If anyone else is stuck in the same boat I’m about to describe and has some tips, or even some snacks, please share! So, the solid side of the boat, the strong side, the side we really prefer to be on is made up of a super strong bond of brotherly love. On that side of the boat, we find two brothers cuddled up, and the eldest is reading to the youngest. We find them playing board games, lego, and spies. We find the older teaching the younger how to play solitaire, and the younger eagerly giving half of his birthday money unprovoked to his older best pal. And oh my, we see moments of clasped hands – at the dinner table, in the car, at the mall – in this thing together. But over there under the bench of the boat, there are some holes. Over there we see the battle of the temperaments between the sanguine, phlegmatic boy who believes anything is possible and is quite insistent on it and the choleric (maybe also sanguine and a bit melancholic?) who demands that things be fair and true to real life. The difference of three years is becoming more apparent as these two strong personalities strive to hold fast within the context of their bond.
Since we learn at home, these boys spend their days together. We can see the older desires more time on his own to work on his pursuits – reading, drawing, game design. Yet the younger can think of nothing better than playing with his bro. Finding ways to honour both needs is proving to be a challenge, not to mention there are several other temperaments in our crew as well! When they do play together, the battle of temperaments is popping up more and more frequently. These two definitely have some non-violent communication skills and I’m often in awe at how they can talk through problems with one another… and there are some serious emotions at play. Hurt feelings, anger, sadness. Yet those communication skills often take a back seat to raised voices and yelling matches. Or we get a somewhat endearing combination of non-violent communication sentiments being yelled between the two of them. But I’m feeling frustrated because… !!!
I know we need to get back to an old tradition of one-on-one dates with each of the four kids to give them breaks from each other. To carve out individual time for the older, and ways to fill up the younger’s desire for play and connection. To find time for connection in the hectic schedule of a highschooler playing sports, and for the only other chica in the house.
I know that as hard as it is to admit to myself, I am the boat and they are just reflecting back my own holes of stress, impatience and busyness that are taking me away from real presence in our days. It’s my work to hold the space, to provide rhythm, and I feel that we’ve strayed, I’ve strayed, and that rhythm has unraveled. Time for a hearty push back in that direction.
How do you balance the different temperaments of your children? Share in the comments!
P.S. apologies for the award boat analogies… not a lot of time for reworking my writing these days… : )