Sibling Rivalry: How to Keep Things Fair

Is there really even a way to keep things fair when it comes to Sibling Rivalry? I know first hand that there was nothing fair about it when I was a kid. Welcome friends to Sibling Rivalry: How to Keep Things Fair. Whether we agree or disagree, this is my voice and I’m gonna use it. You never know until you read on.

And So It Begins

I was a child of a single mother with three older siblings. Two brothers and a sister. I am the youngest so, as with all the rest of you youngest siblings, I was the brunt of all jokes, the one who always got busted before ever really even knowing what kind of trouble I hadn’t even thought of yet. All this courtesy of my older siblings. There is and, always will be tensions between siblings simply because of these little tidbits I’ve picked up on over the years. This pointless spat pictured above was kids not stopping and listening. Justin wanted off, thought Jacks and Jay were telling him to stay on. All the time thinking that they had to fight for the last seat on a twirly sprinkler. It was heated and shortlived but, a good reminder of fair and equal punishment in this never-ending Sibling Rivalry game. They lost the twirly sprinkler now for the next few days. (BTW, we couldn’t help but laugh).

My Little Tidbits:

  1. The oldest always gets more, gets away with more and never lets you forget. Yes all you oldest siblings, we’re on to you! First-time parents are infants as well. Never had a child before, everything is new and a learning curve for parents and child alike. It’s an entire life of firsts for us parents so the ball gets dropped quite a bit.
  2. Let’s have another child to round out the family and so the oldest is never really alone. Enter stage left SIBLING RIVALRY. The second bebe is here. The only time our eldest really get to feel jealousy or animosity over the younger sibling. Why aren’t mom and dad paying attention to me? Why isn’t it all about me? What did I do wrong? Relax guys, all normal. Nothing that positive reinforcement won’t cure.
  3. Depending on how far apart your firstborn and second child is in age, plays a big role too. When Jordan was 3, we had Kyla and right off the bat there was a very real shift of dynamics in the house. I’ll admit that Jordan was and still is a stellar older brother (not so much a fan of newborns but, once they’re not so fragile, look out). His love for Hanna and Mia is deep and incredible which I honestly never thought I’d ever see. We really lucked out with Jordan, he’s quite quiet and generally hangs out in his room which is cool with us.

So, the oldest really isn’t an issue in our house at all. He hates the drama as do I. The other siblings though? Hell hath no fury between them. From sun up to sun down, there is always an issue, always someone on the verge of a mini breakdown. Some days it feels like a smash my head off the wall kind of day. Here’s my  5 best How to keep things fair:

  1. Divide to conquer. Yep, get them separated and breathing normally again. You get the right answer the first time after they’ve settled down a bit first.
  2. Don’t forget to ask the W’s. Why did you do that, What if they did that to you… I find it helps my kids to relate to the other side of the fence so to speak.
  3. Don’t punish if you’re angry. Your punishments will be unfair, far too severe and will leave you feeling upset and perhaps even guilty. Just like the kids need time to settle down, I quite often find myself a little riled up as well (or a lot riled up depending on who you ask). Breathe deep and relax. A level head will always pull you through it.
  4. This one is my nemesis. Listen to every last word of what your children are trying so desperately to explain. There is an end in sight and it’s surprising how close the stories actually are. For me, it’s finding out who started it and why. I want to know what’s making my kids act this way and more often than not, who’s the mastermind pushing the buttons as there usually is around this house.
  5. Remember when you were young and try to relate. No matter what age they are, we were there once too. I know it’s a hard thing to grasp but, I remember a lot of my childhood and I find it really helps with the whole “kids wanting to tear each other’s heads off”.

All a Dad Can Strive For

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