My two youngest were born a little over 2 years apart. When they were young, they hated to be parted. Then my daughter turned 9 and suddenly she was way too cool to be seen with her brother. It was sad to watch my son wonder what he had done wrong to lose his sister. It was puberty that took her. It broke my heart.
And that now puberty has slammed into both of them, they’ve reunited in their alliance, to dislike me. This is hard. This is a normal stage for them to go through. They must be strong, to let go of me, so they can grow into adulthood. As painful as this is to parents, please believe me, it isn’t always YOU that makes them act like they hate you. Its just part of it. Otherwise they would never grow wings…
I am only liked when they need something from me. They do not count the roof over their heads, nor water, WiFi, cellphones, electricity, computers, clothing, et cetera. My 16 year old treats me very well, now that i have a second car. So a message to all parents who struggle from 12-14, they behave much better when you hold keys to the car. They also become quite good at playing you. Enjoy their manipulations, use them to your advantage, as in having them do chores. Until they go too far…then let them know, you knew all along, you were being played. (This shocks them, because they think you’re an idiot.)
My daughter is five days shy of her 17th birthday & my son is 14. That is their biological year. At times, they can shock me with their maturity & empathy for others and for each other. I picked them up the other day & i heard, “i love you, i love you, i love you” i turned around in the drivers seat to see that my daughter had her arms wrapped around her brother’s neck. He was humiliated, but pleased too. Other times i’m shocked when they regress into toddlers.
When my kids used to fight, i would tell them this: I always thought kids were closest to their parents. But that isn’t always true. That is due to siblings unique shared life experience of being raised together.
Your siblings are the only other people who have lived a life closest to your own.
Although we have different rolls to play…Oldest, middle, baby. I do know that some siblings are not close, that some were treated differently by their parents than the others.
I know i treated my oldest daughter differently than my younger two. That is because she was almost 6 years old when i had my second daughter, then 7 when my son was born. My oldest had to take on the role of helper. I asked, begged & pleaded with her to help me take care of her youngest siblings. My oldest daughter had to grow up faster than the other two.
But she is so strong. She was an only child for 6 years. Her experiences are very different than the other two. I feel guilty for that. In her young mind, she thought i loved the other two better than she. I can understand why she would feel that way. Used, unloved, doing work while the other’s played. She doesn’t remember when life was all about her. When she was my barnacle. She doesn’t remember being read a thousand books, or being carried for far too long. She was the SUN & i was her moon. For her, those memories only exist in photographs. Being forced to grow up & watch her siblings time to shine has out shadowed any good memories of us.
Well, this older daughter…who had to grow up so fast, graduated college this spring. She made the Dean’s List-making straight A’s. She has been accepted to University to study for her Masters. All the while, she assumed she was at a disadvantage, unloved, unfavored, disrespected, when the opposite is true. Her life experiences made her so mature, smart, strong and brave- fearless even. She uses that power to grab all she wants out of this life. And i couldn’t be more proud of who she is.
If you have more than one child, it is impossible to treat them all the same. Their birth order gives them roles to play out. To learn from. Each child will assume you like another one better.
I used to tell my kids my favorite child changes moment by moment. Unfortunately, this only works when they want to be the favorite child. I used to tell them my favorite child, at the moment, is the one who cleaned up their room, or other small chores. Puberty doesn’t give a crap who is the favorite. Puberty causes your kids to be come arrogant, self centered & moody. Enjoy that! I know it will go away, just like the terrible twos did. Sometimes i hate being a mother. Other times i cannot imagine not having been one.
Remind your children that their siblings will live along side them, born of the same world. Every child needs to understand their roll in the family. The unfairness, the greatness, the jealousy, and all the really bad stuff, mixed with all the good…it happens in all families. It give us all strength & character. The best advice i gave my kids was telling them that they are, and will be, each other’s champion.
and then i sit back & watch them fly.
(and God’s speed you little teenage punks:)