As much as I adore summer, it is inevitably always a transition in our house. As we joyfully, yet abruptly, cease our hectic routines, we suddenly find ourselves in each other’s space, with no pressing agenda at hand, and lots of good ‘ole summer down time. This is all great — until I realize it is pure breeding ground for: Sibling Rivalry.
We all know that sometimes our kids will do just about anything to get our attention. Any attention — positive or negative — is often better than no attention, when kids want it. Our kids know that clobbering Little Sissie Sue is a no-no, but guess what, it sure gets them Mom’s attention! And what about the nit-picking – doing everything they can to each other – just to get “a rise” out of that sibling?
As we welcome the joys of summer, along with its down time and together time, here are a few things I’m going to keep in mind, while enjoying the days of summer . . . siblings . . . and hopefully minimized rivalry:
I’m going to try to spend some time, alone, one-on-one, with each of them, even if it’s just a few minutes a day…..talking, shooting hoops, engaging in the crafts-at-hand, even watching tv. I shall try to remember what a positive impact this can have on each of them, on me, and ultimately on all of us.
I’ll pay attention to the time of day when the harmony goes awry. Are there patterns? Is there hunger? Boredom? Fatigue? I shall watch for clues and maybe, just maybe, I can have a subtle, yet proactive, impact on keeping the summer peace.
I’ll try to remind and encourage them to have their own space and time to themselves, while respecting the time and space of others. Sometimes this may be with friends over to play or needed “alone” time to themselves.
When I’m caught in the “moderator” shoes because they’re just not working it out, I will encourage them to work together to resolve the issue, working toward a win-win compromise.
And lastly, let me remember and promote the golden rule, reminding all of us to “do unto others,” and “put ourselves in the other person’s shoes.” Similarly, I may ask each of them to write or tell the other what he/she likes about the other while identifying things he/she likes to do with the other. This may just come in handy when the inevitable battles erupt.
But first, I need to make some lemonade. My sis is on her way.