I had my son young, that’s no secret. I’ve always been completely open and honest about that, the struggles, and everything else that comes with it. That said, I knew having another child wasn’t in the cards for us for a few years. I was focused on graduating high school and my husband was preparing to deploy. When we did decide to have our second child, it was 5 1/2 years later. There’s an age gap between my children. I blame that for their sibling rivalry, although I don’t think it matters. Siblings fight no matter what.
Sibling rivalry is the jealousy, competition, or fighting between siblings whether blood related or not. I like to blame their age gap, but the reality of it is, siblings will fight no matter what. Age gaps do not matter, brother or sister, brother or brother, sister or sister, none of that matters. Siblings spend a majority of their childhoods together, so of course they are going to fight. It’s natural. Children get jealous over toys, parents, food, TV, video games, anything you can possibly imagine. It’s frustrating as a parent to have your children fighting all the time, but you’re not alone. All siblings fight.
My children are notorious for fighting. Some days it feels like that’s all they do. They fight over who has more food on their plate, who looked at who or in either’s general direction. They fight over who gets to watch what on TV, who is better at video games, or who gets to feed the dogs. They fight over whose day was worse, who has prettier eyes, or who gets to sit where on the couch. They fight over who is better at anything, who hit who first, and who started what fight. There is literally nothing that hasn’t started a fight and nothing that won’t start a fight. It’s become a daily occurance.
Their sibling rivalry has recently hit an all time high. Not only do they fight what feels like constantly, but now they won’t go places together if they can help it. The other day my mom invited my so to go to Defy, an indoor trampoline park. She was taking my nephew and asked if he wanted to go too. One thing led to another and she asked if my daughter wanted to go also. My daughter was so excited to go, but as soon as my son found out she was going, he didn’t want to go. He refused to go if she went with. It blew up into this whole thing that should’ve never happened. My daughter didn’t end up going and my son did.
This is the part of parenting that sucks. Having to disappoint one of your children because the other is being a huge baby. My son is 13, he could have just sucked it up. They all would have had fun regardless. If it was something with one of his friends or a birthday party he was invited to, I would understand him not wanting to go, but it wasn’t. It was my mom wanting to spend time with her grandkids. My children and my oldest nephew are the only grandkids old enough to do things like that without multiple adults to keep an eye on everyone. All the other grandkids are 5 and younger. It takes a lot more planning and people. My husband and I made up for our daughters disappointment by taking her to lunch, so it all worked out.
Sibling rivalry is an area of motherhood I feel like I’m completely failing in. I have no idea how to handle it. No idea how to stop it. Despite my best efforts, everything I’ve tried has failed. Maybe sibling rivalry can’t be stopped. Maybe it is just one of those things we’re forced to grin and bare. Maybe it’s something that can’t be resolved not because I’m failing, but because what they are fighting about is always changing. I feel like because all efforts have failed, maybe it’s not one solution, but many solutions that will ease the sibling rivalry. Regardless, it’s one area of motherhood I struggle with.
Children are little humans. They have bad days and they have big feelings. Sometimes they come home stressed and on edge. They are bound to have blowups and start fights or argue. We have bad days as adults and don’t always handle them well. We as parents need to remember to teach our children ways to deal with stressful days and big emotions. Maybe that’s the key to reducing or stopping sibling rivalry. Whatever the case, sibling rivalry is something everyone deals with. You are not alone in that. Take it one situation at a time and if you figure out a solution, I’m open to hearing it.