December 16 10

I really would like my kids to like to each other.

I feel like it’s not too big of a request. I mean, you know, Brittany asked for Artie to walk again. This is nowhere near that kind of request. It’s just, I mean, I don’t even have the words. My kids do not like each other. Not even one little bit. People are always quick with the sympathy stares and the canned responses. “Oh, all brothers and sisters fight. One day they will be best friends” and, my favorite, “They probably love each other when you are not around.” REALLY? Because, while I appreciate these possible explanations for these three little peoples’ behavior, it just really feels like they kind of hate each other.

Deep down they probably love each other, I’d guess. And they occasionally drop an unexpected compliment. And they will probably be friends as adults and text each other furiously with messages about how their mother is totally insane and it’s a wonder that they came out of their childhoods as functioning members of society and, well, not in some padded room somewhere. Probably.

But, you guys, I swear, I have never seen anything like this. The three of them cannot be in the same room with each other for longer than 8.2 seconds before someone is making fun of someone else, someone is yelling at someone else, and someone is crying. They are so impatient, so quick to insult, so full of eye-rolls and mocking, so worried that someone is getting more than the other, so full of goddamn disrespect. And don’t even get me started on what transpires when I pile the three of them in the Elantra after school. Let’s just say that it usually ends in Mommy turning the radio up as loud as it can possibly go, so as to drown out the sounds of the bickering. Mommy 1; Little Monsters 0. I win and they lose, especially since I force them to listen to my music, which, of course, will show up 15 years from now in a text from Emily to Isabella: Remember when Mom made up listen to that crappy Mumford & Sons? OMG, every time I hear them I think of her and THE CRAZY.

Occasionally, when it gets to be too much for me to bear, I force the instigator to hold the other one’s hand. OH YES I DO. Five minutes of hand-holding for the fighting siblings. Honestly, I take great pleasure in this moment. And you know, sadly, it’s not because I feel like I have won. It’s not a Mommy 1; Little Monsters 0 case. It’s because there’s a period of five whole minutes where two of my children are holding hands; where there’s a tiny little spark of LIKE. No one is pushing, shoving, over-talking, comparing, mocking.

No. For those minutes I can pretend that they are like other kids. For those minutes I imagine they are like those kids I see who actually play together, watch movies together, sit in a car together without a fight baked in an argument.

Think it’s too much to ask?

I mean, it wasn’t always this way…

  1. Good luck with that. Most days my kids like each other and hate me.

    Comment by Cyndi on December 16, 2010
  2. Cyndi…I’m pretty sure I’d prefer that!

    Comment by ali on December 16, 2010
  3. Well, I’d say there’s hope, but its way down the road. My brother and I could not STAND each other until I moved out for college. Now we talk all the time, and while most of it’s still insults, this time they’re said with love.

    Comment by The Tutugirl on December 16, 2010
  4. I feel your pain. We always joke that if someone was picking on our daughter in the schoolyard, our son would jump in and…help them beat her to a pulp. You are not alone!

    Comment by Kathy on December 16, 2010
  5. My kids are just like this too, and I’m sick to death of people telling me I’m over-reacting. I am not over-reacting, people, it really is that bad, and it really does suck that much. It takes me half a freaking hour to make a peanut butter sandwich because I have to run back into the living room to break up fights every 5 seconds.
    Good luck to you – hopefully this kind of thing really is just a phase. My (5 years younger!) sister used to beat the crap out of me, and we get along great now…

    Comment by Jessica on December 16, 2010
  6. I am hoping it’s just a bad, bad phase…my sister and I are best friends now and we used to HATE each other.

    Comment by ali on December 16, 2010
  7. I make my kids hold hands on the couch looking at each other until they can – without laughing and with feeling that at least appears real – say I love you .

    One time, it took 4 hours. Now I only have to threaten them with this and they immediately stop fighting. (might be because they are 15 and 13 now….)

    Comment by Lori on December 16, 2010
  8. I grew up in a family of three kids. This is so normal. And now? Me, my brother and my sister all get along. It took awhile. I didn’t like my brother until we were both in high school.

    But I think as your kids get older and get their own friends and do things outside the house, it will be easier.

    Comment by Kristabella on December 16, 2010
  9. My BABIES are 16,7 and 5.

    We are in a weird phase where the younger ones have been absolutely twerpy to the oldest.

    She has had to resort to all kinds of bribery just to be allowed in their CLIQUE, and even then they are still just jerky.

