A Sister and the Dog Fur

My kids were wild the other night. Absolutely wild. All the hoopla ended up with the usually calm, easy-going middle child in tears. Her brothers were having fun together  while she was studying for finals but, apparently the fun had gotten out of control. I headed into her room to see quite a mess (it involved a lot of newly brushed out dog fur and her bed… I’ll let your imagination take it from there.) But, more impressive than the disarray was the look of remorse and concern on the boys’ faces. They saw their fun had crossed a line.
This level of sibling conflict is rare around here. Somehow I have raised three kids who like each other. Most of the time. In the office parents often ask me for help with sibling issues. While there is endless advice one could give about not playing favorites and listening well, the first answer I give is always the same and often sufficient.
Way back when my first was 3 and about to have a sister I panicked thinking that life might never be the same again. The new baby would be an intruder into her brother’s world. He would feel cheated, lonely without my undivided attention. He might resent her. About that time, I read some advice for how to avoid sibling rivalry that seems to have worked:
Brainwash ’em.
Tell them from day one how lucky they are to have each other. Tell the big brother that his sis is so lucky to have him in her world. Tell her the flip side. Remind them often, that they will be in each other’s lives forever – through everything life throws at them.
Even dog fur.

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