Sibling Rivalry and The Moms Who Helped


This Instagram journey is wild.  It never stops blowing my mind that so many people are following along with our story.  It is an honor to be part of your world and I'm thrilled to be able to use this  platform as a way to serve you and connect you with one another.  The other day I posted on Facebook and Instagram about a current struggle in our family- my girls are not getting along.  So many of you took the time and energy to comment and DM me about your own children as well as the dynamics in your sibling relationships when you we growing up.  I found all of these responses helpful and I've been referring back to them when I'm reflecting on the dynamics between Sloane and Ruby.  I've compiled the advice from you amazing Mamas who have children in all stages of life.  Thank you for your thoughts and comments.  Thank you for helping one another as we ride this parenting wave.  

Here is my post from last week:  “Help! We are in a rough patch over here. All Sloane wants is Ruby’s love and attention.  All Ruby wants is to be left alone. How do you help your kids through a rough patch? I can’t be the only one with sibling rivalry issues…"

Here is a roundup of responses from Instagram:

Ugh mine go through that some days! Maybe it’s just a phase?  @momoftwochunks

Have you read “Siblings Without Rivalry”?  About to start a book group with some other parents so we can read and discuss and hopefully lean on each other when this stuff comes up.   @momma_teaching

Put them on a team and have some kind of competition that requires teamwork. Girls vs. parents.    @chrynda

You’re not the only one! Maybe a new fun toy or game that they can do together/ bond over?  @ashleychimes

I remember feeling that way with my older sister growing up.  There’s a 5 year age difference and I looked up to her and it seemed to drive her more crazy.  Is there something that they can do each week just the two of them… bake cookies or take a walk around the neighborhood collecting nature and craft materials?  @meghancorridan

Just keep loving them.  Our girls are17 and 19.  Still waiting for it to end.  @honeybeetoys

My oldest always needs space too. I make alone time in the house - everyone has to spend x amount of time alone. And then I have my oldest do things for my youngest - which earns him rewards. Then when he’s mad at her I remind him that's what happens when you are the oldest but you get these rewards because of it! I try to honor both their needs and teach them to respect each others. That’s the goal anyway.... Its works sometimes... @themindfulengineer

Yes, honoring and practicing alone time. @marlaterialista

I'm pretty new at this (6&3) and I'm an oldest so I don't really remember it, but just a personal thought - I look at my youngest and I feel like she's only ever known life with a sibling, and I also want her to discover her own interests, for her benefit, and realize that fun doesn't always have to involve company. As a mum I've sometimes encouraged that copycat mentality because obvs it helps sometimes ("look how x uses the potty... do you want to try?"), but now I'm thinking about the need to also encourage her to develop her own identity and be proud of her own achievements. Deep thoughts, but just wanted to share, bc I think long-run it might help with this kind of rivalry @englishrosie 

Sounds like mine. @ourreads

I find that when I've developed a resentful or bitter heart towards someone, I pray. Specifically I pray FOR them. I grow in empathy and you can't help but love someone
you want good things for.

Roundup of responses from Facebook:

Oh man, I feel your angst. I actually had to hire a therapist to help with this same problem when they were little. My oldest (now 17) and my middle (now 15) have very different temperaments. Still do. The middle one is very extroverted and social and just never sits still. The older one is introverted and needs her alone time and her space. The therapist helped us with language that the oldest could use to be alone. Megan's idea is a really good one. Scheduling time together to satisfy the younger is definitely one thing we did, too. It's all about managing both of their expectations. There will have to be some compromise. My girls are now very close, but the older one still shuts the younger one out and it makes her both mad and sad. But because we tackled this early, they both have the ability to communicate with each other about their needs. They will never be able to be roommates, they are just too different. But they do love each other and both tell each other everything. In fact, I have to go to them to get info on the other. Their rooms are next door to each other and often I find them snuggled together watching a show. So don't be too bummed, it'll all work out in the end! You are smart to start now and listen to both their needs and find a compromise. Mothering is so hard.  –Barbara Rucci  (@artbarblog)

Often we find ourselves almost scheduling cooperative and individual play, giving permission for one of the kids who may not be wanting to play together to have time for themselves too. For example, we say that the next 20 minutes can be spent doing something together and then after that they can have time apart. More often than not, 20 minutes turns into a much longer period of time and sometimes that alone time that one of them was craving is forgotten altogether. –Megan Paradiso 

I expect to be there any day...I have been lucky so far, by the time M wanted to be alone T was happy to play with C, but I can see T deciding she wants alone time very soon and it is not going to be pretty  :( Keep us posted on any solutions that help!! _Alissa Abbey Stoltz

It's tough...been going through it for the last 2 years. I try to explain to each of them what the others needs are and ask them to compromise. Sometimes they actually do compromise and I relish those moments and praise them.  - Nicole Bargellini Sinclair

I don't know the solution, but wanted to share my own experience. I was the old sister at home, with two young sisters always following me around at some points I felt I needed some alone time and space, and was not very nice to them. In retrospect I regret that, as my sisters now older remember me as the grumpy old sister. We are super close now, but I feel sad about not being nicer.  –Nora Rodriguez