Siblings as best friends…. really? You see and hear about sibling rivalry in movies, books, and television shows. But is it really that bad? If you have more than one child are you guaranteed to have children that can’t stand the sight of each other?
Our oldest two children are sixteen months apart. Life doesn’t exist without the other, or at least they don’t remember it any other way. As preschoolers they were so close that they refused to sleep in separate rooms and would play together regardless of the fence between them at the daycare playground. I actually sought professional counseling because I was worried they were too dependent on each other!
A few years later the children were off together at public school. Our son was in kindergarten and our daughter in prekindergarten. At first I didn’t notice anything different, but by the time they were finishing up first and second grade, they weren’t the same two kids.
It started small I guess. Just a few minor teases here and there. And then it was arguments because one wouldn’t say “hello” to the other in front of their friends, or one wouldn’t sit with the other during lunch. Our son liked to walk his little sister to class in the mornings from the bus but she stopped allowing him. We thought maybe she was just gaining more independence, but their relationship began to dwindle more and more. Their issue escalated into physical fighting and arguing at school, on the bus, and at home. We didn’t know what to do but we knew we had to do something….
After months of thought and discussion, we decided to begin homeschooling our children for a variety of reasons… this being one of them. When we started this journey three years ago, we weren’t sure what to expect. One of our favorite phrases has become “If you can’t treat your siblings with love and respect, why should I send you out into the world to treat other people’s children the same?”
Pulling our children back into our home has rekindled all of the sibling relationships. They text on their Nintendo DSi’s from room to room when they are separated. They argue over who gets to sit together in the car, not who has to sit together. They are back to sleeping in the same room. (Our girls will sleep on the bottom bunk and our oldest son will sleep up top. I wonder why we bother with separate rooms.) They are best friends again.
If you ask our children who their best friend is, I am sure they will give you many names of children they adore outside of our home. However, I know my heart as they grow they too will see who their true best friends are.