My recollection from my early relationship with my sister is pretty sketchy, but today I am totally fascinated with what I observe in siblings in the PlayMove&Sing classes I teach.
In sharing music, movement and playtime alongside identical twins, fraternal twins, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners, I am reminded how very fragile these relationships are. And there’s such a tender balance between all the feelings that come up.
…Love… curiosity… frustration… affection… aggressiveness… trust… jealousy… protectiveness… respect… competitiveness… interest… fascination… thrill… fear… tolerance… conspiracy… patience… ownership… awe… rivalry… compassion… to name a few!
And it seems amidst all these emotions, that while trying to learn how to hold onto ‘one’s own place’ in the presence of the other, siblings have the potential to either grow together, or grow apart.
I’m not sure what this is dependent on – how much of it ‘just happens’, how much of it has to do with parenting, how much is determined by the temperament or nature of each child, or the potential impact of being the first born, the second born, the third born. But I am sure that by taking extra special time to interact with each sibling individually, and also to take time to show them in the presence of each other that they are each ‘cherished beings’, we will lessen their need to take from each other what they wish to have for themselves.
And in this, they will be given the opportunity to feel that sharing is like receiving, and also, that when sharing isn’t possible, there’s a respectful way to express the need to hold onto what one feels is ‘one’s own’.