Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Brotherly Love?

My boys are completely besotted with each other. The amount of love and care that they often show each other astounds me. At 3.5 Jacks way of caring for his brother at preschool was something most of the teachers pulled me aside and praised. At 4 Hamish's way of sticking up for his brother when other children or I were fighting with him was beautiful to watch.

That's my disclaimer to this post. Because of course my kids also fight like cats and dogs. Now don't get me wrong, I know this is normal and that as children who spend so much time together it's expected. I have even spoken to them about the fact that most families have some fighting in them and that it's normal and doesn't mean that we don't all love each other.

They actually fight a lot less than they used to as they get older, they seem to be getting better at working together to come to a solution they are both happy with. And it's with relief (for all of us) that these days when they do fight it's a lot less physical, so although they do sometimes escalate to the point of thumping one another, it more often just yelling and screaming or using harsh tones and mean words. It's not an every day thing, it's not even an every few days thing but when it happens it's almost always something like this;

It's my turn, no it's mine, no, yes, no, yes, nonononono, yesyesyesyes, NOOO, YESSSS .... MUUUUUM!!! He won't, MUUUUM!!! He won't either ....... MUUUUUM!!! (but the whole thing goes for at least 5 minutes)

And I then usually intervene, trying without taking sides to find some middle ground. Sometimes this winds up with me yelling as well, or threatening to take the object or activity of contention away. In the end we are all cranky with each other and nothing is really resolved.

I'm trying something new these days. At times when everyone is happy I am talking to them about both trying to see when their behaviour is about to lead to a fight. And also the idea that instead of relying on me to mediate, finding a way to stop themselves.

We talk about the ideas of ignoring annoying behavior so that they don't find it annoying in the first place. We talk about walking away so that they can have a break from each other. We talk about trying to negotiate with each other and come to a compromise.

Mostly we talk about the fact that AB and I don't want to have to be put in the middle of an argument between our two favourite people in the world and how we hope that as they grow and get older they will learn to sort things out without them both getting so mad at each other.

As two people raising sibling but never having siblings themselves it's an interesting thing to watch. I often wish I had a sibling so that I could have some reference point. What did my parents do? How did it affect my relationship with my siblings? Etc. Having the insight might not help us much as I think it would, but at least I'd have another sibling relationship to get ideas from.

Anyway, my new way of dealing with it certainly isn't an instant success but I think as it goes on the arguments are getting sorted out more often between themselves. I'm feeling positive about this course of action as it feels like I am giving them skills for conflict resolution and hopefully this will help them more and more as time goes on.

I wonder what other parent do? Or what your parents did with your siblings? Can you actually identify any reasons you do or do not have good relationships with your siblings? Is there one big answer? Probably not.

In the end I'm sure my kids have an amazing and loving relationship and I believe that it will always be that way. Time will tell I guess and at least this way there is a lot less MUUUUMMMMM!!

Watching - Big Bang new eps
Reading - Still on Sandman
Listening - Yesss, nooo, Yesss, nooo
State of mind - after this mornings sibling disagreement, pretty glad it's a preschool day and the boys have a bit of space from one another.

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