Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sibling Rivalry

It's all relative, I told my son when he asked me "Is 91 a big number?" I asked if he was talking about cookies or farts or snowflakes ... because 91 cookies would be a lot. Turns out he was talking about years - as in 91 years old. I told him I thought it was pretty old, and he proceeded to tell me that 107 was older. Of course. Children always love to one-up you, especially if you're their mom, but MORE especially if you happen to be their sibling. My kids argue and fight and bug and pick at each other pretty constantly. Sometimes I'm good at ignoring this game, other times I freak out and tell them to stop fighting. Sometimes it goes overboard of course, which is why I need to yell to get their attention. I am apparently a referee.

I have a strong belief that you don't get the family you want, you get the family you need, and I think that's true in our case. Both of my children are incredibly strong minded, and it seems as though they thrive on the conflicts between them. I understand this because I did the same with my sisters. I do remember how much we picked on each other, and how satisfying it was when they got in trouble, and not me.

Siblings are a testing ground for relationships. It's a way to figure out how to push buttons, play with power, how to manipulate. They are a way for us to test boundaries in a safe place - in the sanctuary of our home. I do know that it is normal for siblings to fight, and I try not to take sides, because it perpetuates the one-up-ness.

There are times too, when the two of them get along and play so nicely together. Having a boy and a girl means that they have to give and take on certain things, like the girl being allowed to bring the Barbies into the game. The boy is cool with that as long as they know who drives the monster truck. (hee hee)

There are times when the constant bickering gets under my skin. I'm so not perfect at letting things slide. I often remind myself that they need me as their Mom in all my imperfection. I am their Mom specifically because they are supposed to learn things from me that will set the foundation for the adult years way off in the future. Their yelling and bickering will one day be a distant memory to me, and my house will be quiet and not nearly as exciting. So many moms that I know whose children have moved away from home tell me to enjoy the time, because it goes by so fast. I'm told that before I know it, they will be graduating from high school. And I do know that it's true. I'm trying to enjoy my kids how they are right now. The older one has about 2 or 3 years before we hit the teen years, and I know from personal experience that everything will change.

All I can do is allow these children to have their own experiences. They are people who have their own path all laid out in front of them, and nothing I do can change that path. They are pre-destined from some very important things, and I cannot wait to see how they shape themselves. I'm sure I will see some things that I will blame myself for later on, but for now I will just carry on, do my best and try not to interfere too much with their growth.

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