I keep asking myself, 'What am I doing now that is sure to doom my kids to jealousy or a critical attitude or a lack of love towards each other'? I guess that I am just coming to the realization that good sibling relationships do not always come naturally and encouraging these relationships is not necessarily intuitive for us as moms.
Earlier this evening I asked Mr. Steady what his parents did to encourage good relationships between him and his brother and sister. Mr. Steady responded, "Well moving every 2 years was huge for us." You see Mr. Steady is what one might call "A Navy Brat." What a funny saying to describe my man because he is far from a brat... but he did grow up in a Navy family where his dad, and therefore the family, was relocated every 18-36 months. I totally see the truth in that statement. It is evident, not only with Mr. Steady and his siblings, but I have also seen a new depth to H-man and Bug's relationship since we moved. Bug loves her brother just the same, she adores him and everything he does (that is when she is not pestering and provoking him). However, I have noticed how much more H-man wants to include her, play with her and make her laugh since he really only has her.
In reality, we are not going to be moving every few years, at least for my sanity, I really hope not. So what can I do to help my kids love eachother and be great friends into adulthood?
I am reading through "Creative Correction" by Lisa Whelchel (yes, you might recognize that name as the actor who played "Blair" in the TV series "The Facts of Life"). She wrote an entire chapter called "WW III: the Sibling Conflict." Here she wrote, "Since it's more satisfying to throw a punch at an enemy than a friend, try to strengthen the friendship between your kids." Ha, it made me laugh at first. But really, it challenged me. I not only want them to be friends for my sake as the referee, but for their relationship for the rest of their life. I guess for me, I just want to keep in perspective that the time my kids are in my home and I do get to play referee, is a precious time. How I respond in conflict, encourage reconciliation, and set up opportunities for their friendship to grow, lasts far beyond their childhood, at least I hope it will!