Both of us Mom Squad Moms have 2 kids. But lately, both of us have also been having a similar problem with our kids: sibling rivalry! It is driving us crazy, and it’s only just begun...
As the middle child of three girls, I am very familiar with the concept of sibling rivalry. I have an older sister who picked on me, and I also have a younger sister who I picked on. My older sister and I are nine years apart, so we never really had much bickering. But, my younger sister and I are two years apart, so we more than made up for it.
We would fight about anything and everything. “She took the toy I wanted!” “She got more than I did!” “She’s looking at me!” As we got older the daily bickering turned into all out wars at times. We became expert grudge holders and have been known to go for long times without even talking. But, the fact is that she is my sister and I love her. No matter how bad our fights get, if she needs me, I’m there. That is the magic of siblings. It’s an unbreakable bond that nobody else can understand.
My kids happen to be the same age difference as me and my younger sister. I see a lot of similarities in their relationship already, and I laugh to myself sometimes. They can be so close and they love each other so much, but they still have the power to drive each other CRAZY!
When Joey wakes up before Claire, the first thing he wants to do is go climb in her bed and tackle-hug her. It’s so sweet! But then later, she will spend about 10 minutes carefully tucking in her teddy bear for a nap. She’ll read her bear a story, give him a “ba-ba”, and oh so sweetly kiss him “night-night” before covering him with a blanket only to have Joey climb up, rip off the blanket, grab the bear, and try to eat his face off while Claire helplessly screams “NOooooo Joe-Joe!”
They go back and forth like this all day. They love each other and cuddle, then they’re screaming and fighting over something, back to playing nicely together, then more screaming and fighting ... It seems like a never ending loop. And I know from first-hand experience, that’s not far from the truth!
But, I’m glad that they will also have the great parts of being siblings. They will will have shared memories and inside jokes that nobody else understands. They will always have somebody who gets who they are and where they come from. And most importantly, they will always have someone out there in the world who will have their back.
I found out I was pregnant with my son when my daughter was 11 months old. I was just so happy to find out I was pregnant I didn’t realize that the age difference would create any sort of sibling rivalry. I have sisters, but our ages are far enough apart that I never experience first hand the issues that come with siblings so close in age.
When I had Milo, Evie came and visited me in the hospital. Milo was a tiny quiet thing and Evie really didn’t understand that he was coming home with us. When he finally did, I prepared myself for terrible jealousy from Evie, but it never really happened. I was shocked. She loved him, she cuddled him, she wanted to hold him. The only time it really became a problem was when I was nursing, because Evie would decide right then would be the best time to do something death defying and I couldn’t do anything about it.
Then Milo started moving around. At first, Evie was really excited because she could play with him a little bit more and he wasn’t the little untouchable he had been. Then she realized he was playing with “her” toys and no matter how many times I explained to her they weren’t “hers” and that they were “ours” she wasn’t having it. She would get SO mad when he took “her” things.
Now it’s war. The second they wake up in the morning and my husband and I put them in the living room for milk, it’s like we’ve just put them in the ring. They’re pulling each other down, pushing each other, yelling at each other (and Milo just screams his head off at this point because he doesn’t have many words yet), and I just sit there all day saying “No, no ... No Evie ... NO Milo ... Evie, Milo was playing with that...No Milo, don’t touch ... Evie you have to share ... Milo share ... ”. I am SO tired of saying no ALL DAY. The rule in our house is if you can’t share it, its gets put away. By the end of the day there is usually a PILE of toys stuffed on a shelf the kids can’t reach. But since we started that rule, I’ve noticed there are fewer and fewer toys and while I can’t totally attribute that to the rule, I’d like to think it helps.
But it’s not always toys. It’s attention too. If I’m trying to read a book for Milo and Evie gets wind she’s all over me while simultaneously trying to pry Milo off me and Milo is clinging on to me for dear life while screaming in my ear. If I’m trying to help Evie with something, whether it be going potty or starting an art project, this is generally the time he starts screaming so loudly that I’m afraid the cops are going to end up at my door. Trying to remain patient during these times is key, but not always possible. Sometimes the human in me just FLIPS OUT and the Mommy in me feels SO guilty. But, like I said, I’m only human.
Some days I wonder if I’ll ever get through this phase and then I remember how many phases I’ve already gotten through in the short time I’ve been a Mother and I know I’ll get through this one too. Sometimes I see glimpses of it when the kids start playing together quietly, and while generally its short lived, I do see it. And I’m also aware of the fact that the rivalry will morph and change as the years move on. It will turn into to something different, and it doesn’t ever really get easier, it will become different and it’ll be something new I have to deal with. For now, I just take solace at bedtime and rest and recharge for the next day!
For those of us with more than one child, sibling rivalry can be just a part of life. Sometimes it shows as a competition for attention, and sometimes it’s more of an ongoing daily battle. Some siblings get along great with no issues, but usually there is jealousy or bickering at some point to deal with. All we can really do is encourage each child to do their best and reassure them that we love them equally.
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How do you handle sibling rivalry with your kids? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!