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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sibling rivalry?

Many parents who have more than one child will be worried about sibling rivalry. Can it be avoided?

Frankly I don't know. But I do know that with some efforts on our part, the relationship and situation can be greatly improved.

I have not done much, except to "explain" positively my daughter's behaviour or actions to my son, and vice versa. For example, my daughter look up to her brother and imitate him in many ways, so I'll point out to my son that he's her "idol". Once when I was doing something and left her for a few short minutes, she had climbed onto her brother's stool, sat at his desk and scribbled on his papers using his pens. I had to interpret for my son that she was imitating her "idol" doing his homework and not purposefully mischievous or destructive. She was taught to apologise to him. Thankfully the incident was never repeated. On the other hand, my daughter is rather sensitive sometimes and become agitated by some of her brother's actions. I'll explain to her that he is not disturbing her but playing with her and that he loves her. Gradually they learned to love and appreciate each other more.

One day my daughter asked for grapes, I washed some for her. As she walked away happily with her bowl to sit at her favourite spot to enjoy her favourite fruit, I was pleasantly surprised to observe her detour to her brother's desk and offer him some grapes voluntarily. She was not yet two years old but she expressed her love for her brother by sharing without anyone asking.

On another day, I had brought my daughter out to fetch my son from school. It was almost her nap time and she fell asleep in her car seat. On the short journey home (about 7-10 minutes drive), my son saw the afternoon sun shining through the car window onto his sister. Without any prompting from me, he found a towel and started to put it up so as to shelter her from the bright and hot sun. I was speechless and touched by his gesture.

There're other examples, like my son buying books and toys for his sister when he went on trips with his school, the two of them playing together and having a good laugh, etc. As a mother, one of the most satisfying experiences is to see our children's love for each other. I believe it's partly natural and partly nurtured.

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