There are times as a parent when we wonder if we are doing everything right. For me those times happen most when I am playing referee between my three youngest children. I stand there as they argue over nearly everything and wonder how am I ever going to teach them how to be siblings.
I grew up as an only child simply because my 2 sisters didn’t live with me. I was raised by my Grandmother and they by my mother. As a result, we are more like friends than the siblings I used to envy so much on TV shows and even families I knew. My cousins who had a houseful of brothers and sisters always had this bond that I envied and wanted so much to see in my future family. I wanted my children to have what I didn’t.
Now 6 kids later and 3 who are a little less than 2 years apart I wonder if that will ever happen. They don’t want this one touching them or she’s staring at me or even the most recent one: “I just want to be by myself for once!” Am I doing something wrong? I teach my children to be nice to others, kind, loving etc. but when it comes to each other they seem to lose all of this.
That is until the other day. The other day I got a bit of encouragement. It was my youngest son’s birthday and I heard his older sisters telling him to get out of their room. I went upstairs ready to intervene and insist they ‘be nice’ but when I got up there they were both huddled in between their beds covering pieces of paper. After begging me to get him out they finally told me they were working on his birthday cards. What? That’s right – my girls were actually doing something just for their baby brother.
I was shocked, touched and impressed all at once. They were drawing his favorite characters, writing him sweet little messages and putting all their creativity to work. They even asked if they could take their tooth fairy money to go get him a real store present. Close to tears I told them of course and tried to leave the room without loosing it.
That’s when I started to think, despite all their arguing and fussing they were siblings. Yes they had moments when getting along was the last thing on their mind but when it came down to it they know who they are: Sisters. Brothers. Family. Siblings. They love each other and always will. Lesson learned. I don’t need to teach them how to be siblings I need to learn how to allow them to be themselves and work it out on their own.
Do you intervene when your children argue?
Do you let them work it out on their own?