Holland has a sweet heart… don’t get me wrong. She is a kind-hearted, precious little girl and I love her deeply. But, she is MEAN to her brother.
This morning I reached my breaking point. She was dressing up in her princess clothes and Hudson wanted to dress up too. He brought me a dress and I put it on him and Holland tried twice to take it off and I told her no. I stepped out of the room to get my camera and when I came back she had him half-way out of the dress with it over his head and he was bent down with his head touching the floor, screaming.
I lost it. I started yelling at her to “STOP!, STOP HITTING, BITING, KICKING, SCRATCHING, PUSHING, SHOVING AND ABUSING YOUR BROTHER!!”
Holland of course was upset that I was yelling at her and it defeated the entire purpose of me making the incident a teaching/disipline moment. I ruinied it… and it got me thinking: How much responsibility do Dave and I hold in Holland and Hudson getting along?
Hudson loves his sister… anywhere she goes, he wants to be… if she is playing dress up, he wants to play. If she is drawing, he wants to draw. If she is jumping on the trampoline, he wants to jump. You get the picture. But, Holland is constantly annoyed with him and is consistently mean to him.
Starting in Genesis 4 siblings had their issues, to put it mildly. This chapter is preceded by Genesis 3: The Fall. Adam and Eve had their own issues, obviously.
But, the most interesting sibling example in the Bible, to me, is Jacob and Esau. In Genesis 25 the boys are together and Esau gives away his birthright for a bowl of stew. This is between them: Jacob manipulated Esau and Esau didn’t really care about his birthright.
BUT… in chapter 26 the parents get involved. Rebekah manipulates the situation for Jacob to recieve the blessing from Isaac instead of Esau.
What happens next: Two nations Judah and Edom were at odds with one another for years and years after that.
The brothers already had enough issues: The parents exaggerated those issues by playing favorites and things got WAY out of hand. (although God said it would be so… the simple point is that the parents contributed to the sibling rivalry)
I think that both of those examples show that the parents do have responsiblity for their chidren’s relationship, at least in part.
If Adam and Eve hadn’t been preoccupied with their own sin and getting kicked out of the garden and all, maybe they could have focused more on their children.
If Rebecca hadn’t manipulated to have her favoirte recieve the blessing maybe two nations wouldn’t have spent years and years bitterly fighting.
I can’t always control how Holland responds to Hudson… but I can control my response. I can be patient with her, kind with her and firm with her. I can show her how she should treat her brother by treating her with the same respect and consistency that I want to see from her: NOT yelling and loosing my temper.
I am consistently seeking wisdom on this subject and I KNOW I don’t have it even close to figured out. But, I think that starting with realizing what my responsibility is in their relationship is a good place.
I cannot show favoritism and I need to treat my children as individuals. I read an excellent post on parenting that talks about how parenting isn’t always fair. You can read it here:
I don’t think that treating my children “fairly” is key. But, I think that loving them equally as individuals will help with sibling rivalry. When Holland is being mean, I have to remember that I LOVE her :). I have to remember that she is only three years old. I have to remember that God is teaching me through parenting Holland and Hudson as individuals and as siblings. He is showing me how much it hurts Him when I am unloving to one of His children. I still have a lot to learn but I hope that I am able to internalize these lessons so that it helps me parent my own children and show kindness to others as well.