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Nanny Screening

Manny Around the House - Brothers in Battle

This week I'm equal parts caregiver, chef, and referee apparently

04/06/2019

 

Sibling rivalry, a concept as old as humanity itself. You'd think we would have a better grasp on how to deal with it by now.

The start of the school year always comes with new challenges, and most parents and children can feel overwhelmed for the first couple of months. But, things generally settle down and everyone finds their flow by December.

Winter Break - The Battle Lines are drawn

So the Christmas holidays roll around and the boys are back at the play scheme, I arrive at their house in the morning, give them breakfast, get them ready and take them to the park. I'd head to college, do some coursework, pick them up and take them home. We fell into a comfortable routine and all was well, or so I thought.

Four days in, I arrive to pick them up from the play scheme and find the two of them refusing to look or talk to each other (I internally sigh, the atmosphere is colder than the weather and it's December).

So, one untenably awkward walk home later and I'm standing there trying (and failing epically) to mediate a mini United Nations negotiation between two prepubescent world powers.

Individual Consultation - Divide and Conquer

To give you some backstory the boys were 6 and almost 8 at this time, so as you can guess the level of compromise and rational discourse I was getting while talking to them in the same room boiled down to 'he's mean' and 'he's annoying' (real helpful guys, big bro knows exactly what the issue is now).

Eventually I separate them into two different rooms and ply them with grapes for more details (thank goodness these boys could be bribed with fruit). The older one was complaining that his little brother was always following him around everywhere even when he was trying to play with his other friends (those of you with younger siblings may be getting a wave of nostalgia right about now).

I was pretty sure I knew what the problem was but I spoke to little man next to confirm, and just as I thought he said his brother was being mean to him and not letting him join in on his games.

Individuality - The Inevitable Outcome

Coming from a family where I have a lot of siblings I knew exactly what this was, they were becoming individuals. When you have two children so close in age it's easy to start thinking of them as one unit and that day was the start of them growing into their own people and that causes friction. The older one wants to go and do things independently while the young one wants things to stay as they are.

The hard part is that there is no quick and easy solution to this; you need to let the one have his own identity and comfort the other who's understandably feeling a bit abandoned. Part of that is me correcting my behaviour as well, I needed to stop thinking of them as the boys and instead as Craig and Michael.

It was not going to be easy and there were going to be many more fights ahead but for now I'm calling a ceasefire...I'm putting on Lion King and making popcorn.

By Reece Sinclaire.

 
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