Monday, August 9, 2010

Sibling Rivalry


I am still straddling the two worlds of public school and homeschool even now that both of my girls are officially homeschooling. My experience with homeschooling has been that age is not a factor in friendships. Lilah is as much a friend to a 10 year old girl we see often as her 10 year old sister is. Granted, when the age gap is great, siblings seem to pair off by age, but no one is left out. For the most part, playdates include all children. This summer when Grace was invited to the beach with the older girls, we hosted a pool party for the younger siblings. It is balanced, which you know is my new favorite word!

Of course Grace will be keeping her school friends. This can throw things out of balance. Today she was invited to watch the Teen Choice Awards at her friend’s house. Lilah was not invited. Things suddenly were out of balance. Lilah was intensely jealous. So jealous, she did not know how to handle her feelings. Her perspective is that her sister has the best of both worlds.

I don’t know how to handle this situation. We talked about friendships and the friends she has spend time with recently. I told Lilah that when I was young I had three best friends. That’s all. Her comment was “ugh, that was so long ago”. It is not about how many freinds we have, but that our friends are who we want to be with. This did nothing to relieve the fact she wanted to be with her sister and her sister's friends and she could not.

How do I handle the intense feelings she is experiencing? Do I just hold her while she cries knowing that there will be times when Grace gets to do things simply because she is older? Grace will drive first. Grace will get a job first. Even though for most things I have raised them like twins, they are not. Grace is two years older. Life is not fair and there are times when there is nothing you can do to make it fair.

I was the first born. I cannot quite relate to what Lilah is feeling. Of course, I never thought of my sister’s feelings when I was 10 and my sister was 8. I am doing my best to soothe her hurt feelings, hold her while she cries and remind her of all the things she has done lately that her sister has not. Like just today she was featured in our local Natural Awakenings Magazine for part of Two Coyotes. Grace was jealous feeling that Lilah was now “famous”!.

I know that these feelings are part of being a sibling and growing up as a sibling. But it does not make it easier for the parent.

What do you do when your children experience jealousy? How do you help them handle strong emotions?

8 comments:

  1. Just stopping by from Moms Mustardseeds...thanks for your kind comment! I love your blog and I too, straddled homeschool and public school...but, could not find a balance and was thankful when my oldest decided to join us at home. I have three children...we have sibling rivalry, though, not sisters...it's the sister/bro issue. We sit down and talk a lot...we talk about our feelings and how things make us feel...and how we have to be responsible for our own feelings and our words/actions. It's all about the 'heart'....we can't change them...we can only pray for the Holy Spirit to do that. Sounds like you're doing a FANTASTIC job, Mom!! Keep it up!

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  2. I have raised my girls almost like twins as well. They have the same bed time. For the most part, I expect the same things from them. Allie sometimes gets upset if I expect less from Piper because she is younger. But I point out that I didn't expect Allie to do that when she was 8.

    When they were in public school, when one would be invited somewhere, I would usually have the other one invite someone over. Maybe Lilah could invite a friend or two over either to watch the Teen Choice Awards or watch a movie or just to swim and play.

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  3. Finding the balance in life is key. I think my girls are still adjusting to being together 24/7 and we need to work on conflict resolution in our family. Before when it was just Lilah at home and Grace was in school, that was very special time for Lilah. I think she is missing it and when she feels Grace is getting more than her, or some special time, she feels extra left out. I think though my planning I have to find special alone time with each girl. I will get it with Grace when Lilah is at her cooking school but I need to find a block of time where I can be alone with Lilah to craft or cook or take a nature walk. After sleeping on it, I don't think it was the party that caused the extreme feelings, I think it was the symptom of something else.......

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  4. Visiting from Hip Homeschool Hop. I think you are handling this very well. I too have this problem, my son doesnt understand why sissy gets to do more. She is older and it is just a hard thing when the younger ones feel like they are left out.

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  5. Thanks for stopping by Annette! I know it is part of growing up but I think there must be things I can do to help them handle it gracefully.

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  6. LOVE your post here! Thanks for linking up with Hip Homeschool Hop! We're excited you're around.

    Meghan
    www.thetuckerstaketennessee.com
    www.facebook.com/hiphomeschoolmoms

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  7. I only have one child (and he will probably stay an only child), but growing up, I was friends with two sisters close in age. They were 20 months apart. The older sister and I were in the same grade, but the younger sister and I were both attending a special school program together. I remember times when the younger sister got upset when the older sister and I hung out alone (or with our other "older" friends), and she was excluded. I think their mom would typically arrange a playdate (not that we called it that) for the younger sister as well. It sounds like you are handling things well, but I know it is difficult!

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  8. When something like this happens in our house, we definitely sit down to talk about it. I think you did a fine job by talking to your daughter. Stopping by from the Hip Homeschool Hop!

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