Sibling Therapy

My three children are going through the various stages of pubescence -Lord above help us all.  No, it’s not that bad but it’s interesting to see the many facets of how each of them are affected. 

My highly emotional, overly sensitive, volatile 15 year old daughter.

My antagonistic, aggressive bordering on bully to his sisters 14 year old son. 

My severely negative, glass is always half empty 11 year old daughter. 

To a good degree my youngest and middle get along well.  They do have their occasional, if not becoming more common, arguments.  But my oldest two are becoming fire and ice. I bought them a book and attempted to make them read it, in hopes that it would help them, give them a better perspective on the importance of sibling relationships and how better to speak each other’s love language to maybe understand one another. The book still sits on a shelf, both refusing to read it. 

After one of many stupid fights that turned crazy loud I decided to change the energy. I playfully decided to become the mock therapist…lie back in the recliner and ask probing questions that began with How does that make you feel when…

At first it was met with hilarity but then it shifted, and real conversation was beginning to happen. I mean the real, good-kind-of-deep exploration of the sinking sibling relationship happening before my eyes. After a short time my daughter left the conversation, just because she felt she had had enough of me and my questions – not in anger or anything.  It was perfect actually, because it gave me the opportunity to have a serious talk with my son about the importance of the sibling relationship as a whole. I’ve read a study or two (trying to get a grip on this since I am an only child) proposing that the sibling relationship is even more impactful on growth and development of a person than the parent/child relationship. Who knew? 

I’m not sure I cured anything tonight by any means, however my son is a thinker and an academic. He will chew on this for awhile and it will make a difference. I think his biggest eye openers were two areas I explored with him 1) she’s sensitive and emotional and she thinks you hate her. If you thought I hated you, how would you react to everything I said to you? (We’re very close so that was met with a long pause and realization was evident) and 2) How would your life be impacted, what would it do to you if heaven forbid she was lost to us tomorrow?  That made him think a very long time and he finally concluded that he couldn’t fathom how horrible it would be. A revelation for him to realize how much he does love her – immensely. The rest of the hour conversation is not necessary to write out here, but the point is I think I made a real difference tonight. 

One down, two to go. They have to choose how they collaborate and love one another. I cant do that for them with discipline alone. So hopefully this tactic may meet their emotional and cognitive understanding of the first (ok maybe second to parental bonds) relationship of their lives. 

Any advice from the parents of multiple children? How about those of you with siblings-do you think the thought that sibling relationship growing up impacted your life significantly? Positive or negative?



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6 comments

  1. I have an 18yo daughter and a 15yo son and they’re chalk and cheese. Different interests, different ways of thinking and it’s not always been easy, in fact it’s been an ongoing challenge but I’ve learnt that my approach is everything in avoiding conflict and getting along. It’s not always about confrontation. The way you opened up the conversation with yours was perfect. That’s what it’s about, getting them to open up, not always talking but often just listening and taking that step back.

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  2. Good evening Amanda!

    I think the way you adressed the problem was excellent! I only have a younger brother, and as young children, we were like cats and dogs! We fought non-stop and for any reason possible…

    As young adults, we lived in different cities, and barely saw each other when there was a family gathering.

    But the last 5 or 6 years, after moving to the city where he already lived, we made up for lost time, and we are closer than I never thought would be possible.

    There is always some light at the other end of the tunnel 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, my friend. You don’t recognize this yet but you are doing a remarkable job raising your three kids. They will ALL grow into adults who are very close to each other Two of them will be very close but all three will be close to each other AND CLOSE TO YOU. And you can take that to the bank. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have 4 children and a 3 month old. They are all under 11 so I can’t relate to teenage years but they argue just the same. I have given my children the same talks you have. They meditate on it for ten minutes and feel bad, then they go back to sibling rivals!😋I think maybe that’s just a natural thing amongst siblings. It’s a love and hate relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

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