Life of a mother is an extremely overwhelming journey. Adding cream to the milk is having more than one kids. Yes, if as a mother of a single child you have been struggling with your kid’s tantrums, then you have no clue how jealous I am of you. My life comprises of a primary schooler and a toddler, both constantly vying for my attention and taking the home by storm if their demands are not met. Sounds gory! Well, I do have my WOW moments ( a lot of them to my delight), when I watch the two boys busy with a toy car or both of them huddled up together to scheme something. And then there is this assurance that they will always be there for each other. No matter what… But such moments in this phase of life are shortlived. For what I see now is a continuing tussle to prove who mumma loves more(read who will come and jump on to mumma’s lap first), or a fight over who will play with what toy. For me it is a perpetual dilemma about paying attention to the elder one with his studies versus spending some quality time with the younger one.
But one thing that I know for sure, is that sibling fights are a reality. If not with blood siblings, these fights could be a part of your life if your kids are living with cousins (similar age) too. But what does one do about these fights?
My elder son was two years of age when he had a cousin sister in the home. As she grew up, the two seemed to be at loggerheads always. Initially, I would get very upset about my boy fighting with his cousin and I would resort to scolding and shouting. It was only when I had my younger one another 18 months later, that I figured that I had to look for a more permanent solution that would help me keep my sanity too. I receded to the fact that sibling fights were now going to be a permanent part of my life. What was a larger concern now was that these kid fights should not culminate into a lasting impact in the form sibling jealousy.
In this post I elaborate on a couple of things I worked on to deal with sibling fights. Before you move on to these pointers, please understand that like all other parenting issues, the art of dealing with sibling fights is also an inwards process. How you look at these fights, will determine the course of your action. Also it definitely is more about keeping your sanity intact while making sure that you instill the right values, because after all kids will kids –
Prepare the elder child
When I got pregnant with my younger one, Nik was hardly 2.5 years old. But he had started having conversations and I took every opportunity to tell him that there was a baby in mumma’s tummy. I told him stories about how I was very happy when Massi (my younger sister) was brought from the hospital. How I never disturbed my mumma, when she was taking care of my younger sister. And also stories of how much we both enjoyed as kids. This created a positive image about the idea of having another kid who would though divert his Mumma’s attention away from him, but will be fun.
Build Up Separate Routines for the kids
If the kids are wide apart in their age, this should not be a problem. The routine of the school going kid automatically leads the path. Once the younger one is born, the initial excitement might soon die down when the elder kid realizes that the baby is taking away her mommy time. As a remedy, other than the compulsory feeding time, I made sure that I had my quality time with the new born after Nik was gone to school. Once he was back, I would again direct most attention to him. OR TO BOTH. I encouraged him to sit beside the new born (with touching him), or allowing him to touch only by tickling the baby’s feet. (I had had my lessons with his cousin sister, when he would in his excitement try and grab her in what ever way he felt was possible)
Avoid Breeding Jealousy
I see, especially in India, how the elder child is moved to another room, as soon as the younger one arrives. This obviously is a necessary step, but must be executed with utmost sensitivity. We had started putting Nik to bed with his grandparents, while I was expecting Lucky. But two months after the baby arrived, Nik came to our room one morning and said, “Are you only junior’s parents” In came an additional mattress and along came back Nik into our bedroom. Given our space limitations, that was the solutions we could think of. Both the kids will move out together now as we prepare to get their kids’ bedroom decked up. Nipping the jealousy in the bud is crucial to assure the kids that they are both important. Telling them through words may not work. Show them.
Every child is unique. Trust me, even if they have come from the same womb, remember that the sperm and the egg were different. The biggest blunder that fuels sibling fights and even long lasting jealousy is the parents’ attitude of comparing the siblings. One will be good at one thing, while the other will have his strong foot lying in another area. NEVER EVER COMPARE. The very reason that I am not elaborating this point with any real life examples is that I do not wish to highlight their differences. Or how one is seemingly better than the other in one area, while the other is way ahead of the first one in another area. They will both have their own strengths and weaknesses. As a parent your job is to independently nurture both of them. No Matter What.
Do Not Take Sides During Sibling Fights
When siblings fight, it is mostly without any logic. Unless no physical harm is impending, it is advisable to keep out of it. Because when you intervene, it becomes a battle of seeking your approval and attaining your favor. The fight is likely to aggravate, where each will extend limits to prove themselves right infront of you. And if YOU tell them, that you are wrong, they may go into a shell. This will further breed jealousy.
If you chose to keep out of the fight, they will eventually invariably forget about the issue, and after some time lapse will go back to their playing friendly self. Also leaving it to them, helps kids develop their interpersonal sensitivities.
Are you a mother of two or more kids. What is your #Momology Mantra to keep sibling fights and sibling jealousy at bay?
This post is a part of Momology blog train hosted by Thoughts by Geethica, Slimexpectations, Mummasaurus and Yours Truly Roma sponsored by FirstCry Intellikit, Instacuppa, Diet Funda, Hugs n tugs, Tina Basu, Unorthodoxpeeps, Lotus Herbals baby and Shumee toys.
“I would like to thank the very talented Puspanjalee from www.mywritingmyworld.in for introducing me in the week 2 of #Momology Blog Train. And now it’s time to introduce Disha who blogs at www.lifemyway.in