Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Sibling Rivalry Scoresheet

Two of my three kids (the 8 year old and the 6 year old) fight with each other constantly. It's actually more than that.  They compete with each other over everything.  And the appear to be keeping score. 

It never, ever stops. If one of them gets a glass of water, the other one has to get one too and it has to be bigger. If one of them brushes their teeth, they are sure to announce in their loudest voice: "Mommy! Why am I the only kid who's brushing their teeth right now?" And then the other kid gets all stabby and stomps down the hall, pushes their sibling out of the way and commencing to brush only out of the urge to best their competition, with no thought whatsoever to proper oral hygiene.  It is all more annoying than anything in the history of the world, except maybe for headlice.

The worst part is – I don’t even know what they’re competing for. I'm the oldest in my family and my closest sibling is 13 years younger than I am.  So I don't get the rivalry thing at all.  I adore my brother and sister and have since the day they were born. Sure, sometimes we get on each other's nerves but we always love each other.  And I can't tell you how much I have always wanted to have had a brother or sister my own age, my whole entire life.  I truly don't understand why they don't appreciate how lucky they are to have each other. 

Why is it always a contest?  That would get exhausting. I already find it pretty tedious and I'm not even competing.  I mean - are they playing some of kind of game that I don’t understand? Do you get points for being the first kid in the car? Is that why they race and shove each other like there are rabid wolves chasing them?

It would be very helpful for everyone if there was some sort of scoresheet. That way I would know what was going on and they would know exactly where they were in the family standings.  Once they knew for sure what the score was, maybe the game would get less interesting.  Maybe they would get distracted and move onto something else, like becoming lifelong friends and learning valuable lessons about how important family is. 

So I decided to make a scoresheet.  Sort of like baseball, which my husband very snottily informed me is all about understanding statistics.  As we all know I'm practically a rocket scientist, so I don't know why he was acting all superior when he said that.  Because with my handy-dandy scoresheet, we can all be clear on how everyone is doing in this bizarre game we joking call: "Our Normal Happy Family".

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

38 comments:

  1. OMG! That is an ingenious idea! That makes me laugh so hard!!! Check this out, too, I thought it was also hilarious! http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700165669/The-repenting-bench-2-A-great-way-to-bench-squabbles.html?pg=2

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  2. Hilarious as always. I have three boys that wrestle and act all crazy which in itself is a mystery to me and then add the rivalry. They puzzle me all the time with their behaviour.
    ruddfamilycircus.blogspot.com

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  3. So, you're saying I should get a puppy? :)

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  4. This sounds just like my brother and me when we were kids. For us, the competition was purely about besting the other. Period. It made me a better person if I got to the front seat of the car first and then got to stick my tongue out at my slow brother. But, don't worry, the lifelong friends part will develop in time!

    My brother and I started becoming much closer in high school and now we're best friends. You only have about 10 more years of this nonsense before the kids start behaving like normal people, so that's good, right?

    Thanks for your awesome blog!

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  5. Wow. It feels like you made this chart based on MY kids. They are 8, 6, & 2. This blog saves their lives some days! Sometimes when I feel like I'm gonna lose my mind I sit down and read your blog. It makes me laugh & keeps me sane. Thank you!

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  6. I grew up as an only kid. My two girls fight, play, love each other, hate each other, never want to see each other again, are completely inseparable all in the span of 2 minutes. It makes my head spin.

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  7. We use the rivalry to our advantage. The boys are four and almost seven, so we instigate the races to get them ready for bed, like "who can get naked the fastest?" or "who can buckle up first?" This may be doing long-term harm to their brotherly love, but it get's things done faster. And when it comes right down to it, which is more important, a lifetime of brotherly love or an extra five minutes in front of the idiot box with a glass of wine? Exactly.

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  8. My 5 and almost 7 year old are the SAME way. Drives me in-flipping-sane. My five year old is so sweet, but when his brother is around? He's a freaking terror, after whining all day that he "misses" his brother. Whuck?

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  9. As I am reading this, my children are having full contact teeth brushing in the other room. I think today I may adopt a "whomever is still standing at the end of the day wins" attitude.

    Love the score sheet. Glad I am not alone :)

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  10. These are the 2 things I say every hour or so to my 4 & 6yo kids on a daily basis:

    THIS IS NOT A CONTEST.

    THIS IS NOT A RACE.

