Anyone with more than one kid will know what a pain sibling rivalry is. The constant fighting is the pits! We are two weeks into the Winter school holidays and I am constantly playing referee. My kids are best friends but man, can they irk each other!
Typical sibling relationship
My dad asked me the other day how Alex and Josh get along and I have to say they are typical siblings. They fight constantly and everything is a competition but then they are also the best of friends. It’s like their greatest joy is to rile each other up and yet they can’t leave each other alone. Even the smallest thing like watching an episode of My Little Pony or Pokemon without the other one causes a big fight!
That being said, they do love each other to bits and cannot stay apart. For example, Alex spends all her monthly pocket money as soon as she gets it while Joshua likes to save. Even though by rights she deserves to go through the month broke, Joshua will always include her when treating himself to a milkshake or a sweet treat.
He often jokes that when they’re older, Alex will blow her entire salary and be calling on him to pay her “house fees”!
Our simple solution to sibling rivalry
Things came to a head the other night when the kids had a big argument after Cassandra bumped her head and Joshua joked that Alex should be more careful with her. Alex is very careful with her and a good big sister so she took offense.
With big tears she told me: “I’m writing Joshua a letter and telling him exactly how he makes me feel! And I don’t care how dark it is, I’m writing my true feelings!”.
As soon as she said it I actually thought what a good idea that would be! I quickly made her a cup of tea and sent her to her room to do just that.
Not only did the time alone do her good but she really poured her heart into that letter to her brother. She carefully articulated all her feelings being able to take her time to write it down.
In a nutshell she told her brother how much she idolized him and how badly his teasing hurts her feelings. Especially so when he implies that she does not take care of Cassandra.
She also said it’s like being bullied and that since she is “stuck with him for her whole life” he should treat her more kindly. She let me have a quick read and then she slid the letter under his bedroom door.
One look at Joshua’s shamed-face a few minutes later told me that he really took her letter to heart.
They spent the next hour in his bedroom (at his invitation) and I couldn’t tell you what was said because apparently it’s private. Whatever was said clearly brought them both to their senses. They’ve been very kind and affectionate since then!
I learnt early on not to get involved in their disputes. It only opens the door to tattle-tailing and then I’d never have a moments peace!
That letter was such a healthy way to express their feelings and open the door to good communication. It seems to have helped them air out their differences. I hope the peace lasts throughout the holidays but if not at least they have a tool to resolve their issues.
I also know that sibling rivalry is completely normal and something they will outgrow as they get bigger. They are as close as can be and they will be the best of friends for life!
Do your kids fight or only mine? How do they get over it? Please drop your comments below.