Though we didn’t always agree on room sharing, husband and I did agree that we wanted our boys to have a good, strong relationship to love and respect each other and to help each other navigate this crazy world. Of course, the reality is that they fight, bicker, and aggravate each other daily. Sometimes they hurt one another terribly. I was reminded othe that this week, when my boys headed out for a double sleepover with a pair of brothers the same ages as mine. My boys were at each others throats when I picked them up. The youngest was in tears and a shiner was forming around one eye.
I didn’t get in the middle, but after all was reasonably calm I did make sure to tell them both what concerned me most, above all, about the day’s events. “I sent you two off last night, to have some fun with your friends, to someone else’s home where rules, and routines are different and unfamiliar. I expected you two to have each others back, not tease, torment, and hurt each other. When you two are off on your own, it is not your job to put each other down and say and do mean things. Your job is to take care of each other, to help each other out and to support each other. You are brothers.
(Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish wrote Siblings Without Rivalry, it is on the Parent/Teacher reading page.)