FranklyStein: Battle weary over brotherly brawls


adamjonahI came across this picture the other day of Adam and Jonah taken last April. It struck me because they actually look like they like each other.

This is not the case these days. Most of the time, they tolerate each other at best and verge on killing each other at worst.

Twice in the past couple of days, I’ve caught Adam pummeling Jonah and sometimes vice versa. It’s usually because Jonah has said or done something highly aggravating or Adam has pushed beyond the limit. It’s not uncommon when we ask Jonah if he wants to do something for him to respond, “Not if Adam is.”

They don’t like each other, and while that feeling has come and gone over the years, it seems to have set in for good lately.

I’m not sure when or why this animosity began. I guess it’s not unusual for siblings, but I don’t like it. It’s unsettling to glance out a window and see what looks like your kids in a fight-to-the-death on the trampoline. Or to hear your sweet baby proclaiming that he hates his older brother. We aren’t supposed to use the word hate in this house, even when speaking of a food we dislike.

I’m trying to take the hard line here. I’ve been doling out punishment where punishment is due, but I’m wishing we could come up with a way to help them get along. I want them to be there for each other, to support each other. Life is hard enough out there; we don’t need warfare in the house.

So I’m looking at this picture from a few short months ago and hoping that someday soon they will find their way back to that place. In the meantime, do you have any advice for a battle weary mom?

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 13, Lilly, 11, Adam, 11, and Jonah, 7.