This week, a Moncrieff listener wanted advice on her sons who seem to be constantly at odds.
Joanna Fortune, psychotherapist specialising in Child & Adult Psychotherapy, joined Moncrieff to answer this and other listeners’ questions.
The question is:
“I have three and six year-old boys, and a new baby boy in the next few weeks.”
“There have always been sibling rivalry and jealousy between the boys. But I believe the primary source of this is us, the parents. I worry about how this will affect my children’s relationships and our relationships as they grow. “
“There is constant bickering. There is tattling. There is winding each others up. Frustration and emotions go from 0-100 very quickly often resulting, in hitting & calling each other names and complete melt downs. “
I’ve tried to avoid all arguments, but sometimes it is necessary to intervene to end the violence. I would say my husband finds it harder to stay neutral as one is older & bigger, its easy to start to place blame and expect too much from him”
“Does anyone have any advice on how to stay neutral or what language to use if there is an argument between children and adults? What are the best ways to prevent/deal with such situations?”
“I’m not sure if we are missing something or are you taking on too much responsibility for something which is part sibling dynamics.”
“Siblings can be our first encounter with best friends or enemies.”
“We can work out a lot of those social dynamics together.”
“At six and three years old, it’s a world apart in terms of development.”
“They play in different ways, so they get on each other’s nerves. They’re misunderstanding each other.”
“That’s the way they get to know one another.”
“You can’t keep it from happening at three and six.” They don’t know how to do it.
“Your three-year old is not self-regulating, but neither is your six year-old.”
“They need you in to set the temperature in the room.”
“I wonder how much time you all get to spend together as families.”
“Spending time as a Family teaches them to love each other and work together instead of working against each other in play.”
“Then ensure that you spend at least one hour a day with each of your children.
Main image depicts two brothers playing fighting at their home. Picture by Westend61 GmbH/Alamy
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