Thursday, 15 March 2018

My Son Hates His Brother: Siblings In March

So this is a little different than my usual Siblings posts.

Yes, I'm sharing some cute snaps of the boys but unlike most months, these are not photos I took especially for this post. They're just photos I happened to have for another post I did, and that I I'm using them.

Today, my Siblings post is going to be a little less sweet to read than usual.

Bare with me.

For the last 3 and a half years, since I found out I was expecting my second child, I've read and admired the monthly Siblings posts of other bloggers.

I've cooed over the beautiful photos of little sib-sets holding hands on the beach, running together in the park, perching nicely next to each other in lavender fields...arms draped around each others shoulders.

And I've read the accompanying words...full of anecdotes about their sibling relationships, the occasional bickering sure but how the love they have for each other always shines through, how they look out for each other, how nicely they play together.

And filled with excitement, I waited for my turn to be able to take part.

So along came Noah, a little brother for Tyne, and my Siblings posts started...documenting their journey together, month after month.

And for the first while, it was all great - there was no sibling jealousy, perhaps helped by the fact that Tyne had only just turned 2 a few days before Noah arrived so he was probably too young to understand what was happening.

And 10 months after that, a third brother arrived on the scene.

Then somewhere along the way, things just changed.

These days, when I write these siblings posts...I feel like I'm having to really dig deep to remember the good moments between the boys. In Fact sometimes when I read them back, it sounds like it's written about a group of children I don't even know.  Because those positive moments and lovely sibling relationships? They're honestly just not there.

So this month, I'm not going to gloss over it. I'm going to tell it exactly how it is.

The truth is....My son hates his brother.

HATES him.

I know that, because he tells all of us just how much he hates him on a daily basis. Multiple times. Every. Single. Day.

Considering the fact that Tyne has two little brothers, I find it both fascinating and soul destroying that Tyne's hatred is reserved only for Noah.

He of course isn't always Sailor's biggest fan (and Sailor certainly isn't his!) - they bicker over toys sometimes, they don't play together all that much which isn't a big surprise given their ages (almost 5 and just turned 2). But mostly they co-exist quite happily. Ignoring each other for the majority of the time, interacting pleasantly some of the time.

But when it comes to Noah...Tyne is extremely vocal about his dislike of him.

He regularly tells Noah that he's ugly/stupid/annoying/disgusting...any horrid word he can think of really.

He regularly pushes him over, hits him with such aggression that it actually frightens me, has even had his hands around Noah's neck.

And I'm sure this makes it sound like an anger or violence problem, but he never acts this way towards anybody or anything else. Only ever Noah.

It doesn't seem to matter what we try to do to stop his behaviour toward Noah - we of course reprimand him, tell him it's wrong, try to understand his reasons, try talking to him calmly about his feelings, try to mediate, try to seperate, try to bring them together....we have tried it all.

And nothing seems to make it any better.

Of course Noah isn't always entirely innocent and Tyne's behaviour has rubbed off on him too - he'll sometimes start things now himself by declaring that he "Hates Tyne" or by shoving him first.

But most of the time, it's Tyne who starts it.

And the thing is...I don't believe Noah when he says that he hates Tyne. I know he doesn't, because most of the time he talks kindly about him, wants to play with him, acts affectionately toward him.

But Tyne so rarely does any of that toward Noah....whenever we as much as mention Noah's name, he declares that he hates him. And it makes me believe that he actually does.

And I don't know why.

And honestly...I find it really upsetting.

I'm under no illusions that siblings always get on - I know they don't. In all honesty I spent far more time fighting and arguing with my own sister than I ever did getting along nicely with her...if you'd asked me what I thought of her as a child I'd have told you I hated her too. And we've grown up to have a normal relationship.

And actually, our relationship was probably quite similar to Tyne and Noah's....she was always the most affectionate one, she was always much kinder to me than I was to her. I just found her irritating for some reason! Maybe it's an older sibling thing....

But whatever it is, it's not enjoyable. At all.

It's exhausting, draining, and it makes me feel SO GUILTY.

All I can think is "WHAT on earth have I done so wrong to make him hate his brother so much?! What should I have done differently to stop this from happening?!"

I worry about if and when it will ever get better.

I worry that it will make Noah grow up with a complex, a fear of being disliked, that it will make him feel unloved.

I want to comfort him and let him know that it's nothing he's doing wrong (and I do, of course), but I worry that over compensating will make Tyne jealous and push them further apart.

And honestly, I feel like it must only be us who has this problem because I don't think I've ever heard anybody talk about their children having such a difficult and trying relationship...which just makes me feel worse.

And perhaps its worse still that Sailor and Noah's relationship is such a good one - they're such good friends and play together so nicely, any little fights they have over toys are forgotten in seconds and they look out for each other and treat each other so kindly.

I don't understand how one pair of them has such a good relationship, and the other so bad.

If you experienced anything similar with your children, I'd love to hear any tips you have because I'm totally out of ideas. I feel as though we've tried it all!

So my apologies that this is not your usual Siblings post, there's nothing to aspire to here....but I'd rather be truthful about it.

It is what it is.

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