    Peeing, eating, getting in the car, getting out of the car, bucking, unbuckling, dressing, undressing. getting in the tub, picking up a toy, having fun, laughing harder/louder/more maniacally at a Spongebob episode, hugging me, everything. They even make shizz up randomly, like your tooth-brushing bandits. "I am in the basement building a lego castle FIRST"....and then the other kid bolts down the stairs to make an identical lego castle FASTER. Fark me. Every single thing they do is a contest, and it is driving me frigging out of my mind.

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  11. Wow, it is amazing that Brady can not only talk already but can already say, I Ruv Rou!" Awesomeness.

    Julie
    ilikebeerandbabies.blogspot.com

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  12. Always, ALWAYS use this tendency to your advantage. I spend about 15 minutes every week just coming up with ways I can get my 6 kids to do what I want based on their competitiveness. Need inspiration? Watch re-runs of Malcolm in the Middle; Lois is a frappin' GENIUS!

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  13. Hey, I got to read this one start to finish without saying no, whoever climbs to mom's head first is not the winner. Supposed to be cleaning while kids are gone, but it is so blissfully quiet, I can't get up off the couch.
    This competition thing starts ridiculously young too. Mine are 1 and 3.

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  14. I get your point of view. I'm an only child with three kids, two of whom are boys. So not only do I have the "why do boys do that?" issue, I have the whole ridiculous sibling "she crossed the line/he's touching me!" nonsense. There are times when I look at my husband and say "Whyyyy??!!" He shakes his head and says "Because that's what siblings do." Soooo not satisfied with that answer...

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  15. I still cannot believe how much my children MUST be treated the same. If I was playing pattycake with the baby, the three year old NEEDED to play too (and I'm all, wtf mate, you haven't wanted to play pattycake in years). If the three year old gets to carry her plate into the kitchen, the barely walking baby must carry her bowl too. I can't imagine what another 5 or 10 years will look like. Or how crazy they will be driving me by then. Perhaps I should start keeping score now, just to make sure I have as many statistics accumulated as possible.

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  16. My sister is 2 years younger than me and our brother is 2 years younger than her. We were complete monsters growing up. My sister and I would grow our fingernails so that we could puncture each other with that 'grab the arm and squeeze as hard as you can' move. I can tell you how many spankings I got for that one. And I can so clearly remember holding my brother back with my hand on his forehead while he was swinging frantically trying to hit me back. Ah the memories. :) We are actually all very close now, I talk to my sister as often as possible and my brother about once a week. (I'm in MI, she's in OK, he's in FL)

    This is the only consolation I have as my 8 and 6 yo try every day to see who can kill each other first. It never ends. My 6yo even yells at his sister in his sleep. Talk about a Mommy fail.

    Oh well. We're off to play kickball with other families who have kids that are just as vicious as mine. :)

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  17. And how appropriate. My security word was 'pokin'. I may have to poke someone today.

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  18. Ahahahahah! I can't stand it! The second security word was FISTO!

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  19. looks like the dog is winning. team brady!

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  20. omg, my nine yr old girl & 4 yr old TWINS do this. and i am printing one these now. also, musicclassmomma is soooo right.

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  21. Like you, my sister is 10 years older, and my brother is 14 years older-----so I don't get the sibling rivalry at all. I never had to compete with anyone.....but I am going through the same sort of stuff with my 2 daughters, even though they are almost 8 years apart. At times, they get along so well....and the other 3/4 is filled with screaming, tattling, and bickering. It was stressing me out! And then I realized that I had never gone through this as a child, and when I had my oldest, she didn't have anyone to compete with for almost 8 years. That being said, I'm thinking we might be making up for lost (and more peaceful) time. :)

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  22. Hahaha! So great! I love to know my kids are "normal". We had to make a rule, a real rule, that you can't race anywhere against each other. Because it ALWAYS ended in a fight. A,his toe was over the line, the door slowed me down, it's not fair I have flip flops on, the dog got in my way, he's older/younger/faster than me, FIGHT. Dumb kids (-:

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  23. I agree, even though he's been playing for FAR less time, I think Brady is clearly winning.

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  24. I love the position of Devil Cupcake!!

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  25. I love this! My two are 4 years apart, but they are fighting all the time. It drives me bonkers. I am so borrowing this score sheet.

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  26. I like how Thumbelina has 2,890 demerits for not sleeping!! And my daughter's 8 & everything is a competition with her friends; "mom, Audrey said she got 107 on the test & I only got 106". Uh, okay...

