Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Article #108 Sibling Rivalry

As my boys grew, the biggest shock of having more than one child was discovering that children didn’t naturally get along. As my babies became toddlers, fighting, arguing and jealousy developed. Sharing and peacemaking didn’t seem to be inherent childhood qualities! I found myself quite often in the role of “referee” and “disciplinarian.” No one had ever bothered to point out this truth to me before, though I had taken several child development classes in college. Being raised as an only child, this was another wakeup call for me to search for more techniques from my Dr. Spock’s book of child rearing. (Photo on left-big brother Frank and Daniel.)

Being a modern parent, I was NOT going to spank my child, but then I discovered how easy it is to spoil your children by giving them everything they want so they won’t be fussy. When child #2 and #3 came along (photo on right-Brook and Daniel), I had changed my tactics and admit now that I did spank my sons occasionally. But, it worked and Dr. Spock agreed with that technique as being necessary to “teach limits and respect for authority.” As I see children nowadays growing up with no limits and little discipline, I fear for their parents’ and their grandparents’ sanity. A spoiled child controls the household and family with his or her demands and out of control tantrums.

As my family grew, I found myself in conflict between continuing my career as a teacher or quitting to be home fulltime. It’s impossible to give your all to both jobs, and my priority was my family. Once again, I quit teaching dance and only worked part time as needed to supplement our income as my husband returned to school for a Ph.D degree.

About this time, the Zero Population group was gaining in popularity. I remember as I was pregnant with my third child, a member of this group came to give me materials while I was at work about the importance of having no more than 2 children. We were to “only replace ourselves on planet earth.” I couldn’t help but chuckle as I pointed to my expanding waistline and declared IT as child #3. The interviewer left in disgust. (Son #3 Brook on the left.)

These were the days in the late 60s and early 70s of protest: Women’s Lib, anti-Vietnam parades and the hippie movement were growing in popularity. They would influence my family in ways I could not imagine at the time.

4 comments:

Linda said...

Lin, I also am an only child and I cannot begin to describe the shock I was in for raising my children. The was nothing I hated more than the friction between them. It drove me crazy. My husband, on the other hand, was one of 10 and besides that grew up in a children's home. Often times he never say the problem.

Cheryl said...

I so enjoy reading your stories Lin. You were a busy mom indeed! My first two children were 7 years apart and I must say, not many arguements or fights between them. Along came baby sister and she was the one who was the instigator in any whining!

SandyCarlson said...

Thank you for sharing what you went through. You are awesome.

Rambling Woods said...

Love the family stories and photos. It was a very interesting time in history and so much has happened. But some mistakes we didn't learn from like the wars...