Monday, November 16, 2009

It's Not Fair

The whole concept of equality between siblings can suck you in like quicksand. Do you treat each child exactly the same, giving to one what you give to the other? What's equal? The dollar amount you spend, the number of items you purchase, the number of trips alone you take with each one? Do you get them the same color/shape/size, or different? Do you get something for child A when you and B are shopping together? If you spend 3 hours, with one, do you owe equal time to the other? I know what I've been taught: to check in with each child individually to see if her needs have been met. "Do you want more milk?" "Would you prefer green or yellow?"

Those of you with more than one child - ha, with even more than one cat, I bet! - are snorting derisively right around now.

Being in the same class at school and running with the same circle of friends at home, H & H can seem much closer than the 2 years apart they actually are. Hannah gets a little extra responsibilities because of her age, but Hazel isn't far behind. Usually they are happy people, at peace with one another. Lately, for whatever reason, they've been bickering like crazy over every little thing.

Hazel wants to be JUST LIKE her big sister - she wants to do the same things, and get the same things, and whines and complains when she doesn't. Hannah DOES NOT want to have the same things as her sister, or for Hazel to get the same thing Hannah already has, and she whines and complains if this happens. "Why did you get that for her? Now I'll never wear mine!" "Why did she get more than me? She always gets more than me!" "I wanted that one, too!" Seriously, these two could argue over dirt these days.

I'm trying to ride it out. Most importantly, I'm trying hard to steer the conversation back to the girl in question, and away from what her sister has/does/says. I'm also throwing in some lessons on gratitude for good measure, because, seriously? Listening to people complain when I proffer a gift does not make me happy.


Agent X said...

I only understand this in dog world. I feel guilty for walking one and letting one roam free out front while the other wants to be out (but you know lunges and tries to bite people). I am glad I don't have to deal with this situation with children and if I EVER have another, there will be so much separation that hopefully it is a moot point. Be strong. Your girls are awesome and this too shall pass.

Krispy said...

and you know, as a young person, I would have killed to have had those arguments with a sister. my older, stinky brother was no comparison.

Vetmommy said...

Yeah, that is no fun. I'm sure you remember bickering with your sister as a kid, too. I try to remind my two how much they really do love each other. When that doesn't work, I have been known to pull the car over and get out. That totally scares the pants off them.

peevish said...

When they fight about something I'm buying, I just put everything back. At that point, they usually decide what they were offered was just fine.