Happy Thursday, my dearest internet friends! It’s time for this month’s Seeking Advice! Seeking Advice is my monthly series where I ask you all for your advice on a topic, and then post the answers a week later. You can check out past Seeking Advice posts here: Bad Language, Stranger Danger, Money, Kids and Tragedy, Time Management.
As parents, there are so many questions we may have and for the most part, for each question, there are a million different answers. So where do you start? How do you determine what is the “right” answer? For me, the answer is research and ask around – which is what this series for.
Once a month, I ask a question to all of you about an aspect of parenting that is all shades of gray. I’ll ask the question(s), give my own opinion on the matter, and then leave it to all of you lovely people. My hope is that the comments section of this post will fill up with helpful, supportive comments that reflect a number of different points of view. After a week has passed, I will then compile the most helpful comments into one post called, “Advice Found: Sibling Rivalry”. If you are a blogger, I will include a link back to your blog so that if someone really identifies with your view on something, they can hop over and learn more about you. If you have written a post on the topic in the past, feel free to leave it with your comment – I may link it up! This post will go up on a Sunday, so the Advice Found for this post will go live on October 16. I hope for this series to become a resource for myself and others trying to navigate parenting and life, and a place where we can all be honest, open, and accepting.
That being said, any negative, rude, or hurtful comments will be deleted without notice. I want everyone to feel comfortable expressing views and opinions without notice.
This month’s Seeking Advice topic is : Sibling Rivalry!
Remember when I wrote this post when I was pregnant with Owen about how I was scared Ryan would be sad and feel left out? I wish I could tell my old self – oh, honey, don’t worry about that – he’ll love his little brother – instead, worry about the fights.
Here’s the thing – I know that I’ve just barely dipped my toe into the craziness that will be siblings, but even now it ain’t no joke. Sometimes, Ryan is as sweet as honey, giving Owen toys, offering kisses, and making sure he always has a paci. But other times. Man, oh man. He hits, kicks, steals toys, rips out pacis, and straight up throws fits if I so much look at his baby brother.
I know that a good bit of it is just learning curve – I need to learn how to nip it in the bud, Ryan needs to learn boundaries, and Owen needs to learn how to defend himself (I kid, I kid.) but that doesn’t make it any easier. Our biggest issue right now is toy stealing – Ryan sees Owen playing with something he likes and he immediately wants it for himself – even if he has never showed said toy a second glance.
So what have we been doing?
For one, we have one ‘designated’ Owen toy other than obvious things like his jumper or something similar – this O-Ball car toy – and Ryan is not allowed to play with it, except for the rare occasion that I allow a trade or something. This doesn’t always work and he still wants to play with it, but I think it had helped create an understanding that not everything is Ryan’s. The same goes for Ryan, though – some toys are entirely Ryan’s and I don’t let Owen play with them.
Another thing is trades – if Ryan sees Owen with a toy he wants, I’ll allow him to choose (or I’ll choose) a toy to give Owen in exchange for whatever Owen has that he wants. This isn’t an end all be all – I really only let it fly if I think Owen won’t care either way and/or Ryan is being really good.
Lastly, we’re reinforcing good behavior and redirecting bad behavior. Kisses for Owen? “Good job, Ryan! You’re such a good brother!” Trying to roll Owen in a blanket like a burrito? (…) “Hey, Ry, I don’t think he likes that, why don’t we play with him this way.”
I’d be lying if I said I haven’t snapped a few times – sometimes you just turn around and see something and immediately jump to yelling. I’m not a “no yelling” mom by any means (SO MUCH PRAISE if you are. I just cannot.) but when possible I prefer to redirect without freaking Ryan out – he is only 2, after all, and I know he doesn’t actually have any deep-set ill-will towards his brother.
So my question this month is: Do you struggle with sibling issues? How do you handle things like sharing toys and jealousy, especially with younger kids? If you have a sibling, how did your parents handle it? I’d love to hear your answers on this topic, so please be sure to leave them below in the comments!