You've got to agree with me – one of the first things you learn when you have a child is that nothing you’ve ever read or heard from others prepares you fully to be a parent.
Parenting is an adventurous course you have to chart out yourself.
You take those first few steps with your new babe in arms tentatively. Gingerly you probe to see what works, and what doesn’t, for your little family. You slowly start making your own set of rules. And create your own unique parenting style.
At some point you think it’s time to grow your family. You are getting comfortable with this whole parenting thing, after all. It’s time to give your fist child a wonderful gift — a friend for life.
One of the first things you learn when you have that second child is that nothing you’ve dreamed of prepares you for life with two kids.
Having a third or fourth child is not really that different.
Every child you add to the family reminds you how wonderfully, and often frustratingly, each one of them is different. And how each of them can turn your own hard-earned wisdom about parenting on its head in a heartbeat.
Life with more than one child at home is never dull.
There are joyful moments of heart-warming connection. Murmured declarations of everlasting love. Peaceful moments of harmoniously playing together.
And as often, temperaments clash. Competitiveness takes an ugly turn. Birth order and gender genetics dictate completely unanticipated actions.
It’s time (again) to re-calibrate your idea of what parenting is. And evaluate your role in the lives of these wonderful individuals, who you gave birth to, but ultimately have to chart their own course.
Dr. Laura Markham, in her new book “Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings” provides wonderful guidance about whether, and when, you should interfere when your kids collide with each other. And how you can nurture their bonding so that the inevitable conflicts that arise all through the growing years will draw them closer to each other instead of ripping them apart.
Sumitha at A Fine Parent has captured the essence of Dr. Laura’s book and put together the wonderful infographic How to Effectively Deal with Sibling Rivalry that is included below.
I hope it helps you in your goals of creating a cohesive family where siblings grow up to be friends for life.
About this guest poster…
Sumitha Bhandarkar is the creator of afineparent.com, an exclusive community for parents who believe that great parents are made, not born. If one of your life goals is to be a better person and a better parent, she invites you to join her and the A Fine Parent community in their slow and steady quest for personal and parenting excellence. You can also find her on Facebook.