I know it is common for siblings to fight and disagree with each other. I know that particularly because I have five siblings and we fought like cats and dogs as kids. Even today though all of us are parents we will often get into heated debates and pick opposing sides, but yet at the end of the day we are family and will not even dream about hurting the other one. So what was getting me all wired up was not a case of simple sibling rivalry. It was the fact that my twins were going at each other so bad that I was worried they may end up hurting each other seriously.
I have three kids, twin boys and a daughter. My boys are 13 years old and my daughter is 5. I got divorced when the twins were 10 years old and even then they were not your usual bonding twins, but yes the fear of their father did keep them from crossing the line. Once their dad moved out of the house things began to get worse. It started out with seemingly simple issues, where one would tattle on the other. From here it grew to not just tattling on the other, but putting the other in trouble too. Things got so bad that my boys began to break things in the house and try and pin it on each other. I was having a tough time dealing with the divorce itself and then to top it all the boys going at each other was getting on to my nerves. In six months time I was contemplating sending them to different schools and maybe even looking up a few boarding school options.
It was much easier to care for my 5 year old girl than it was to look after the 13 years old boys. Then there came a time when the school authorities also began to complain and I decided to seek some professional help in the matter. The last straw was when one of the twins decided to blow the fuse in the other ones room so that he would not be able to chat in the privacy of the room. Things went bad and he ended up starting an electric fire. Thankfully I was in the kitchen and spotted in immediately and put it off. That was it. I knew that things had now gone out of hand and I had to take action to control the issue or else someone in the family would get hurt seriously.
I decided to begin by contacting a psychologist that the school had recommended. She called us in for two sessions a week. I was called alone at first and then a session alone with each boy and then all of us together. A lot of rules were made during these sessions. The lady even helped them to understand that they must give each other space and respect as individuals. It was clear to me that the sessions were working since things were getting better. The psychologist advised that I join a few single mother forums where parenting is discussed often so that I can share with other moms who may have been a similar situation. This is when I hit upon http://www.singlemom.com/parenting-and-kids-resources/. These was a lot of information here and to date I read the articles that are posted on the site to take in the parenting advice that they have to offer.
Some interesting advice and drills that the site and also the psychologist recommended in making the teens to get along better with each other actually worked well. There was this one time when the twins were asked to build a 3-D puzzle in under 20 minutes. If they were able to get it done in time, one would be allowed to visit the bowling alley on the weekend while the other would get his much desired pen drive. Both managed to get the job done and it was nice to see them high five each other when they completed.
After about three months of these sessions we had managed to bring the rivalry down drastically. Even when things were under control, the doctor had warned me that I will have to keep my eyes open for a relapse. She told me to make mutual respect a priority in the house and continue to read up on articles and information that would help me combat the problem.
I will not say that the boys are best of friends today, but yes they do co-exist much better than before. They are very different personalities and so clashes are common even now, but we have managed to keep the decency of the house in order. I read up a lot on sibling rivalry even today. It is surprising to learn how many kids have tried to suffocate their baby brother or sister when they were young. I guess in time my boys will outgrow this feeling too, though to be honest at the moment I am not too hopeful.
Being a single parent is no cake walk and in my case not seeing the problem in the initial stages was my biggest mistake. But I am glad we have been able to resolve the issue to a manageable stage and let’s see what the future brings. As a single mom I for one know that parenting can get lopsided without having someone else to share it in. if you are someone who agrees, I suggest finding some good parenting advice sources on the net and then using your common sense to see which one works out for you.