Robo Boy: Muum Super Kid bashed me with his lego.

Me: Super Kid did you bash Robo Boy with your lego?

Super Kid: Yes I did but I did it because he was breaking my model.

Me: Robo Boy why were you breaking his model?

Robo Boy: Because he was telling me what to do, and I didn’t want to play that game.

The Purple boys are 20 months apart in age. Super Kid is nearly seven and Robo Boy is five. Over the last few years the main cause of disharmony in the Purple house has been caused by sibling troubles. The boys argue at least every day, usually multiple times a day. It’s stressful and upsetting, I’d really like my children to be friends and to enjoy a close relationship throughout their lives. The problem is I’m not sure how to help them achieve this.

When they get it right, and they play together nicely it’s a pleasure to watch, so I know they can do it. It seems like they stumble over each others sensitivities, and get annoyed, and upset in the process.

I’ve tried a few different approaches to their sibling troubles. Like writing down family rules, listening to and refereeing their differences, using time outs for unacceptable behaviour (though often it’s hard to know who’s at fault). I even went through a period of letting them fight it out, and not interfering, but they were constantly physically fighting and that didn’t feel comfortable.

I think that they need to develop empathy and caring for each other. That if they understand what makes the other angry, and happy then they have a better chance of harmony. So we held a family meeting, and I gave the boys a chance to air their grievances. Those behaviours in the other that they would really like to change. I also gave them a chance to discuss what they liked about the other. The meeting felt constructive and positive and ended with them sharing a lovely hug. Then came yesterday, only two days later, and the arguing had begun again!

Possibly part of the issue is lack of patience on my part, after a day of this I tend to be less sympathetic and more angry. If I can find a way to be less stressed by it then I won’t be adding to the anger and upset. If I can be consistent, and calm I’m sure it would help.

As a parent who tends to look for solutions and techniques, to aid her parenting I’m finding that this is a real grey area with no one fix solution. I feel like I’m floundering. Perhaps this will be a good life lesson in general, don’t try to fix overnight, work with the children and help them through this challenging situation. Keep listening, keep caring, stay positive, actually things that I can apply to all of my parenting. Perhaps this will be a lesson I needed.

I’m open to suggestion. Have you successfully resolved sibling troubles in your home? Please share your ideas and thoughts on the best way to handle this.