Sibling rivalry: “I want those pajamas”

“But they’re not yours!”

My wife bought a set of pajamas for my son, K. But my elder daughter, J, wanted them instead.

Put it crudely, it’s kind of like forced possession. The pajamas were hijacked when J said, “I want to wear the pajamas!!!”

The triple exclamations mark the unfriendly tone.

She continued, “The pajamas are too big for K. Let me wear them first until he’s big enough for them.”

If this happened some time last year, I’d have used my authority to lecture J by telling her this was not the right thing to do.

If required, screaming and yelling would be applied to a certain extent.

But, guess what, I am a different person now. My resolution is not to instill unpleasant and hostile feelings in my children – towards me.

Instead, my wife and I did the following.

  • I hugged her and acknowledged her feelings:
"I know you’re sad because mommy bought pajamas for K, she didn’t buy for you."

She nodded. This softened the tension in the room. This also opened up the communication channel as J knew that her voice was important and it’s heard.

Then J said, “I don’t have green pajamas. I want to have one.”
  • My wife explained to her that why she didn’t buy for her.
As a matter of fact, we only buy things when necessary. Sometimes we buy for K, other times we buy for J. We don’t do when-I-buy-for-K-I-have-to-buy-for-J-as-well thing. It’s not healthy to buy things for both of them for the sake of pleasing the other child.

“Next time, when we go shopping, we’ll take note of any green pajamas. If it’s suitable for you, we’ll buy. Okay?” said my wife.

J replied, “No, I don’t want green pajamas. I want yellow.”
  • It’s time to come up with an agreement.
Now that we knew what she wanted. My wife promised, “Okay, we’ll look for yellow pajamas for you next time we shop.”

J agreed and by then she already cooled down.

The whole episode ended with peace.

When you happen to be in such a situation, remember to handle it calmly. Don’t lose your cool. Acknowledge the feelings of you child. Listen (with no interruptions) to her point of view. Suggest to her some solutions. Better still, let your child come up with ideas. Reach a consensus and…

Get ready for bed. Night night.

For more Works for Me tips, head on over to Shannon’s Rocks in My Dryer.

See also:
"The toys are heavy"
Turn Sibling Rivalry Into Healthy Competition

About Abel Cheng

I am a work-at-home father and chauffeur to my 2 children. I love simple living and my latest passion is healthy eating. Lastly, I am the founder of ParentWonder, which shares tips on becoming better parents.