I love my kids. I love them individually, their little quirks and characters. And I want them to have a great relationship with me, but more importantly, I want them to love each other. Maybe more than me. Because they are all they’ve got. So why haven’t they gotten the memo?
Sibling Love and Sibling Rivalry is real. And it’s normal (for example, my sister may have been part of a choir, but I sound MUCH better singing in the shower. So I’m a better musician in my mind!). But, sometimes, I notice my daughter,Spud pushes her brother, Bean Sprout or Bean Sprout likes to hit Spud. And I get worried. Why don’t they love each other?
Is it me?
Am I playing favourites?
Is this an issue with how I discipline them?
Am I bringing them up to be too competitive with each other?
Am I comparing them a lot?
Wait, why am I blaming myself for THEIR behaviour?!
Ah yes, Parental Contempt. Where everything your child does, is a reflection of you. Yes, in some ways it is. But children are mini-human beings. And human beings have their own characters. Nature and Nurture rules. You’re not going to turn an exuberant child into a demure one (though you could undermine their confidence). You’re not gonna make a Princess into a Space Astronaut, you could end up confusing her.
So, maybe we should step back a bit. Let your kids develop their own relationship, their own special language tha doesn’t involve running to Mummy all the time to settle fight. Maybe constantly interferring in their squabble is making my kids not learn how to deal with each other and learn compromise and growth. Maybe I should get out of their way.
Giving your children room to grow is hard, especially when you know all the pitfalls out there they can fall into. But do it, you must. For their sakes, for your sake, for their future. You’re not going to be here one day, that is certain. So bring them together, but give them space to also love each other, in as natural a way as possible. Brothers and Sisters can have a special bond where they gang up behind you to plan your surprise birthday party or they can have nothing at all, be total strangers who don’t show up for each other’s birthdays. We can put in all the hard work and it may not work out the way we plan. So why not encourage them to share, to care, to empathise and then get out of their way, so they can discover their own love language to each other.
Spud and Bean Sprout are still pushing each other but in the next 10 minutes, she’ll be using my MAC makeup brush to tickle him, he’ll be screaming with laughter. They are figuring their relationship out all by themselves. And that’s good.
Now, I need to go punish both of them for using my MAC makeup brush as a toy.