I’ve never been the parent of an only child. I met the big boys at the same time and brought them home together.
Obviously, there was a time when Eldest was on his own, but that was before I ever heard of my boys, back when he was with his birth family.
But, then, I’ve never been an only child either. I’m the second oldest of five children. There was another child in the family before me. Having always been someone’s sister, I was easily won over by the ‘keep siblings together’ argument.
I’m not sure what bond I expected my boys to have. I have a different relationship with each of my siblings. But, I think that I expected it to be basically positive.
Hmm . . .
The boys have a complicated relationship. They find each other very difficult to deal with at times. They remind each other of things that they would rather forget.
Having both boys around has also normalised a lot of rather extreme behaviour. Of course we can hardly test my theory, but I suspect that the boys are more aggressive because they see their brother being aggressive. When I try to discuss their difficult behaviour, the boys often respond with ‘well, Eldest does it too’ or ‘Middly’s worse than me!’
On a purely practical level, I’m not always sure which boy is responsible for broken items or missing things. This can make life a bit tricky. I think they take things when they’re feeling scared, but, if I don’t know which child is taking things, it’s confusing. I’m unsure which child is struggling at times and I find it harder to spot behaviour patterns.
Of course, the boys have to share attention and space and toys. All of that can be difficult for them. It can be difficult for any siblings, of course. But the boys, who don’t entirely trust that there will be enough to go around, probably find sharing extra hard.
We have a few techniques that help sometimes. We have Colour Coding to help decide who owns what, we have The Hat to help make choosing demonstrably fair. We have Special Toys (which are changed frequently, sometimes several times a day) which don’t have to be shared, we have special time when the boys get a bit of undivided attention. But, it’s still hard.
Living with a traumatised child is tough at times. Living with a traumatised child when you are also a traumatised child is even harder.
Of course, there is a lot of debate these days about whether siblings like the boys should be kept together at all. Martin Narey in particular is arguing that each case needs to be considered carefully since some siblings could benefit more from separate placements. But, the boys are together and we’re doing our best.
The sad reality is that sometimes I think the only people who benefit from keeping the boys together are me and my husband. We get to have them both! I would never want to be without either of my boys and I hope and pray that one day they will feel the same about each other.


4 thoughts on “Siblings

  1. Thanks for sharing this. As someone still in matching and approved for one or two I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about this subject and real life experiences and ruminations really help me in my thinking.

    I love your array of tools and ideas too. So much to learn! Thankyou 🙂

    • Matching is such a fraught time! Hard as parenting the boys can be, I think I hated the matching process more than anything before or since.
      I hope you come through it relatively unscathed and begin the new adventure of parenting soon!

  2. Thank you. I am definitely hoping to come through it unscathed too. But yes, finding it very hard. Can’t compare to what comes after but it is definitely harder than the whole assessment/approval bit of the process.

    *takes deep breath* *ploughs on* 🙂

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