Parenting three kids between the ages of 19 months and 8 years is not for ants. Three kids with different temperaments, capabilities and demands. Three kids who all require a piece of me at different times of the day, or night. I have always tried to be sensitive to this, to remember that they are all at incompatible stages of development and that they all respond to life’s challenges differently.
But for the love of all things good in this world, why can’t my children just get on? Or more specifically, why can’t my boys (5 and 7) just stop butting heads and learn to like each other (yes I know they love each other) and stop wanting to kill each other every 5 minutes?? Sibling rivalry is a real thing. I should know… I lived through it for several years with my own brother. I just never knew how hard it must have been on my mom, and now on me as the one who is continuously having to break up fights and tear them apart during yet another altercation.
There’s no denying my kids adore each other. Just let now of them get seriously hurt or pushed over by anybody else. ( Yup Noah is all like “The only person who is allowed to beat up my brother is me, but if anyone else tries to hurt him, you better sleep with one eye open”) The boys love their baby sister and funnily enough wouldn’t dare hurt her or deny her anything that is going to make her happy. Hunter wants to sit in the middle? They move up. Hunter wants the ball they are playing with? They hand it over. Hunter wants their snack. They (sometime reluctantly) oblige. But turn the situation around and the kind-heartedness they show towards their sister vanishes when it’s the two of them. I guess already I have made the mistake of comparing and asking them to love each other the way they love their baby sister isn’t really the way to go. Their relationship is more intense, more competitive, more complicated because they have been at it for longer. Hunter is still a novelty and they are genuinely invested in looking out for her. But i really wish Noah could see how his little brother longs to be protected and looked after too. I wish Brody would give Noah the chance to be the bog brother and be the one to make some of the bigger decisions without entering a glass cage of emotion. EVERY. FIVE. SECONDS.
Everyday it’s the same story :
“Mom, Noah’s being rude” “Mom Noah hurt me” “Mom Noah told me he hates me” “Mom Noah kicked me in the nuts” “Mom Noah told me I can’t play with him” Mom Noah pushed me off my bike”
And then the earful I get from Noah is enough to put me in a lucid dream like state where I don’t know if I’m dreaming or if this long-ass story my kid is telling me is even remotely true. Only to later find out, it is. “Brody did in fact steal his drone and hide it in the garden for two days and he did in fact punch him in the face so hard that his lip split and blood dripping down it and he did in fact eat both cookies I had given to him for both of them.
The thing is that I know they are capable of getting along and being close friends who are sensitive to each other. I know this because I’ve witnessed it with my very eyes, the love and connection between them at times. Sometimes we think we have turned a corner. For a day or two, or sometimes even three will feel the weight of all the fighting and shouting lift and will notice with wide-eyed wonder how they are playing so beautifully and using all the tools we have tried to teach them to get along and resolve tensions that arise.
But it’s not long before they are at it again and I feel my blood start to rise to the point where I fear I may suffer a heart aneurysm. You mamas feel me? I mean we can’t go on like this. I cannot spend my days breaking up fights and playing referee, repeating myself over and over to the point of insanity. I honestly feel like I’m sometimes living in the twilight zone. I’ll be staying there talking to myself and wonder “Have I not just not spoken to them about this?” Has this exact thing not just happened two hours ago?” How is it possible that I cannot get through to them that hitting is not okay, that teasing is cruel, that being a bully is not right, that arguing over toys is selfish and bratty, that ignoring someone when they are talking to you is rude, that leaving someone out of a game is insensitive. That trying to irritate each other just to get a reaction…..Is IRRITATING! For EVERYONE!!
Something has to give right? How do I fascinate the conflict that arises day to day? How do we find ways to resolve the conflict so that 1. I don’t always have to be caught in the middle and they learn to resolve it on their own, and 2. So that I don’t have to shout and scream and allow my emotions to get in the way of it all. I mean, It’s like a bomb waiting to go off and my shouting is the detonator. Before we know it we are all screaming and crying and wishing the day wold come to an end. And I hate it.
I swear its doing may head in. I’m on the verge of taking them to play therapy to work this out once an door all. Any thoughts on that? I had some other great pearls of wisdom from my Instagram post last week, including some great reading material. Any moms in the same boat care to weigh in?