About a month ago I sat down and had a heart to heart talk with my Z-boy about his relationship with his brother whom he doesn't always get along with. It seems like out of all 4 of our little boys, those two are always butting heads and arguing about this and that. Unfortunately, the older brother is often belittling and criticizing the little brother. And to retaliate the little brother is often physically attacking and whining at the big brother. Both of these behaviours had to stop.
I sat Z down and explained that the family relationships in our lives are more important than anything else. I needed Z to know that having 3 brothers to be your lifelong best friends is just about the coolest thing you could ever have in life. "You don't want to ruin that, or jeopardize it in any way," I explained. "The way you treat your brother right now, will likely effect both of your relationships the rest of your lives."
We sat down and wrote down some goals to work on concerning how he treats his little brother. (Well, mostly I wrote them down and hoped he was absorbing it all.)
1. If you're not interested in what he's saying just smile and nod your head. Please refrain from correcting or criticizing.
2. If he's being annoying, go into another room, instead of being annoying back.
3. If he physically attacks you, don't punch back.
4. Try to find something you have in common and build on that commonality.
Now I don't know if this little talk worked on him, but I do know that over the past month we have seen a huge change in these two boy's relationship. It has been really awesome!
Z has turned into this overly-dedicated, nurturing, loving big brother, and J has turned into this completely kind, adoring little brother who admires everything Z says and does.
They play on the trampoline the minute J comes home from school. (Z homeschools and J goes to Kindergarten) They spend all their time together making up stories about dragons. In fact, J has taken on the character of Z's pet dragon named Flare. Z takes care of Flare and trains him to do all sorts of cool tricks. Z helps flare care for his stuffed red dragon named Crescent. Crescent is Flare's favorite toy, so Z watches Crescent while Flare is at school. Z also helps Flare when he has a hard time. For instance, when Flare won't eat his chicken dinner, Z reminds him that he's an omnivore and can eat chicken! (This has been hugely helpful to me!). When Flare is slow getting into the car, Z helps him get his shoes on and helps him get ready. (Also hugely helpful to ME!) Z has been playing games with Flare,reading dragon books to Flare, and teaching him the arts and secrets to training dragons. And now lately, Z has been coming downstairs and telling Flare bedtime stories about dragons.
Z definitely found a common denominator to build upon- the love for all things magical, make-believe, and fantasy! I think these two have more in common than they realize and have really been building on these similarities this past month. I love to see them bonding like this, especially since Z started homeschooling again since this past February. Bonding with his 5 year old brother is a great thing to do since his 8 year old little brother is gone all day in school whom has always been his closest buddy.
I am so grateful for Z and his mature response to a real problem. He has gone over and beyond what I expected. I suspect dragons and magic will be a common theme throughout their lives as they grow up together as friends......or dragon and trainer.