Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's Like Tyson Vs. Holyfield—Except They're Shorter. And More Brutal.

My daughters, Mari and Lila, love each other. I think. At least this is what I tell myself most days when the two of them are going for each other’s jugulars. Honest to goodness, there are moments when their knock-down/drag-outs feel like the ninth round in a primetime fight—sweaty, loud, nasty and brutal.
Alas, Mari and Lila are sisters. And this is what sisters do. They fight. They make up. They play. Somebody gets on the other’s nerves and then they start the whole thing all over again—usually precipitated by Lila, the little sister, doing something annoying and Mari, the bigger one, acting like the Earth is going to fall off its rotational axis if the 8-year-old Lila doesn’t get out of her face, pronto.
This bothers me. A lot. Maybe it’s because I’m a little sister and can say, with certainty, that it sucks – I know first-hand that it’s no fun when older siblings act like they don’t like you. But mostly because what mother doesn’t want her kids to get along? Through thick and thin, heck or high water, family is all you’ve got. You can’t pick them—or discard them—like you do friends; family is much more valuable than that. When you are hungry, they feed you. When you need shelter, family puts a roof over your head. When you’re sad, here comes a hug from someone who genuinely loves you and wants the best for you. You can’t always count on that with folks who aren’t your kin.
To see how I keep my daughters from straight killing each other, check out this blog post in its entirety here on the MyBrownBaby page at, where you can find tips, confidence-building tools and stories about how moms like you and me are helping their tweens navigate those sweat-inducing "moments."

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  1. Your babies are so cute. I can't believe they ever fight : ) You are kidding us all, right?

  2. My sister and I are 13 months apart and we fought like lunatics growing up and we still haven't made up mainly because family members fueled our mutual dislike/distrust with comments about who was prettier, smarter, more fun, etc...It's true that sisters fight, but it's up to parents to teach them conflict resolution so that fights don't turn into all out war. so, kudos!

  3. Okay see, this is how I know you love ME in particular! Dude, I was JUST talking to Kris about the very same issue with Mar and Sage! I wonder sometimes if I'm a weirdo for being bothered by what is apparently normal sibling rivalry! Da hell they gotta fight for? And how do I handle it? Punishment? Understanding? Conversation? Moscato? Lemme just head over to Don't Fret The Sweat before I right a novel in your comment box...

  4. I don't have a sister but my older brother and I fought like cats and dogs when we were kids. One year he got a plastic baseball bat for Christmas. Let's just say I hated that bat.... My brother told me there was no such thing as Santa Claus and he didn't want me hanging around him and his friends. Fast forward 10-15 years later til now, we are the best of friends. We talk every week. Our kids are buddies and ife is good. Siblings go through sibling rivalry and i imagine with girls, it's amplified. Don't worry. They'll be just fine. Hope it doesn't take 15 plus years, though. LOL

  5. Here's a quote I shared with my big sister (who is also my business partner and one of my closest friends) after one of out "tiffs" ;): "If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child." ~Linda Sunshine

  6. I can relate to this post. I am the oldest of my 2 sisters (age gaps of 7 & 15 yrs) I often fought with my middle sister, ruthlessly. With my youngest sister it was a confused relationship of sister/mother. Sisterhood can be such a complicated issue. We still don't have it all together. My children (one boy and one girl) often fight and I struggle with helping them to have a balance too. So I'm headed over to Don't Fret The Sweat to see what good words you have for me.

  7. I also am troubled when my kids, 5 and 3, fight. It bothers me when my 5 year old does something that he knows is going to get under his little sister's skin (and yes, she already has buttons to push). But I know it's normal. But when I was growing up, and maybe b/c my mother was a strict disciplinarian, my brother and I, 11 months apart, were not allowed to fight. As in, if she saw it, we both got it, bad. So our fights were undercover, tactical maneuvers, never out and out wars. And we aren't really close today probably because of that, because we weren't allowed to really hash things out, our emotions about each other were so suppressed. So now, I allow my kids to "fight" but not physically, but at least get into arguments. Hopefully it will bring them closer.

  8. I am an older sister and did my share of picking on my younger brother but watching my son take a toy from my baby girl pains me at times. Sometimes I say something sometimes I let them work it out. Granted they are only 3 and 17 months old but they will always be there for each other and so they might as well get used to it. Before having kids I thought the sibling rivalry started way later but I see I was completely wrong!!

    The one thing that's great is like you said they are siblings and no matter how much they fight they go back to playing and hugging, kissing and loving eachother.

  9. I'm the middle sister of three. My younger sister and I are 4 years apart and we used to have knockdown drag-out fights. I felt that she got preferential treatment and I have no idea what she was thinking. LOL. I'm in my 30s and she's almost there and we are the best of friends now. We just had to get older and NOT live in the same house anymore.

  10. My sister and I are 16 months apart and we fought just about everyday! It was terrible. I do think outside people created more tension between us by comparing us all the time.(who's prettier, smarter, etc.)

    We're much better now that we're grown.

  11. Ooh, my two have been driving me crazy with their bickering! I hate to admit it but I hear me and my sister 30 years ago - gasp! Headed over to check out your post ...

    Winks & Smiles,


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