I’m not sure what’s up with my kids these days but they are acting like the spawn of Satan. Every evening, as soon as we step into the house the hysteria begins. It takes a whole five minutes before one of them starts howling (normally Ludoo) and the other starts shouting angrily (normally Flump).
They used to get on so well (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating but at least they could be in the same room together without wanting to smack each other) but lately the sibling tension has reached new heights. If it’s not Ludoo destroying his sister’s carefully constructed Lego creation, it’s Flump snatching her brother’s precious toy cars and throwing them behind the radiator, never to be retrieved again. The daily ritual of Flump screaming at her brother to “get outttttt!” whilst he beats down her door hysterically normally culminates with me threatening to send them both to bed immediately. Big sigh. It’s exhausting and infuriating. Why the heck can’t they just get along?
Of course my siblings and I were model children. NOT. Admittedly at school we were perfectly well behaved as we knew Asian parents would not tolerate any kind of public embarrassment, and to be summoned into the headmistress’s office for bad behaviour would have been the ultimate humiliation. We knew better than to risk that.
But at home it was a different matter. My younger brother and I wanted to kill each other for a good portion of our childhood. We used to grunt at each other angrily and were always separated in the car by our older sister who would sit in the middle in case we tried to savage each other. I once dislodged my brother’s front tooth by kicking him in the face and he once stabbed my sister in the arm with a biro. We were such lovely, charming children.
I suppose I don’t really have a leg to stand on when I complain about my own children not getting along as my poor parents had to endure much worse. That being said, my siblings and I are perfectly well adjusted, happy individuals who have positive and healthy relationships with each other now…thirty years on! Crap! I really hope it doesn’t take that long for Ludoo and Flump to start getting along again.
Of course it’s completely normal for siblings to quarrel and as long as they aren’t having a punch up my philosophy is to not intervene and give them the opportunity to resolve things themselves. But very young children (like my own) often need help resolving conflict and managing their emotions. Finding a way to encourage them to work as a team (someone suggested a ‘Teamwork Jar’ where you can add and deduct coins for good/bad teamwork), as well as not taking sides are both excellent starting points. I’m hopeful my two monkeys will revert to being friends again soon but in the meantime I’m going to invest in a really good pair of headphones to drown out the screaming and work on my scary, threatening voice. Of course we all want to equip our kids with the right life skills and develop their emotional intelligence, but sometimes (okay, quite often) we just have to ignore, threaten and repeat. Eventually they should just wear themselves out.