tolerating the little boys.

Bradley thinks that Melanee and William are spoiled, because the things that they get or buy are more expensive than his when William got his iPod thing, he gave Bradley his old one, but Bradley thought he should be able to get a new one, too, so he went on and on for days about us not being fair.

Parenting is hard....I like these discussions. Thanks Gina and the people who comment!!!!