Anonymous said… Great post!! I grew up in a large family and I totally agree with your perspective on this. I have a question of my own for you should you care to answer it in one of your fabulous Q & A posts: sibling rivalry/fighting/arguing/bickering/whatever you want to call it–with so many kids in the house and such a wide range of ages, how do you deal with it? I love your blog!! October 29, 2011 3:22 PM
I feel like I am always striving for three things in this house: 1) organization, 2) getting out of the house on time (which goes right along with organization!) and 3) peace in the home!
ME: Andrew, that’s not nice. Give her back her cookie.
ANDREW: But I already ate it.
ME: You ate it? Well, that wasn’t nice, now was it?
SISTER: Mom! He already ATE it! I’m going to kill him!
ME: No, don’t kill him over a cookie. That wouldn’t be nice. Andrew, say you’re sorry.
SISTER: Mom, he SO isn’t sorry!
ME: Andrew, are you sorry you ate your sister’s cookie?
SISTER: No, he’s not! Mom, punish him!
SISTER: Punish him NOW!
ME: Okay, okay. (turning on the mean-mom voice) Andrew!!!
ME: You have to make it up to your sister, you know, for eating her cookie.
ANDREW: Like how?
ME: Ask her how you can make it up to her. Ask nicely.
ANDREW: (smiling) How can I make it up to you?
SISTER: (thinking) Okay, I know. Give me ten pieces of your Halloween candy.
ANDREW: (not smiling anymore) Ten! That’s not fair! Mom, do I have to?
ME: Yes! That would be a nice way to make it up to her. Next time don’t take things that don’t belong to you.
While for the most part I am okay with the day to day bickering, I am not okay with any form of cruelty. I am not okay with leaving a kid out, ignoring someone, or intentionally hurting someone’s feelings. I am especially aware of making sure they treat each other kindly while they are out playing with others. We’ve explained to our children over and over again that the kids outside our family will treat their siblings the way they see them treating their siblings. We tell them: If you disrespect, say mean things, or push around your siblings in front of your friends, then that is how your friends will treat your siblings. They will take their cue from you. So always be kind to your siblings when you are around other kids.
For the most part this has sunk into their heads and they treat each other well outside of the home. But every once in a while a sibling will come into the house with a sad face or with tears and will tell me that one of their siblings isn’t letting them play with the group, isn’t being nice, or something like that. The one who is being mean gets called into the house right away, and is dealt with. The outside world can be cruel, and sometimes there is nothing you can do about that. But your siblings should always have your back. No exceptions.
The ones who fight/bicker/argue with each other the most are usually the ones who are closest in age ~ Aria & Andrew. Andrew & Aislynn. Aislynn & A.J. A.J. & Avery. Avery & Alex. Afton & Audriana. Audriana & Tony. Rich & Katrina (yes, us too!) ~ but they all can bicker with one another from time to time. Usually they all bicker over couch space. Age doesn’t matter when it comes to a prime spot on the couch. Even little Aria will get the boot if she’s sitting in someone else’s spot. But for the most part she gets to keep the spot, because I’ll eventually walk in and say, “Oh, just be nice and give her the spot. She’s the baby!” Yep, she gets away with a lot because she’s the baby. She’ll still be the baby no matter if she’s three, seven, seventeen or twenty-two.
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