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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sibling Rules of Three

Here they are!  The three of them!

The look happy enough together, and when I first discovered I was creating a family, I was thrilled at the thought that they would be each other's best friends.

Well, that's not how reality goes...

Thankfully, there are days when the three of them work hand-in-hand, like an arm and wrist turning a hand, like a crew on a submarine. But, there are other times when one out of the three is not happy with his or her sibling.  OK, this seems to happen pretty much on a daily basis.

Since I want my children to get along and love each other, this division bothered me quite a bit. Then, one day it hit me:

It's nothing more than the rules of 3.

Remember the saying:

Two's company, but three's a crowd.

Well, that's the rule of 3.

When I was in high school, I noticed this rule quite a bit.  I had one very close friend.  The two of us loved each other's company.  However, there were several occasions when another friend would attempt to join in.  While we had fun with them, that third wheel never quite took over our hearts like my best friend and I experienced with just the two of us.

When I began dating, and my friend was not, the rule of 3 again came into play.

I also saw the rule of 3 come in to change the sibling relationship I had with my brother.

In high school, my best friend came to live with us, due to her family circumstances involving her parents' divorce.  Around the same time, my brother began to date the girl who would eventually become his wife.  At that same time, my brother and I drifted apart.  He blames my friend.  I blame my now sister-in-law.  Regardless of who broke up our sibling twosome, it was the rule of 3...  Or, in this case possibly the rule of a complicated 4.

My children get along great when two of them are paired off together, and they variate which two pair off at any given time, but add that third party, and there's always a disagreement ensuing.

I have stopped looking at this as a problem and begun to look at it as a logical result of a rule of 3.

It is more difficult for three people, with three separate opinions, to come together in complete agreement.

I recently did a personality profile on my son to determine his learning style.  When I was done, my oldest daughter wanted to do it as well.  It did not surprise me that their results crossed each others at completely opposite poles.

So, how does a family with three children learn to get along, without adding a fourth child to even things out?

I have begun to allow my children to pair off in groups of two as they desire.  In doing this, I see a vast difference in how my youngest plays with her sister as opposed to how she plays with her brother.  Both, I believe, are important interactions that are only achieved when she is one on one with the other.

When they are together as a group of three, I prepare my patience level and expect a disagreement.  I don't encourage the disagreement, but when I anticipate it, it's a lot easier for me to handle.

This is the family God gave me.  There are three children, and they are learning how to grow up with the rules of 3.


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