Tuesday, May 27, 2008


It starts with picking. It moves on to bickering. From there, with the right buttons pushed, mom has been brought in on the scene.

If you have more than one child, you recognize this as…..dun---ta-dun-dun…. sibling rivalry. It’s the source of many hair-pulling days. Left unattended, it can become the ending to one of your child’s best lifetime friendships.

In our home, with so many children, this sort of behavior came often. One day, I decided to lighten the mood a bit, and try to teach something at the same time. After too many warnings, I tied Andrew and Erin together, wrist-to-wrist. I told them they would have to learn to cooperate together and when they were getting along and choosing to love one another, I would release their bonds. They were probably around 8 and 10.

At first, they would just sit down. But, soon, they would decide to try something together. Then, it became a game.

If you ask them, they’ll tell you they just pretended to cooperate and get along so I'd untie them. But, I knew when they had gotten past their bickering. Their smiles had returned.

I used this technique with several other sibling pairs. Sometimes, it was over quickly. Others, depending on their stubbornness level, took several hours.

Overcoming sibling rivalry takes work and more work, prayer and more prayer. It is only ended when each child has a change of heart and chooses to love. (hang in there) ; )

What are your techniques for dealing with sibling rivalry?

Tomorrow, we’ll deal with bossing other siblings.

What are some other parenting issues you’d like to see discussed here?


erin said...

Fun stuff being tied together! I'm so glad you took the time to help us get along. I now feel so close to all my siblings.

Bikerwife said...

My girls are just starting to get into the sibling rivalry thing. It is hard. I tell them they are sisters and they need to love each other and be nice....Mikala is mainly the problem, being the older sister. She gets pretty sassy, and I hear a lot of me come out in the things she says to Miranda. Which is a HUGE wake up call on how I speak to her sometimes. Can't wait to hear more on this. I love this series of blogs....when my girls are older I will have to try out the tyeing them together thing.....ha!

Christi said...

Def. have the sibling rivalry going on here. I like the tying together idea. I am really feeling convicted about not taking enough time away from other things to really focus on the boys. Good thing summer is here, I guess! I tend to want to blow things over and hope they go away and what I find is a bigger problem later. Thanks for all of your wisdom, Robin:)

Natalie Witcher said...

can't wait for tomorrow. I'm always telling my oldest, "Dude, I'm right here. Let me be the parent."

HomeSchool Mommy said...

I only have one right now, but I can't wait to read everyone's advice tomorrow on bossing. I have an in-home daycare, so my daughter has plenty of kids to boss around. Also, she's very bossy to all her friends. They all keep coming back and I haven't figured that one out. She's definitely a leader and I want to feed that quality...I just don't want her to sound so rude all the time...

Theresa said...

I am looking forward to tomorrow. My son thinks that because he is the oldest that makes him the stand in parent. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

Cindy Beall said...

Oh, I need this so bad. Just stick to this topic for the next month, k?

I think I'll try the tying them together thing.

Do you think the 5-year age difference is a factor?

Robin Meadows said...

Cindy---hey, try it! What'd you have to loose? Oh, only your mind? ; )

5 years probably does make for some issues...

We just keep telling our boys how important their relationship will be someday and how much they will need each other when they are the only ones left to care for their old parents and siblings! LOL

Roger Garrett said...

I just duct tape them to the wall. So I guess I might try to tie them up and see what happens

deleise said...

Ooooo...I like Roger's idea.

I am like you in that I continually remind them that they are together for life. I think it helps that my sis and I are best friends and David and his brother are best friends.

Sometimes I do the opposite of tying them together and I ban them from each other. Suddenly they can't stand to be apart and all they can think about is how to get the ban removed! Kind of a form of reverse psychology I guess.

FULL OF JOY said...

We have a rule, you treat your siblings better than you treat your best friends. Usually a reminder works, or a 'hey would you care if so and so would do that? No? Then are you treating your brother better than your best friends?' I am sure with age it will get harder but we are trying to put this in their heads early on.

Kay said...

Hi, I'm Scott Seibert's step-mom and I love reading your blogs. My sweet Erin had sent me a link to your blog and I've been hooked since.
My kids still talk about what I once did when they were having one of those days where they just couldn't get along. I had them sit at the kitchen table and right down 10 things that they liked about the other. Then they had to read them aloud. It took them some time, about 1 1/2 hours, because one, the strongest willed of the two, of them just couldn't think of ten things he liked about her. In the end they were laughing at each others comments and thought that their mom was crazy. Thankfully it turned out to be a good thing and had them laughing/playing together again.
Thanks for letting me share this story and bringing back memories for me. :)

Robin Meadows said...

Hi Kay,

Wow! You read my blog? I'm humbled. Really.

What a great idea you shared. Those stubborn, strong-willed kids can take lots of time....but I've seen the fruit. It's worth it!