    We make them hug it out, and I’m not above giving them a common enemy (ME) just hoping this phase passes quickly, it’s KILLING me.

    Comment by MichelleRenee on December 16, 2010
  10. I four sisters and one brother. At some point growing up we all hated each other and we all incessantly kept score and whined about what the others got and we didn’t. I cringe at how difficult it must have been for my single parent mother.
    But we are all now in our 30’s and early 40’s, on speaking terms, have loads of fun together and stay in touch even over great distances. My siblings are the best gift my mother gave me.
    It will get better and you will survive it.

    Comment by Rachel on December 16, 2010
  11. Man. I would very much like this from Santa too. That would be the best gift EVER.

    Comment by Sherry on December 16, 2010
  12. They’re making memories. Every grey hair on my Dad’s head is another memory of my life with 3 other siblings. My Mom used to do the hand holding thing too… I would squeeze my brother’s hand! God..I was a little shit head.
    You need some good leverage. Maybe a really awesome Christmas gift that you could “easily take away”. Maybe that will buy you some sanity for a while at least. 🙂

    Comment by suzanne on December 16, 2010
  13. I ask myself this same question at least 10 times a day: When will they like each other? They do say they love each other, but OMG when will they be able to be in the same room in peace? I want peace in my house and then we can work on peace on earth! And, don’t get me started on the lonnnnnnnnnnng drive to Toronto next week… maybe a wall in the back seat will do the job!!!!

    Comment by corinne on December 16, 2010
  14. I think it’s their ages. I think.

    My girls go back and forth. Right now they are in a bad screaming over every little thing and calling each other names and…yeah. This morning? It was about apple cinnamon oatmeal. A package of it. The last package. Whatever. Neither of them care normally. But it was the last one. I ate it. They have been fighting about everything. Can’t use the Santa threat, because neither believe anymore.

    Other times? They are best friends.

    So I’m going to go with it’s the age.

    Comment by Issa on December 16, 2010
  15. my younger brother and sister are twins. the three of us fought tooth and nail when we were younger (we are now 21 and 26). physical fights, name calling- and it got worse when i broke my leg when i was in sixth grade and decided picking on my brother would be my entertainment while i was stuck on the couch. even my brother and sister didn’t like each other for a long time because everything that happened, happened to both of them. and then we slowly grew up and now we are friends- of course there are times when we still get on each other’s nerves, but overall we get along (something i didn’t think would happen while growing up). so hold out hope!

    Comment by Rachel on December 16, 2010
  16. amen, sistah. my kids are over 5 years apart and hate each other and can’t make 2 seconds without fighting. beats. me. down. i’m asking for the same damn thing.

    Comment by Allison on December 16, 2010
  17. A book that has really helped me with this issue is “Siblings Without Rivalry” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It’s totally 80’s, but most of the suggestions actually have some merit! Worth a shot, anyway.

    Comment by Dre on December 16, 2010
  18. Dre! That’s so funny. Someone else just recommended that book to me. It’s funny, I’m noticing…that two alone are ANGELS. It’s only when all three are together that it’s madness. You remove one from the situation and it changes the dynamics entirely. Weird, that.

    Comment by ali on December 16, 2010
  19. You know what that means, right? You need to have a fourth to make them even. Get right on that! 😉

    Comment by Dre on December 18, 2010
  20. I read somewhere that a study was done that concluded the more kids fight when they are young, the closer they will be in later years. My mom says she worried about my brother and me fighting so much (same stuff you are saying), but we ended up very close in adulthood.

    Good luck. I’m still in the phase of my kids getting along most of the time (6 and 2), but I’m under no illusion that this will last forever.


    Comment by Laura on December 18, 2010
  21. I don’t get along with either of my siblings – we’re just such different people that I don’t have any desire to make the effort. But my parents encouraged us to compete with each other and I think that has something to do with it.

    Comment by Avitable on December 20, 2010
  22. My sisters are 10 years younger than me, so we have a twisted relationship anyways, but they are 15 mos apart (14 & 16 yrs old) and they absolutely hate each other. My kids are 2 years apart and love each other… But I am waiting for the shit to hit the fan.

    Comment by Sarah on December 20, 2010
  23. I just found this post and OMG! I thought it was just my kids! You’d think a 5 year age difference would matter, you’d think the gender difference would matter. NOT! He is 17, she is 13, and I wish I had 8.2 seconds!

    Comment by Tammy on January 17, 2011

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