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The Positive Influence of a Sibling

They say that you should avoid creating competition between your children in order to preserve the sibling relationship.  However, I have discovered that siblings can also be positive influences when you have a toddler with displaying challenging behaviours.

Whether this is all part and parcel of normal toddler development, or perhaps Gavin is just more disagreeable than most, he seems to have hit a stage of his life where he appears to derive great pleasure out of being difficult and disagreeable.  For instance, during our classes at Heguru, Gavin had deliberate answered incorrectly for his own amusement.  It only occurred to me when he gave the wrong answer to a question I knew he knew.  Even if I had doubts that perhaps he had simply forgotten the answer, his impish grin and mischievous giggle were a dead giveaway.

I cringe observing Gavin’s behaviour in class because I dread to think what his future behaviour in school will be like.  A child like this is frustrating to teach and I’m sure he’s going to be the bane of his teacher’s class.  His teachers are either going to think he’s really annoying or really stupid.  I am already dreading the telephone calls from school.

But I digress… After hitting a snag in my Glenn Doman flashcard program for Gavin, I decided to give it a break until he regain his interest.  Unfortunately, he kept telling me he didn’t want to do the flashcards until he saw me flashing cards for his brother.  Dropping what he was doing, he immediately dashed to his brother’s side and started repeating the words and numbers after me.  According to Gavin, he was “teaching” his brother how to read words and recognise numbers.  Personally, I didn’t really care what he called it.  I was just happy that he was participating.  Now he tells me he also wants to do his cards – the Bits of Intelligence cards – but not the words and numbers.

These days, Gavin has also been opting to “lie down like a baby” when changing his clothes simply because his brother does.  That works for me, too – at least I don’t have to chase him down and wrestle him to the floor or think up creative ways to change his clothes.

We’re all anticipating the day Gareth starts solids because we believe Gavin’s eating habits may improve.  As it is, he eats better when in the company of his god-brother.  One night, he sipped pumpkin soup offered to him by his god-mother simply because his god-brother was having it, too.  When asked whether he liked the pumpkin soup, he said, “Yes,” even though he was grimacing with every sip.

With Gareth being so interested in sucking his hands to the point of gagging, the general prediction is that he is going to love eating.  If Gareth loves to eat, I’m sure Gavin will be fighting for his share of food.

Of course, there is also a downside to all this – for instance when Gavin wants to be carried all the time…


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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