\"\"One of the things I really treasure is the relationship that exists between my sister, brother and I.  When we were very young, growing up in the Albany Houses (In Brooklyn, NY) I can remember that we were a close family. We did everything together. Although my parents knew people they did not allow a lot of outside influences to affect us.  My parents kept us in a protective bubble.  I tell people that even though these were” the projects”, life then seemed to be very good.

When we first moved in, the Albany Houses was brand new. Our address was 1414 Bergen Street. Apartment 8B.  At least that’s what I remember.  My brother and I shared a room and my sister had her own room. From the living room and the room my brother and I shared, we could look down and see what we called the “Little Park” and another building (1430 Bergen Street).  The view my sister and parents had was of Bergen Street (there was a NYC Transit Authority facility right across the street) and Dean Street.  Although we couldn’t see Atlantic Avenue, we could see the elevated train tracks of the Long Island Railroad. This apartment gave us some interesting views of our neighborhood. Some of those views became the subjects of my mother’s paintings. One of them “1430 Bergen Street” is the picture I used for this post.

I have fond memories of those days.  Life then seemed to be much simpler than it is today. I feel that the protective bubble my parents kept us in was the main reason why we felt so good about that time in our lives.

The thing I don’t remember about those times is having any sibling rivalry.  I am the oldest. My sister is two years behind me and my brother is one year behind her. Our ages were close enough where this rivalry could exist. I believe the influence of our parents kept this from happening. I never remember our parents comparing us to the other. I never heard the words “I wish you could be like your brother/sister”.  This I attribute to the way I believe our parents viewed us.  This view included seeing us as three different individuals, each with our own needs and aspirations. During those years I never felt that I didn’t get what I needed. There were many times when I didn’t get what I wanted but this is where I think they exhibited why it was so important to be my parents and not my pals. Everything I wanted I didn’t need.   The main thing they wanted to highlight was not our differences but what these differences brought to the family.

With my own kids, I’ve tried to copy this same behavior. Each of these boys has his own distinct personality. I never compare one to the other. It is my opinion that each one has his own special talents and it is my job, as a positive parent, to cultivate them. I feel that rivalries come about because kids want to be the one who gets all the attention. We see this happening in the animal kingdom. The strongest baby animal does everything he/she could do to get it all. In some cases the other babies die as a direct result of the aggression of the strongest.

As positive parents we would never want any of our kids to experience physical death. I know I want my kids to experience full and productive lives. If we allow rivalries to grow then we could set up these young minds to experience spiritual death. They could be so obsessed with trying to be number one that they can lose sight to what makes them unique.

When describing my kids I will give them each the title of number one, number two or number three. I use this to denote who was born first, who was born second and who was born third. As far as their talents and potential are concerned they are all number one. If one is having a problem in which the other one excels in, I encourage the one who is excelling to help the other.

It is my opinion that sibling rivalries can disrupt a family. As positive parents we must discourage this behavior. We must show that our differences are to be celebrated not used as tools to hold one another down.




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