January 21, 2013 | Back to: News

Kristen James: 'He's your favorite!' and other sibling rivalry fun

When my second child came along, I discovered a new meaning to sibling rivalry.

From the parenting side.

My daughter wanted to be on the baby blanket with her little brother and share his things, from the pacifier to any new blankets and toys. Once, she crawled into his empty car seat (in the house) and went to sleep, which made a cute picture.

She had been the baby, but at a year and a half, she had to share Mommy. I would often end up in the rocking chair with both of them.

Two years later, my second son came along. With three kids 4 and under, I put some thought into how to make each feel special. I learned to divide my time and create special moments with each child.

I often think of the kids as a collective force — like like a tornado. Just joking!

But once in a while some sibling rivalry still sneaks in. Maybe you’ve heard a few of these?

"Well, if he got that, so should I!"

"If I’m in trouble, what about her?"

"Why did she get to do that and I didn’t?"

"Of course it’s my fault, because he’s your favorite."

This became an issue during the last six months because when I corrected one child, he would accuse me of favoring another. So I’ve spent time talking to my kids and explaining that ‘fair’ does not always mean the same situation is applied across the board.

They got it — somewhat.

Then we had a conversation that made an impact for them. It sticks out in my mind as one of those wonderful times when the kids really and truly understood something in a new way.

We were discussing relationships and how I love each of them. I happened to come across the thought and said out loud, “You probably don’t love your dad and me the exact same way.”

I watched their faces register a big, "Ohhh…".

I didn’t really need to explain it. Kids love both their parents. They also have different relationships with their parents, and that’s OK.

It’s nice for me to remember this as a parent, too. Sometimes, things are going great with one child, while another child needs helps with homework, an ongoing issue at school or something they’re struggling with emotionally. We can’t divide our time perfectly between our kids each day, and we shouldn’t feel guilty for that. It’s the big picture that matters: spending time separately with each kid and time with everyone together.

Besides, the truth is, all of the kids are my favorite!

Kristen James is married with six children. Read her Mondays on Douglas County Moms. Check out her personal website at www.writerkristenjames.com.

I said, \'You probably don’t love your dad and me the exact same way.\' I watched their faces register a big, \'Ohhh…\'.

Kristen James

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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:22PM Published Jan 30, 2013 08:25AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.