Lately our kids fights have been getting more “spirited.” And I don’t mean that in a “vibrant” “vivacious” kind of way, more like a “Look out, your brother’s about to stab you with a Ticonderoga pencil in the neck.”
One brother says to the other, “I hate you. I wish I didn’t have a bwother. I want you to live somewhere else.”
“Can I live somewhere else?” I ask, hopefully.
I give time-outs, reason with them about how important their brother is, and yell like the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket… Nope. I threaten them with juvie camp in Utah. Military school in Pennsylvania. Gulag in Kazakhstan. Nothing.
It all started so beautifully. I did all the research into introducing a sibling into the house, and talked about the coming baby often, even though my first child was only a baby himself. When the second child was born (less than a year after the first) the older one came to the hospital and was given a “special present from the baby.” Thus, we bribed him into accepting his little brother and it totally worked! Initially, it was love at first sight, they actually waved at each other in recognition!
Cut to: eight years later and “My bwother ruins my life.”
Luckily I ran into a school psychologist on her day off in the ObGyn’s waiting room and totally pumped her for free advice. I was considering telling one of them that the other had died, just for about 90 seconds, then telling them it wasn’t true and “See how much you love your brother?” For some reason she advised against it.
Instead she suggested listening to their concerns and softening the language from hate to their feelings like “I feel really sad when you do that.” Or “I feel really annoyed right now and I told you to stop.” Or “I feel like I hate you.”
The fact is, that even my dogs try to bite each other when I pet the other one. I think I may have to stick to juvie.