Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Sibling Rivalry

As a child and the eldest of four, I often felt unfairly treated. My sister who was less than a year younger than me appeared to have a much easier time than I did.  As the eldest I was always expected to know better and I frequently got into trouble on behalf of my younger sister just because I should have known better!  What I really got upset about though was that at each stage of growing up,  such as being allowed to stay up later or being allowed to wear heels, and usually after having pressurised my parents to let me do each of these “grown up” things and my sister was always allowed to do them at the same time.  So I was expected to be the sensible older sister, to “take the blame” and at the same time not getting any of the privileges, as I saw it, of being the eldest. It was so unfair.
So when I had my own three children I resolved to treat them the same, to love them equally and above all be fair. I concluded that if I loved them equally and treated them the same they would love each other and we would live happily ever after.  I know a little bit na├»ve!
Anyhow, I persevered with this behaviour and belief, until I realised a number of things; that they didn’t want to be love the same, each one of them wanted to feel that they were more special; that as they were different ages with five years between the oldest and youngest, I was never going to be able to treat them the same, they had different needs and expectations.
Imagine if you asked your partner “Who do you love more me or your mother?”  If he answered he loved you the same, I expect you would be pretty mad with him. If he said “My mother is my mother, you’re the fascinating, sexy women I want to spend the rest of my life with” my guess is you would feel pretty special.  Well it’s the same with your children, it important to find their uniqueness and love them for it.
To love equally is to love less, to be loved uniquely – for one’s own special self, is to be loved as much as we need to be loved.
So instead of claiming equal love, show your children how they’re love uniquely.  If your child asks you who you love the best, instead of saying “I love you all the same” try “Each of you is special to me, you are my only (child’s name). In the whole world there is not another one like you”.
Feel free to leave me a comment, whether you agree or not, I welcome your opionons.

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