Sunday, April 4, 2010

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

We have been playing the board game "Risk" at our house lately.

At my son's 11th birthday party a couple weeks ago, he had two friends over for a sleepover. His buddies saw the game on the shelf and got excited about playing it. One of the boys knew how to play so he taught the others and they ended up playing it until the wee earlier hours of the morning. No one won. That is the nature of the game of Risk: it is never ending. Over this Easter vacation we broke out the game again and have all been playing it.

The object of the game is world domination. It takes us several days of about with an hour or less of play time a day to finish a game - so we leave it out on the table and I see family members come by the board game during the day and evaluate their next move. While they are brushing their teeth or putting their clothes on I’ll hear my two boys threaten each other, “I’m going to take you down. I’m going to have your Africa [or Australia or whatever it is]. You are going down.”

The first day of our family game there were tears. Older child was mad because he was losing and said some not nice things to younger child. Second day of the game, younger child didn’t want to play because older child was not that nice to him the day before. Fourth day of the game, younger child started taking out his dad’s armies and soon took over Europe. Fifth day grandma took over Europe and younger child came over to my South America thru Africa and I just had to take him out and I rolled him completely out of the game. “Mom, how could you do that to your youngest son?”

My boys don’t get along. Actually, the older child torments the younger with words and the younger is not quite as quick with the verbal combats, but he can pull out a 1-2-3 punch pretty quickly. If the older is not saying verbal harassment, he is giddy and hanging all over the younger, touching his face, putting his finger in his ear, or blocking him from a door way. It is not like the older is that much bigger than the younger to dominate with his oversized body (only by two inches, five pounds, and three more years of experience) he is just bored and has no one else to pick on. One day in the car my younger says between quiet sobs, “Even though he is always bothering me, I still love him.”

One time a gal I was working with on a project came by my house to drop something off. She met my two boys and asked the younger if he and his brother were friends. “No” he replied, they were not friends.” Yeah just like that with no remorse, just stating that facts ma’am.

Sometimes they do surprise us. At night when the boys are falling asleep the older child will climb up onto his younger brother’s bunk bed and pray over him. He will ask God to heal a foot or some injury his brother might have or asks God to help his brother with a situation at school, but at the end of the prayer he always thanks God for giving him the “best brother ever.”

Does this rivalry happen in your house? Do your kids get along? If not, what do you do about it? Did you get along with your siblings? If not, what did your parents do about that and how do you get along now?

Happy Easter Everyone.
Hope you all got along with your family and friends on this celebratory occasion and that you remembered the One who paid the price for victory.

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  1. My brother and I FOUGHT badly when growing up. He and I are 4 years apart. I remember us putting up cereal boxes at meals so "he wouldn't look at me!" haha. Hitting, locking each other out of the house, tattle-taling, yelling at one another that we "hated" each other... I can laugh now because we're the best of friends today. I love him soooo much! We just started a bi-monthly tradition: "Coffee Chat dates." We both don't drink coffee, but we go out coffee! Go figure! Just to spend time together!
    I wish I had more siblings!

  2. We have two children 18 months apart and for the most part they are the best of friends. When they are not getting along for an elongated period of time I notice that it will go away if dad and mom back away from both children and make it so they have to rely on each other.

    It's a normal part of growing up (fighting), but we don't make it an acceptable part of our household. When the fighting does occur we have a couple of things we do more than others. We put them on 'time out' the same room...or sitting next to each other on the couch. Hahaha--that's a funny one! That does the trick some of time. Sometimes dad and I will go in the front or back yard and work on a project together. They are NOT allowed to join us. One or the other of them wants to connect with us and get us 'on their side'. By removing ourselves from the situation makes them have to resolve the situation themselves. Other times one of them may have missed a meal, didn't have a good night sleep or some other reason that causes their emotions to be a bit more sensitive at that time.

  3. My brothers and I definately had a love-hate relationship. I cant tell you how many times we fought, physically fought, when we were kids...till we were teenagers. But we were friends at the same time becasue we spent so much time together. Now we are all very close. I dont know what I'd do without them.

  4. Wow, this is a bit of what I saw the other day with them. It's funny how you explained it, because it's exactly what happened. Although they argue, I saw love...A LOT of Love! My sister and I fought, but not loudly because we were so fearfull of the punishment our mom would give us if she heard. Even to this day my sister and I fight, although we have maturity and counseling under our belts, so we now know how to express our hurt. Hurt is the hardest part of fighting because that's what brings us to tears. I think if we understood that hurt is usually the end result, we may not fight as much. With the love your boys do have for one another, I doubt either of them really wants to hurt the other. Someone has to be the first to draw the line and make it stop, but avoiding the tears of hurt from the begining can soften some blows. - Kerri

  5. There was a lot of sibling rivalry in my family growing up, and I place a high importance on my 2 boys getting along. I always encourage them when they are being nice to each other, and I tell them independently that they are a good brother. When they go through periods of fighting, I separate them. Playing by yourself is not nearly as fun as playing with your brother. I try to give them enough attention because many times that is what they want the most, and will "fight" to get! Thanks for a great post, Sharon! Happy Easter. -Sue

  6. Love the comments! So, there is hope for my boys! I keep hearing about these siblings that have always got along and I thought, wow, what is wrong w/ my boys that they are not even friends?! But, now I am assured it is common.

  7. Maybe they will be the best of friends one day. I keep telling them, they will have each other a lot longer than they will have their parents around so they better learn how to get along!