Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: In the Truffula Trees
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Feeling at my wits' end with my 8yo and 4 yo, who are going through a super intense phase of rivalry/antagonism. They are not generally physical with each other (the 4yo will flail vaguely in the 8yo's direction) but they scream and argue all day long. I have a large age gap with my own sibs and feel unprepared to handle this. I have read Siblings Without Rivalry and Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me and I use the technique of separating them, not trying to figure out who was at blame, problem-solving, etc. They mostly do not come to me expecting me to "fix it." But they are so unpleasant to listen to!
"I love carrots."
"Well, I think they're DISGUSTING."
"No you do not."
"I HATE THEM! EWWW!"
"They are SO YUMMY. They're the yummiest EVER."
"NOOOOOO! THEY ARE NOT!"
(note: both kids like carrots fine) It's that nonsensical. And it's endless. Also, I feel like the 8yo competes with the 4yo constantly. If he draws a picture and I say something nice, she has to draw a better one and ask for praise. If he reads a book aloud (he's just learned) she needs to pick it up and read it far faster. She can't let him win a foot race. I get really frustrated with her because I feel like she should be beyond this.
And of course, whatever one kid has, the other wants. This one I can basically handle, but it's more my amazement that they are still doing this. They really don't even like toys. It's not about the object. It's the idea of the other kid having it.
They do play together nicely sometimes. I believe they are genuinely fond of one another. But the intensity of the relationships has really ramped up so so much, and in unpleasant ways. They are both equally guilty--there is not an instigator or a bully.
Help! I feel like there is something I need to address here but I just am at a loss. I know we need to make more one on one time with each of them. They are generally both very pleasant when alone with one of us.
grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08