Just let them be, already: Sibling Rivalry

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Apr 14, 2010

by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com

It's funny, our three kids could not be more different if we had them genetically encoded. And over the years, I've come to learn that you can't force things that may not be there with siblings. This is especially true with our oldest two – boys who are 2.5 years apart. Night and day. The oldest one is fairly quiet, an observer, a diplomat who likes to fly under the radar. The second guy is 500% energy, high on life, tireless, a kid of can't help but fly into any scene and take over with his bubbly nature.

They are now almost 12 and 10 and boy are their differences ever underscored. The older one finds the younger one annoying in almost every facet of life. Normal I guess among most siblings, however not nice. The younger one, whose heart is emblazoned on his forehead, is sensitive and deeply affected by everything his brother says. We've stopped refereeing the spats and have realized several key things:

Silence, on our part, is golden when they disagree. They debate, or argue, and it's usually rectified fairly quickly. If we step in to referee it escalates and gives everyone a headache.

Personal space is huge. They each need their own personal space and especially their own friends. Having a sibling tag along with another sibling and their friends is a recipe for disaster, if done on an ongoing basis. Letting them play separately makes sense. In essence they need to learn to disagree.

My younger sister and I were absolutely the same. Two polar opposites. While we could fight with the best of them and though we really didn't fight often as kids, we quickly learned that we were too different from each. No one can get under my skin faster than my sister. And the reverse is also true. But, we learned to disagree and move on. She did her thing, I did mine. C'est la vie.

What's interesting with my two boys and my sister and I is that in both cases no one will come to the rescue, defense or help the other sibling more quickly then their brother or sister. And at the end of the day, you can't really ask for much more than that.

As I like to say to my boys from time to time – “you guys love each other a little too much”!

Oh yeah, and the 6-year-old girl just watches her brothers and then does her own thing – totally unaffected!!!

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