Saturday, February 21, 2009
His parents (yes, I get to know a lot of parents well!) were nice and caring people who were also concerned about their son’s constant anger, as this had not been a problem with their other two kids, one of whom had earned a perfect 4.00 grade point average all through high school, while the other one had become the star athlete on the football and basketball teams, while garnering several college scholarship offers!
That’s when I realized that Brian’s aggressive and anti-social behaviors were symptoms of a more serious problem. As his two other siblings had been highly successful, Brian did not believe that he could possibly reach the levels of their success. Rather than attempt to be successful (he feared failing and thereby letting his parents down), Brian chose to block out his issues by sniffing inhalants, including gasoline, glue, and air freshener, all of which were readily available in Brian’s house during the 2 hours that he was alone each day after school!
Do your children compare themselves to your other offspring? Yes, they do! Are those comparisons favorable? The answer is most likely yes and no. The keys are as follows:
1) Each child excels in at least one area that is unique to him/her
2) Have each child explore the areas that are of interest to him/her
3) Although your children might have the same interests, do your best to eliminate competition between the two of them. As I have always told my own kids, the competition is the rest of the world, your guys are family and you should always help each other!
As for my own kids, one loves dance, one is heavily into guitar and art, and the other one loves drumming and sports. Interestingly, although my two boys have a great disdain for dancing, the older one has helped the younger one learn the guitar, while the younger one has helped the older one learn to play the drums!
And, even if they have the same interests, the goal should be for the siblings to help each other out and not view the other as competition!
Oh, and of course, don't leave your kids alone for two hours every day after school to explore the land of the nefarious adventures!!
Hang in there and keep up the great work (and joy!!) of raising your children!
Paul W. Reeves