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  27. Oh this is absolutely my life!! Are you sure you're not just watching my life on some hidden camera or something? I also have siblings with a HUGE age gap, except I'm the youngest and the older ones are only 2 yrs apart; and I've always wanted a sibling my own age! I even have the very same thoughts on this "why can't they see how lucky they are?.... Can't they finally get to the lesson about how important family is?" Oh boy, I am totally with you!!

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  28. Siblings compete for EVERTHING! I was riding with #2 and #3 on a ride at the county fair that goes up and down and sometimes tickles your tummy. #2 said she didn't get butterflies that time. #3 piped up and said he didn't get butterflies either. Where did she get butterflies? I want some butterflies too! He didn't even know what we were talking about, but he was sure he was missing something.

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  29. Must use this score sheet. The fighting and "winning" and "fairness seeking" is driving me up the wall! How many more days til school starts???

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  30. I have 4 boys and it is never ending. But, having one with "issues", I had a psychologist (annoying sucker) tell me that the more they fight as kids (as long as it is normal fighting), the closer they are as adults. Not sure I buy it, but...

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  31. Anon -- that might explain a lot about me and my own sister, 2 1/2 years younger -- I don't even remember having conversations with her growing up -- I remember shouting ALL the time, in the same room or across the house. I think our mom gave up interfering somewhere around the time we were 5 and 8; I really don't remember her referreeing much at that point, except the occasional times that she probably got so irritated with us and wanted peace for herself that she made us sit on the same couch together for x number of minutes. For some reason there was no yelling on the couch we were forced to share but I don't remember it being a rule from mom. Whuck? Anyhow obviously we tell each other, calmly and with good humor, waaay too much now. :) And we've each tried to apologize to the other for the abusive things we did to the other, but neither of us remembers BEING "abused," which I think is the best, best part.

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  32. I had two sisters, one two years younger, and one twelve years younger. I fought constantly with the first, but am closer and more protective of the second. A lot of the fighting was based on our two very different definitions of 'fair'. Other times, we fought just because we could. I found a blog that tells it from the kid's point of view that I completely agree with http://whatlifetaughtmeabout.blogspot.com/2011/07/being-kid.html

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  33. Love this! I have three boys and it's the same at our house. As others have posted, it's great to use this competitiveness to your advantage!

    I'll set a timer and say, who can clean their room the fastest - go! Works everytime! Also works for "who can pick up the toys in the living room, play room, yard, take out the garbage, clean off the table, etc.

    Maybe a mini cleaning Olympics would be fun?

    Let the competition begin!

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  34. One minute mine are pulling hair and punching the next they are giggling. True boys I guess. Instead of playing "swords" while peeing they play "lightsabers"... how do they learn that?!? I'm guessing it's the other person in the house that stands to pee.
    http://chosenchaos.blogspot.com/

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  35. I am the middle of three girls (my older sister is fourteen months older and my little sister is two years younger than I). We fought the entire time we were growing up. Full on punching and hitting with kitchen utensils. Now we are very close. I don't (can't) go a day without talking to my older sister. We are 29 and 28 years old. We used to live two minutes away from each other and we were both sad when I bought a house that was ten minutes away. We are close to our younger sister but she is a little nuts. We are a team, we always have each other's backs. It will get better, not soon, but it will get better.

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  36. If "the more they fight as kids, the closer they are as adults" holds true, my 2 boys may have to buy a house together. Mine are 5 years apart, but everything is still a competition and keeping score. If they could use that competitive nature in the "outside world" and not just between the two of them...

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  37. I realize I have seen this loooooong after you posted... and no one may even read this... but oooooh how I love this score sheet. Although I have no idea how to even keep score with the amount my kids go at it! my 12 year son fights, teases, torments, compares issues and responsibilities, even compares and complaines about the amount of homework between him and his 6 year old sister! Yes let me repeat, he is 12 & she is 6. OooooooMG! If she sniffles he sniffles a millisecond after. If he is told to do chores, he questions why is she not doing the same. Then I have a 2 year old who taunts and annoys the 6 year old. If 6 year old is crying, the 2 year old will race over in her face and pretend cry all dramatic while smiling at her. I am ENDLESSLY stating, "leave her alone", "stop comparing", "your older", "he/she is younger", "just ignore them", "stay in seperate rooms", "I'M SELLING YOU ALL FOR PARTS!!!" *kidding on that last one* I am an only child, I knew nothing about this. Uuuuhhhg! When will they be besties? I can't wait for that day. Even if tbey are getting along talking about how I did this or that wrong as a mom (garunteed conversation in life) as long as they are together on that I will be a happy happy mom. I just dont want to be 70 years old at that point. :) *crossing fingers*

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