Sunday, January 11, 2009

sibling angst

it's almost a given that brothers and sisters will fight. it is assumed, expected even. but i've been thinking about this a lot lately and wondering WHY?

the last several months or so my kids have totally been pushing each other's buttons. all.the.time. and it is both of them.

the girl (nearly 12) is ms. bossy pants. she thinks she's grown. she thinks it's her right to boss the boy around and bully him. she sees nothing wrong w/ telling him to do something and if he doesn't she will either yell at him or get physical. she's been punished for this a kabillion times.

the boy (9) does things he knows will irritate the girl. and he tattles. and he whines. he will start playing a game with her and then not want to finish if things don't go his way. or, he will ask for her help on something and then fuss at her for helping him or not listen to her.

i fought w/ my brother when we were younger. i really, really did not like him. at all. there are six years between my brother and i. aside from being an only child until he came along, i also was the only grandchild (my brother and three of my boy cousins were born w/in a year of each other) until they came along. he was born in germany, the first time my dad was stationed there. when we came back not only did we have him but there were those three other boy grandchildren. i was not happy, but, still the only girl. (the other girls came along when my sister was born and right before that my aunt had twins, a boy and girl).

i didn't like him from the beginning and really not until we were adults did we actually get along well.

but what is the crux of sibling issues? is it competing for your parents attention? is it competition in general? there are time when my kids get along and they play together and everything is ok. but for the most part lately they seem to be at odds and i don't know how to help them work through this. it is so exasperating.

i know my kids aren't the only ones that do this, but i think we've collectively just accepted that this is the way it is.

i've always secretly hoped that my kids would be close; that they'd be friends. i know the age difference plays a part in it, she's in 6th grade, middle school and he's in 3rd grade. there's a difference in maturity, there's a difference in interests and there's the inherent difference in boys and girls.

there have been times when they have stuck up for each other, usually when outside forces (school) are at work and most often it's been the boy sticking up for the girl. i just hope that when they get older that they lose this attitude they have toward each other and come to like each other and respect each other.

i have a great friend in my brother and i would hate for my kids to miss out on that relationship w/ each other.


Hotch Potchery said...

Yeah. I don't know why brothers and sisters fight the way they do. My kids certainly did, and do now, but they are very close as well.

My sister and I are 7 years apart, I moved out when she was 11. It very well could have been that we were Thanksgiving and Christmas sisters, but because our parents are so hideous, we bonded tightly so we would have a "person".

So, if you really have no ideas, then you could lose your shit in a few years (hubs probably should too), and they could spend lots of time talking about you both and figuring out what to do with you. That will help ensure their closeness. I mean, if it is really important to you.

justsomethoughts... said...

i believe, that more often than not, the closeness comes later on in life. my brother and i fought like animals. actually, i think it was worse than most animals i know of. now we are very close. but there were times that i actually remember thinking to myself "if i catch him, i'm gonna kill him".

IB said...

Who knows why they do it, they just do. I fought like CRAZY with my brother...and my sisters, now that I think about it...


creative kerfuffle said...

hotch--i literally laughed out loud--yeah, the hubs and i should totally flake out to bring the kids closer. price.less. sadly i have no doubt once he kicks the bucket it will stress me out and trigger the alzheimers i'm convinced i'll have (one gma had it, the other is senile) so they can bond over that. and, this also is part of what brought my bro and i closer..bitching over our family.

just--you're probably right, we have to grow up to appreciate our sibs.

ib--it is crazy. i guess i'm just curious as to WHY.

Penny said...

I think it has to do with the fact that most siblings see themselves as rivals for their parents attention, but maybe not consciously so it tends to come out in bickering and annoying crap. That is just my lame theory, maybe it is just because they are stuck together so much you just end up getting on each others nerves.

broad minded said...

i think it is also a part of growing up and separating yourself from your family. i am a big believer in birth order and how that affects your personality too. like the girl i am the oldest and i was extremely bossy. i guess that doesn't come as a surprise. but i think that being a woman and being opinionated and not afraid to speak up (something i have gotten better about with age) is a good thing b/c too often women aren't heard. so go girl!

and hotch is right, talking about how crazy your parents are is a GREAT way to bond. it was what my brother and i do all the time. funny thing is, we were close growing up, but our lives have taken such different directions we aren't any more. so maybe be thankful if they aren't close as kids, maybe that means they will be as adults.

creative kerfuffle said...

tracy--i do think the stuck together thing (and competing for parental attention) figures in to it. after all, it's not like you CHOOSE your siblings.

broad--i'm the oldest too and i also believe birth order plays a part in it. i guess if they can only be close during one time i want them to be close as adults.

Astarte said...

I don't have any siblings, and the sheer amount of angst that their fighting causes me is more than I was expecting. I can't stand it! They're so *mean* to each other! If they would just have a fight and get it over with, fine, but the constant sniping and silent treatment from Josie towards Patrick - she thinks she's better than he is, I guess - makes me want to keeellll them.