It’s hot. Summer in the desert is hot, that’s no surprise. We spend a lot of time inside playing games, at the movies or in the pool. Some days are harder than others to be active, the heat seems to suck every ounce of energy from your body. Add to that the change in routine, or lack of routine, that comes along with summer break and you have a recipe….. A recipe for what? Not always a recipe for disaster, but a recipe for short tempers, lack of patience, raised voices and lots of tears.
Your siblings are your first friends. They are the ones that you test the boundaries with and see what you can get away with. You treat them in a way that you would never treat your actual friends and most of the time they sit there and take it. Or they fight back, yell and scream and then a few hours later, you’re back together realizing it’s better to move on than to stay apart. Our siblings have seen us at our lowest moments and loved us any way. They stand up for us and protect us when we need it the most. When you are an adult this is easier to see, but when you are a kid in the thick of it? Not so much.
You’ve probably gathered by now that our household has been filled with nit picking, bickering, hurt feelings and tears over the last couple weeks. The heat and new routine are just two of the reasons behind the chaos. They are also discovering that they both have pretty strong feelings about things. Their likes and dislikes are changing and creating more of a gap between what used to be a very simple compromise. My 7 year old boy acts and reacts like a 7 year old, something that my 10 year old girl now has little patience for and does not understand. Some days it seems as though they fight about everything, while other days they get along like the best of friends. Late in the afternoon is the most challenging when everyone is tired, including me, after a long day. I’m experimenting with new things that we can do to unwind to try to avoid the blow ups that happen. One of my experiments includes having everyone spend alone time, in separate rooms, before dinner. This week I’m going to incorporate a gratitude list so that we can talk about the good parts of our day, before we let a petty disagreement overshadow it all. I’ll keep you posted on the results of these experiments.
I realize that sibling arguments, bickering, etc. is all just a part of growing up, figuring out who they are as individuals and figuring out how best to treat other people. It’s difficult to sit on the sidelines and watch. You want to jump in and help, but at the same time you know they need to sort it out for themselves. Deep breath. There are also days when you just want it to stop, when you can’t listen to another word in defense of their action or inaction. Deep breath. One movie line said “just keep swimming”, these days I’m changing it to just keep breathing.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.