This Lil Piglet

When Siblings Argue, Parents Lose

Let me preface this by saying, I am an only child and my husband was raised as an only child (with half brothers in other homes).   I basically have no understanding what-so-ever of sibling rivalry.  And, in all honestly, I’m not sure what’s going on in my house is actually the dreaded rivalry problem.  This is more of an argument that starts at daylight and ends well into the night.  That’s right, they get in our bed at night and push and shove each other in their sleep.  This mentality is totally not something I can understand.

I want to carefully add that my husband and I don’t argue often and we certainly don’t take part in violence.  I’ve been married before when that wasn’t the case, but my adorable husband and father of my two little cherubs simply does not get angry often and raising his voice is just unheard of.  So, why do my kids think it is ok to walk by one another and just smack each other in the head?  They don’t watch a lot of television and what they do watch is monitor carefully.  Yet, lately, the physical nature of their relationship is just plain puzzling.

Today’s argument went way off the deep end.  My 8 year old is growing weary of his 6 year old brother’s dominance, even if it is just with his voice.  The 6 year old spends a lot of time in his room alone for out bursts and often this behavior includes a whack or smack.  The 8 year old came in from my mom’s where both boys spent the night and asked if he could stay here while the 6 year old went with my mom.  I had no more indicated that he could stay home than the 6 year old decided that he too was staying home.  And, an argument was born.

The 8 year old just wants to be away from the temperamental 6 year old and the 6 year old will harass him and stand beside him and look at him, follow him around, or whatever he can do to agitate the 8 year old.  Instincts leave me thinking that I’ve just failed at raising the 6 year old to handle his emotions.  But, that’s not the case; he is stubborn and often just makes decisions based on whatever he knows will make his brother unhappy.  And, apparently watching his parents fret and sweat ranks pretty high on his list of fun.
I would like to say that this is a summer problem and that once school starts back it will ease up.  But, the bottom line is, it won’t, this was the situation before school dismissed last spring.  I can say that the more I think about it, hanging both boys from a ceiling fan and throwing water balloons at them sounds more and more appealing.  

My question to you is this, what should we do about this problem?  Does this sound like sibling rivalry to you or is it a bigger issue.  Or maybe it’s a non-issue and as an only child I simply don’t know how to handle the situation.  Any suggestions are appreciated.
This guest post was written by Jerri Ann of Mom~E~Centric.  Jerri Ann is an Internet-junkie who has been writing online since 1999. She has 2 boys, ages 6 and 8, and is married to a man she affectionately calls Boy Genius.  Mom~E~Centric is about learning life, learning how to take the punches and put them in their place. “Landing a punch is not near as important as feeling like you are in the fight.”

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