6 Ways to Stop Sibling Fighting
Don't Expect Everyone (or Sometimes Anyone) To Be Happy With little kids, "you're never going to satisfy them," says Judith Sansone, a mom in San Francisco who has two girls, 4 and 6. "They are irrational beings -- their needs are so immediate." Even when they're a bit older, you still may not be able to, at least not entirely.
Scheidt, the Seattle mom, recalls the time she got her girls identical hats because each always seemed to covet what the other had; besides, her younger daughter wanted to look like the older one. Wouldn't you know it? Her older daughter informed her that it wasn't fair that she had to wear the same thing as her little sister just so her sister would feel the situation was fair, which was, well, a fair point. "There is nothing I can do about that. They're the keepers of equality, and they're always looking for unfairness," Scheidt says.
Happily, other parents and Ph.D.'s say that the issue fades somewhat on a day-to-day level as kids' understanding matures, usually by age 11 or 12 (thanks, in part, to your having the fairness conversation. Again.). But brace yourself: As they grow into adults, they tend to remember the perceived inequities, not all the times you twisted yourself into a pretzel to do the fair thing. Indeed, Kane says she felt for a long time that her younger sister always got the goodies when they were growing up, a feeling her older daughter has shared, despite the fact that Kane knows she's being equitable. "I look at my girls and think, You'll only get it when you have kids." That's called karma, and while it can be a bitch, it's totally fair.