I’d like to point out that, for most of the time, my three teens get on. They would probably disagree with me because teens are pretty much in a constant state of disagreement with their parents but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that they mostly do. However, there are moments that are so outrageously hilarious, mainly in the way they speak to each other, that I wonder if such behaviour is learnt and whether I’m to blame or whether it is just pure sibling bickering.
“What even is that look?” says one outraged teen to the other, having chosen to put on a totally different song to the one requested by other teen whilst in the car. Well this is going to be a fun journey. Thanks girls. Oh, and thank you Bluetooth for allowing teens to control the music centre from the backseat of the car – you clearly don’t have children!
“Er, I didn’t even look at you!” says song request failure teen to the other.
“Er, well evidently you did because I saw your eyes do that double blink thing that you so annoyingly do.” says DJ teen.
“Poppet” I say to the accused, as I have this instilled thing called knowing my children.
“OMG I didn’t even look at her! She’s just saying that!”
OK, up until this point, club fanatic teen’s boom boom boom tune has been blasting full volume from the speakers. You can just imagine the decibel level of the argument then and just how much of the song has actually been heard. So Miss Music Aficionado’s retaliation should come as no surprise.
“You’re so just saying that so as to continue talking over my favourite song” cue total silence from stereo as song is stopped and, oh you guessed it, played from the beginning. The fury from music deprived teen is now at boiling point. Dare to speak again so as to have song played repeatedly until no one utters one word through its entirety? Or to try and win this argument? It suffices to say that the threat of the song being played repeatedly allowed it one more play. Phew! In fact, I quite like house music so was happy for a boom boom boom repeat but hey the peace from the argument was a small price to pay!
So, normal sibling bickering or learnt behaviour? Debbie Pincus, a family and relationship therapist, says that it’s what siblings do. She goes on to say that “siblings go at each other for many reasons: everything from boredom to jealousy to habit, to basic personality and temperament differences” and the reason they do is apparently because parents tolerate the behaviour. Goodness, I’m not disagreeing but there is no way I’m getting involved in a full scale teen argument when I’m driving at National speed limit (I promise!) down the outside lane of a motorway! I jest, Pincus has some excellent advice about how to empower parents with regard to managing bickering. She gives pointers on setting ground rules, advises on giving space and discusses conflict/resolution methods. The link to her article is here https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/6-ways-to-stop-sibling-bickering-and-rivalry/
So, because I’m less than happy to start attributing their behaviour to mimicking, I’m in total agreement that siblings do just bicker! I’m not analysing whether I’ve ever shot back at my husband a “why are you looking at me like that?” or a “what? you saying my bum looks big?” or perhaps even a “knew you didn’t like my hair!” all from a wife observed husband glance. A normal healthy dose of sibling bickering is so much easier to swallow … just saying!
They can be the best of friends too!