I am no parenting expert. I operate on instinct only. In these posts I’m sharing what I’ve learned from my own experiences but am always open to friendly advice from others, because dealing with sibling rivalry is hard work.
My 2 sons, Jasper and Arkie, were born in the same month 2 years apart, weighing in at 8.2 and 8.3 pounds respectively. Both boys are strong and agile, so they’re good at everything physical. And they are highly competitive.
The moment Arkie was born, toddler Jasper discovered that Arkie suckled. I often would find Jasper with his bottom lip in Arkie’s mouth. Jasper loved the sensation of Arkie suckling his lip. Meanwhile Arkie was being squashed and turning blue.
I would yank Jasper off of him and raise my voice. I’m guessing this was the beginning of the negative attention. Even bad attention can seem good in an ADHD world.
So this continued on. Jasper would invade Arkie’s personal space, and I’d get very cross. Jas would snatch Arkie’s toys, whack him on the head, and as they got older punch him on the arm.
Sounds familiar …
As a child, I experienced sibling rivalry too, but far worse. My arms were always black and blue because of my brother, but no one defended me. My mum had her own troubles so I was constantly told to stop whinging and left to get beaten again.
I have zero tolerance for this, and if Jasper hurts Arkie, that’s the one thing that makes me ferocious.
But it continues. It happens daily. Jasper just can’t control his impulsivity. We’ve had many conversations about it after everyone’s calmed down. He doesn’t want to hurt Arkie he doesn’t know why he does it. Arkie will simply be standing next to Jas and suddenly receive a punch for no apparent reason.
Here’s what I’ve tried …
These are some of the things I’ve tried to do that failed:
I’ve sent Jasper to his room and showered Arkie with love, I’ve taken Jasper’s favorite possessions from him, I’ve grounded Jasper, shouted my head off at him.
I’ve lectured him until he’s dying of boredom. This kills him.
I’ve let Arkie punch Jasper hard in the arm back to show him how it feels and to let Arkie burn off some steam. Jasper laughs. Pointless. And before anyone jumps up and down about encouraging violence it’s not my usual tactic just something I thought I’d try. But it failed.
None of it works. The problem continues.
But now …
So recently I’ve had other ideas come to me …
I’m a mother of 2, business owner, fashion designer, importer of Moroccan wares. I have a restless soul with an overflowing bucket list. I love writing and sharing stories about life and ADHD, my oldest son, my husband and myself all have ADHD so there’s never a dull moment in our lives!
~ Freya Duignan