WT 151: Sibling Rivalry
Resources mentioned in this episode:
I Said This, You Heard That by Kathleen Edelman
Question 1: My kids bicker all day long about the most inane things!!! What’s your response to this kind of picking at each other??
Karen’s Answer: I know it is annoying and drives us moms crazy! I say that on one hand, but on the other hand, kids will be kids, and the bickering is just part of it. I do however think we have to teach our children to be kind to one another, to love one another, even their siblings. I know it seems ridiculous that you would have to teach your child that, but you do. Keep at it and don’t give up.
Question 2: I am expecting baby #2 this summer. Any tips on how to prepare my 3 year old for the new addition to our family? What kind of changes should I be expecting and is there any way to prepare now for that?!
Karen’s Answer: Start talking about the baby as much as you can. If you know the gender, tell your 3 year old. Involve your 3 year old as much as possible. I always would get a present from the baby to give to the older sibling. I tried to talk up the position of the oldest sibling like “You are going to be a wonderful big brother/sister, You are such a big boy/girl, etc”. I think it is good to speak words of life over your child. Be positive and think positive.
Question 3: How can you teach the oldest (4) to let a younger one have their way? We are so close to understanding that concept and I don’t know if I’m expecting too much or if she can be taught to act like the oldest and find something else to do instead of fighting over something.
Karen’s Answer: If she is 4 and you are getting her close to understanding that is a HUGE win. ☺ Honestly, I wouldn’t throw out the “oldest” card too much. I would just teach the principle that sharing means caring and we need to love each other, and one way to do that is to share and do what the other person wants every now and then. Sometimes we throw out the “oldest” card too much and the oldest begins to resent that because it’s like they have a set of rules that the other children don’t have. Just my two cents worth! Keep doing what you are doing.
Question 4: I have two sons, a 10 year old extrovert who is constantly inviting friends over and a quite introverted 13 year old who will blow up at his brother for bringing friends into our (admittedly small) home and interrupting his quiet. Any suggestions for how to navigate this dynamic?
Karen’s Answer: I would start teaching the boys about the temperaments and the “needs” of their siblings. So for instance, your 10 year old needs to have the freedom in his own home to invited friends over, yet also he needs to respect his brother’s personal space. I would suggest to the 13 year old, when his brother has a friend over, pick a spot in the house, he can hang out in with the door closed. Both boys can learn to think of the other, before they act on what they want. Teach your child to become of a student of his brother and learn to give love.
Question 5: I am constantly having to redirect my almost 3 year old, red daughter to stop pestering her 10 month old sister. She is too rough with her and makes her cry frequently throughout the day because she treats her like a doll. She deliberately will provoke her and when my 10 month old cries/yells she continues to pull on her arm or whatever she may be doing to her. I’ve tried praising her when she is gentle and kind to her sister, I’ve tried spankings after she was told to stop pulling on her sister etc., I’ve recently starting taking a toy away until she can be nicer to her. I’ve had numerous discussions in toddler friendly terms. I model kindness and discuss kindness with her. I just feel like nothing is really stopping this behavior. She loves her sister and can be very sweet with her, but I’m tired of constantly scolding her for making her sister cry. Help!
Karen’s Answer: Kelsey used to do this with Emily. I think Kelsey just thought Emily was her personal baby doll. Kelsey wasn’t trying to be mean, she just wanted to play. Keep doing what you are doing, but also tell her that her little sister is too young to really play with her. Maybe offer her some things she can do, like help you get a diaper and wipes for her. Give the sister a toy, but her sister take the toy from her, her not shake it in her face. I would keep coaching her on what is the right/wrong behavior. Be careful, because with Emily and Kelsey, Emily would see Kelsey and start crying because she didn’t want Kelsey to come near her. I would then tell Kelsey to stop. Emily learned real quick, her crying, would get her what she wanted, and Emily ended up being a real whiny little girl. You DON’T want that. Keep doing what you are doing.
Question 6: Did any of your kids ever struggle with comparing themselves to one another? I can see my older daughter who is 15 starting to struggle with jealousy over her 13 year old sister (being in gifted classes, being considered “popular”, etc). How do I redirect her heart toward contentedness?
Karen’s Answer: Lord yes! All of them. I would call it out, and ask my girls especially, “Who is on your back?” They would reply, the Green Monster, which is jealousy. Then I would just say, how do you get rid of him? They would reply, “Celebrate my sister, and be happy with myself”. I just always told my girls, that in life people will always have more than you, do better than you, etc, so you have to find contentment in your own life, and find joy. Contentment is a choice. Paul says, “I have LEARNED the secret of being content…” (Phil 4:12) It doesn’t come naturally. Keep preaching mom! The more you get in the Word, the more it will flow out of you naturally.