Wordful Wednesday. Beat Sibling Rivalry & Make Your Kids Love You.

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After #3 was born, I committed myself to spending alone time with each of my boys.

I realized that we were struggling a bit with giving them ample personal attention and, as a result, their sibling rivalry started to get intense.  They (and by they, I mostly just mean #2 who was 2 and a half at the time) also began having some behavior issues and struggles with independence and personal identity development.

preschool tantrum

#2, role model to middle children everywhere, has a high need for attention (good or bad, he’ll take what he can get) and if he doesn’t get it, he makes you give it to him.  Like makes you.

preschool tanturms

When we instituted Operation Get Attention Without Doing Something Evil or Crazy I immediately noticed a shift in the dynamic of the house.  And by shift I mean that no one was throwing themselves on the floor because lunch wasn’t featuring M&Ms, or hiding the baby under a pillow (yes, this happened once) because he was crying again, or taking the fish outta the fish tank and putting him into the toilet for a “change” (yes, this happened just once too because he immediately died following this incident).

We learned quickly that our #2 requires more than just eye contact when you talk to him and alone time to reset.  He needs focused time, sans brothers, daily, to feel like he fits, is being heard, and matters. 

toddler angel

As the Dudes started getting older, we realized that, while our other two don’t require it with as much frequency, they deserve some quality time too.

So, we put them to bed separately, everyone getting their very own 10 minutes to tell me whatever they’ve needed me to hear all day.  And, sometimes I will choose just one to go on an errand with me, leaving the other two home with DudeDad.  They each get a turn to help me cook or bake each week month.  They get play dates without brother supervision whenever possible.  And, we let them choose activities their siblings aren’t involved in (#1 did karate, #2 takes piano, & #3 just finished swimming lessons) so they get to be special without competition.

Once a month (or once a quarter, depending) we also go on dates.

#1 recently got a daytrip to New York where he got to mingle with Will and Jaden Smith as well as enjoy a day at the NFL offices.

nfl offices

#3 got to spend 5 days with me (and Mimi) in Toronto, ON.

kids in toronto

After all of this, #2’s I-need-love tank was feeling pretty empty.

In an effort to do something special that only he would truly appreciate we decided to go to a Harlem Globetrotters game!

I don’t think I’ve seen that boy smile this much or laugh this hard all year!

kid laughing

He’s a huge basketball fan and, as anyone who’s been to a Globetrotters game knows, these events are like super basketball.  Mixed with comedy.  And music.  And dancing.  And crowd participation.

Perfect for my #2 Dude.

What have you got to be Wordful for this week?!  Go ahead and link up your Wordful Wednesday posts and then visit Seven Clown Circus (our #WW cohost) and last week’s featured posts.


A true and {amazing} look at San Rafael from Tacloban {book me a flight to the Filipines, please}, what 20 months look like at Behind the Camera and Dreaming, the Windows of Rome, and gorgeous pictures of a magical Vacation on The Cape from Babies & Bacon.

*Want to catch a Globetrotters event in your area?  You might be able to because they’re on tour!  Check out their upcoming Globetrotters tour dates for more info!


  1. says

    thanks so much for stopping over ;)
    looks like your dudes get some pretty good “dates” with you!!!!
    Can i be next? ha ha ha
    hope you have a great fourth

  2. says

    Oh, the middles. Mine is the same, much like her father. I take it seriously but I don’t feed into it. Like you, I think each needs time but what kind of individual time and to what degree changes for each child (and now, for my, um, hormonal one, she is neediest).

    • DudeMom says

      No hormonal ones over here thank goodness, unless you count the dog and then jeez!

  3. says

    Cady is like no. 2. She needs that one on one, that look in the eyes, that knowing that she has your full and focused attention. It gets a little heavy to carry that sometimes if I’m being honest.

    (And again, no. 1 needs to stop looking like a man and start looking like a little boy again.)

    • DudeMom says

      I know right? I hate that we are eye to eye right now. It’s awkward, annoying, and sad!

  4. says

    Aww, #2. He’s so cute.

    I have been wanting to do some “alone” time with the big boys for awhile, and I’m hoping to be able to take two days off between now and when they start school on July 31st to spend a day alone with each of them. I’m not sure that’s going to happen, but I’m going to do my best to make it happen. All kids need a little alone time, and you’re right, some need it more than others. I find that I really like Jack when we’re alone together. But as a family? He can grate on my nerves like nobody’s business.

    • DudeMom says

      YES! It’s hard to enjoy together time when one of the members is busy getting buck!

  5. says

    Your #2 sounds an awful lot like my #1. Her I-need-love tank seems to empty out soooo much faster than my #2s does. You’ve reminded me that, after a week of celebrating and remembering our #3, I need to spend some extra quality one-on-one time with both of my older girls.

    • DudeMom says

      Good luck! I know for sure we’ve been there and are going to be there again soon (and by soon I mean probably tomorrow).