The biggest problem I have as a parent of two boys who are 2 years and nine months apart, is the constant fighting. My oldest child feels the need to be the third parent to our four-year old. Our four-year old reels in anger when JJ opens his mouth to correct him or parent. I continually tell JJ that it’s not his job to parent his little brother, to let mom and dad handle it, or to simply tell us if Braidy is in a dangerous situation and needs to be stopped.
Also between the two of them, who share a bedroom, its hard to keep their toys and belonging separated. We have a playroom where most of the toys reside. It’s great for when I host play groups. Overtime it becomes blurred as to whose toy is who’s. This is especially true with Legos. We have one giant bin of Legos that the boys can pull out from under their bed and play with together. But then there’s the petty arguing of one of them wanting a piece the other one is using. Its constant and its nerve wrecking and I know I’m not the only mother out there dealing with the petty arguing.
So how do we remedy the situation?
Obviously if your children have their own rooms, it can make things a little easier and toys don’t have to be as “shared” if they aren’t also sharing a bedroom where you usually have a common toy box for all the toys. You could label the toys, write “Andy at the bottom of his Sheriff Woody doll, but what if the bickering goes deeper than toys? What if it’s about who brushes their teeth first at a shared sink, or who eats their cereal faster than the other, leaving them in a puddle of tears thinking they just aren’t as good as their sibling? Yes, this does happen. In fact my children race to get out of the car to shut the garage door first. It’s a real thing here and thank God I have an auto-reversing garage door because that could really hurt someone. The competitiveness between siblings can be fierce and unrelenting and down right daunting for parents who just want the pettiness to stop.
When Your Children’s Ages Prohibit Being Fair
Some of the most common problems I have include things that my seven-year old is allowed to do, but my four-year old just isn’t old enough to do yet. For example, my seven-year old can ride his bike six houses down to the house at the corner of the street and play with his friend Tegan in the front yard only. He’s not allowed to go any further than that, if he breaches that, he knows he’s grounded. My four-year old is simply not allowed to have that much freedom yet. I will let my four-year old play with the girl next door in the front yard only where I can see him. My four-year old fails to see why he can’t do what his older brother can do and go down the street by himself. It’s hard for kids that age to understand why they can’t do the same as their older sibling…heck, I’m sure its hard for kids any age to understand why they can’t do what their older sibling can do.
Making it as Fair as possible
At any rate defusing the situation can be something like this. When you child goes down the street to a friend’s house to play and the four-year-old can’t go with, allow them to have something they don’t normally have during that time, like screen time, or if they love playing with play dough or paint…let them do something special or agreed upon when your oldest is at their friend’s house.
I’m still trying to figure out the whole sibling rivalry thing, but some obvious factors will be taking turns, and setting aside special time for each child so they don’t feel like they have to compete for your affection and agreeing on special tasks or activities your younger one can do, when your oldest is engaged in an activity that is age appropriate for them, but not for your younger child. For me this has been the hardest part of parenting.
What would you say the hardest part of parenting is for you?
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