Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk segregation. Sibling segregation, that is. I love each of my children equally, but right now I just don’t love them TOGETHER. It’s the Bickersons at my house every day, every night. They just can’t seem to get along. It’s pick, pick, pick by my daughter until she gets a rise out of her brother. It’s a bossy boots brother screaming at his sister to not touch his stuff and the list goes on and on. Add to this a knock down drag out competition for my attention. Rules of Thunderdome? There are no rules! Two kids enter, one kid leaves. As much has I’d like to be Tina Turner and have her legs, could I please, pretty please with sugar on top have a little more Waltons and a little less Mad Max (if you don’t get these references because you’re not old like me insert Full House and Nanny McPhee)
But get them alone—it all changes! They are their sweet little adorable selves. We have long talks about this and that. They open up about their day. I find out what they are thinking about–usually a rambling jumble of thoughts that makes little sense (because it’s about a computer game or something at school that I know nothing about) but I let them ramble and cherish every word because it feels real and true. It’s an insight into their little soul that only seems to come out during these alone moments. I also have an opportunity to do some real “parenting” not the screaming, threatening, and meting out punishments that takes place most of the time. It makes me feel fulfilled not depleted. If I didn’t have these few moments with each of them, I think I might just go insane.
Forget homework, soccer, or preparing a decent meal for your family (that’s why they invented prepared foods), make time for alone time with each of your kids. Engage them in a bike ride, take a walk around the neighborhood, or put together a puzzle. Try to make it slow (kids know when you’re feeling rushed), let them open up at their own pace. It’s a win-win situation and, trust me, there’s not much else you do as a parent that will feel as rewarding
As to why they turn into little monsters around their siblings, I don’t have an answer to that. I suspect that phenomenon has been around as long as there have been people on this earth. The only thing I can provide, in abundance, is empathy! You are not alone! There is another mother out there in the universe who feels the same way (that’s my version of a virtual online hug).
BTW: The comment section below LOVES to hear from readers and wants to hear from YOU! Give me a shout out, share your story, take this chance to vent about your “dueling” cherubs (aliases and pseudonyms allowed!).