I think it is funny the lengths we will go as parents to try and get our kids to get along. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do though, they just don’t! Fortunately, my kids are still a bit young for any real battles to have occurred but I am sure there will be more than a few in my future. However, this month Debra Field wrote and article titled, “I Hereby Sentence You to Play a Game with Your Sister,” and I immediately had a flashback to my childhood.
I have three siblings and we all shared an argument or two but my sister Sarah and I were less than cordial toward each other on a regular basis. If you would have asked me when I was thirteen who my closest friend would be in twenty years, I most certainly wouldn’t have even began to utter her name. But, thankfully, my opinion changed drastically and there is no greater friend to me.
During those more trying years in our relationship I can imagine that we probably drove my parents crazy. If she said black, I said white. It just didn’t matter. We had very different personalities and neither was capable, at that time, of appreciating those differences. Although, as Deb mentions in her article about her own kids, even though much of the time we didn’t like each other very much, we always loved each other.
I think that when we can see, at least in the moments when it really counts, our kids truly love each other, it can give hope that in the future they might really like each other too! In the meantime, we can find ways to continue to encourage them to start learning to respect and appreciate one another now. Get as creative as you can! Debra “sentenced” her kids to a night of playing games together. One of my friends had her kids get out of the car on a rural road and walk hand and hand while she followed behind them. When we least wanted to my parents would make the two of us play together alone so there wasn’t someone else to count on.
No matter what you come up with, don’t just let it go and allow your children to drift apart because they are not capable, due to their age, of finding the good qualities in their sibling. They will appreciate that you forced them into it when they can say twenty years down the road, “She’s a fantastic sister and my dearest friend!”