Quarreling is a fact of life a family has more than one child. Un-scientific studies (meaning my own personal observations) show that the incidence of quarreling increases exponentially as more children are added into the equation.
There was a time when The Husband and I were certain our two younger children would never be friends; would never be able to lean on each other as they got older and life became more complicated.
Their relationship mainly revolved around bothering, whacking, and screaming. Occasionally when all three kids were involved in a project together, Oldest became a calming presence and peace reigned for a time. But we always knew that Middle Sister and The Boy were a ticking time bomb, and that parental intervention could be required at any time.
And then – miracle of miracles – things changed. They began singing together in high school and suddenly there was immense respect and a camaraderie born of their absolute dedication to honing their instruments (i.e. their voices). At about that same time, Oldest Sister went away to college, and the two left at home had to find a new way to relate to each other and to their parents.
Let me insert here that it was our family tradition that whenever one child had a special event (school concert, recital, program, etc.) the whole family attended. I have plenty of friends who disagree with that rule – they’re unwilling to put siblings through the pain of sitting through all that stuff. But The Husband and I were adamant that we were all a team, and that family support was non-negotiable. If something was important to one of us, it was important to all of us.
I really think that mindset played into the eventual onset of peaceful relations, and the (almost) end of quarreling between our siblings. They may not have realized it at the time, but watching their sibs excel at what they loved most led to mutual respect.
I saw an instance of the end of quarreling just yesterday morning:
I had to go back to work after a week of vacation, and The Boy still needed support post-wisdom tooth extraction. Middle Sister was on hand and was happy to assist, making sure she was clear on the protocol for all his meds, diet, and palliative care routine. Awesome!
And then a conflict arose. Middle Sister had plans to go out for frozen yogurt with a friend, who just happened to be The Boy’s ex-girlfriend. It turned out that The Boy had made plans to go to the same fro-yo joint with another friend at the exact same time. He absolutely did NOT want to be in the same space with his ex, and “suggested” (“insisted” would, perhaps, be more accurate) that Middle Sister change her plans.
A few years ago this situation would have ended in a knock-down fight, complete with withering sarcasm and low blows. Yesterday they worked it out peacefully, and all is well.
I wouldn’t say we’ve seen the end of the quarreling, but we have certainly reached detente. So if you’re still living in the quarreling years, just know there is hope for the future!