Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sibling Rivalries

Being an only child is easy especially with two loving parents as I always have their collective or singular (undivided) attention. There was never the need to perform theatrics or otherwise. Well, who am I kidding? Of course, I performed theatrics as a young child but it was so that I could get what I wanted and that was ... Barbie Dolls!
Therefore, when I was gifted with two babies at the same time, I really did not (till today, I sometimes still don't) know how to deal with sibling rivalries except focus on the big picture of being equitable.
Back in 2013
They are growing quickly in every sense of the word and I am regularly working out my parenting strategies. Here are some of those:
When they fight over toys that they both like, I tear my hair out and remove the "offending" item which, as you guessed it, results in screaming tantrums of tsunami proportions. I call this "you asked for it!"
When one twin takes the other twin's favourite toy, I tell the twin who is upset to take the other's twin's favourite toy and the problem becomes non-existent almost immediately. It works all the time, so far and I have affectionately call this "tit-for-tat".
When one twin has a tantrum (for whatever non-existent reason) wherever it may be and regardless we have company or not, I tell that child that my ears hurt and have a headache because of the loud noise and promptly walk away which, as you can imagine, results in a very LOUD and PUBLIC display of utter DESPERATION. Still, I continue to walk away and the other "seemingly obedient" twin will at this point, walk away with me too. The disobedient twin eventually pulls herself / himself together and whimpers towards me. I call this "you will not get what you want by misbehaving".
When they both have an argument and scream at each other, they see me as their mediator. Quite often, I am not present when their disagreements occur so I tell them to "sort it out themselves" and walk away. Yes, they then scream louder and all of a sudden, I am the culprit. Oh well, they soon get over it. I call this "deal with it".
I would be the first to admit that patience is not a virtue of mine and certainly not by a long shot. The approaches cited above may seem callous. However, I have found them to be beneficial to my style of parenting without raising my voice (unnecessarily), in building my children's confidence and teaching them about resilience.
What about you? How do you deal with sibling rivalries?

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