My three boys argue and fight. They are three very different people and they all think they are the alpha male in the house. They are all assertive kids with opinions, ideas and good vocabularies. They can stand their ground and they will physically defend themselves if attacked. Sometimes, they are the one attacking one of the others.
They are also really great fun. They are smart enough and work hard enough that they will manage school and eventually, real life. Their teachers tell me they have strong friendships but can move fluidly between social groups. Other adults frequently tell me they enjoy their company. I have enough knowledge to realise they are all emotionally attached to me in a healthy way – neither too dependent nor independent for their ages. They are perfectly capable of being together in harmony and often play together well. But they scrap most days and often more than once a day.
As a result, they are learning to make things work between them; to repair relationships when they have been ruptured; and to understand there are aspects of living in a group, which involve compromise and imperfection. They know how to apologise and they know how to dress minor wounds.
They also know they can depend on me to intervene and not allow one to bully or dominate any of the others; no one gets away with emotional blackmail. No one gets to play persecutor. No one gets to play victim. I do my best to mediate rather than rescue when things aren’t harmonious.
I doubt my boys will be friends when they are adults, and that’s just fine. Part of my parenting agenda is to not have an agenda for their adulthoods. If they do end up being friends that’s a bonus, as far as I am concerned. Raising mature and socially capable individuals is my ultimate goal and what happens next is entirely up to them.
I have friends who are very close to their siblings and friends who are not at all interested in spending time with any of their family members. Some are close in age; other are not. Some are from a group of single sex siblings; others are not. People – to me – are who they are, and some get on with one another and others don’t. I really can’t see why siblings should be any different. Yet, I seem to be alone in this point of view.
I seldom go a day without hearing a parent say: they had their children close in age…so they will be friends; they strongly desire their children to be friends when they are adults; or they despair that their children will never be friends with one another. Why? What is it that I don’t see or understand? Can anyone explain this to me?
What do you think? Is it ideal for our children to be friends with one another?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Karyn Van Der Zwet in New Zealand. Author of ‘All About Tantrums’ and the blog ‘kloppenmum‘.
Photo credit to the author.