Summer could have many tag lines when it comes to siblings. How about : “It was the best of times and the worst of times.” Or there is: “In corner one, Rocky Balboa. –Corner Two, the sworn enemy.” Or better yet when it comes to having a houseful of quarreling siblings, “There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.” One of my vivid early summertime memories is clocking my sister over the head with my cast (age five, broken arm), because I didn’t like the sound of the fire sirens that were roaring near us. Aww, summer , so warm, so fast, and so full of naughty behavior at times! Thank goodness for consequences and corrective action! The letters and essays my children have had to write to me is surely helping with summer slide and fulfilling Common Core requirements (insert evil laugh). It lends itself to the argument for an all year round school year –okay just kidding. But mostly it makes me sigh at times and think what can I do to remedy the situation.
I have talked in other blogs about the need to find your own pace during the summer. Certainly, when we are doing this, life feels more harmonious for all. Everyone in our household does better. But how about some of the individual factors that lend themselves to sibling rivalry? What can a parent do? In the article “This Summer, Help Siblings Get Along” writer Pam J. Hecht shares some expert advice on the issue. From encouraging parents to understanding why their children are arguing; singling out their special and unique characteristics to make them feel loved, understood, and appreciated; to staying calm and listening to your child’s concerns with her sibling; and finally building a team spirit and a collective family culture and identity in the house, the article is chalk full of good ideas to squelch bad behavior. Summer really can be the best of times, mostly, if we keep in mind that sibling rivalry is very normal. Of course it’s seeing our children through it that is the challenge.