How many times have you threatened to pull the car over if one of your kids touches another one? If you are anything like me, the answer is at least 1,000,000 times! And have you also said “Keep your hands to your self” 1,000,000 times?!?! I have tried explaining the concept, yelling the concept, begging the children to just “STOP TOUCHING EACH OTHER.”
Can I get an amen from my fellow mamas with more than one kiddo?
You see, it doesn’t matter how many kiddos you have; if there is more than one, you are experiencing this exact problem. So though I feel like I am constantly repeating myself and discussing what physical contact is appropriate with my boys, I just hope the things I say sink in.
There are two truths I want them to focus on as they grow together, so here is what I tell them:
1. Brotherhood is not a tackle sport, it is a team sport.
I am in a house with ALL boys, so how better to explain our family unit structure than with sports? We are all on “Team Armstrong.” Our team has many members and we all have different roles. Each role is necessary, but they don’t all look the same. Daddy is the team captain and coach, and he calls the plays. Mommy is the co-captain and coach, and I make sure we execute our play-calls and learn how each play works. As kiddos you are the players; you each have different strengths and weaknesses so we train you to overcome your weaknesses and appropriately use your strengths while working together as a family team. In this sport that we call family, there is a NO TACKLE rule. We use our words to explain our feelings and not our bodies to act them out.
So if you see this crazy group of boys and me in public you may hear a cheerful “Team Armstrong!” You may hear me say “Brotherhood is not…” and two little boys answer “a tackle sport” because they have been using their bodies against each other. You may hear me ask “Whose team are we on?” and several boys answer “Team Armstrong” (with or without enthusiasm). This family is a team…The Armstrong Team!
2. Games are played with opponents, but relationships are played with partners.
In this family we are focusing on building relationship together as family partners. Daddy and Mommy are not against you; we are your partners. The brothers are not against you; you are all partners. You have each other’s backs. You stand up for each other. You respect each other. You talk kindly to and about each other. These guys are your best friends and it is important to treat each other as equals, so that as you grow your relationship, it doesn’t turn into a game. Life is not a game and I want my boys to form deep and lasting relationships with each other. I want them to be full of excitement, love, and energy.
Being on a team is not always easy — in fact it is often hard.
There are multiple personalities, people, and positions to take into consideration, but in the end teams stick together, they play together, they win together, they lose together, they fight together, they succeed together…TOGETHER they are the team!