Breaking our Heart

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by jenf, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. jenf

    jenf Well-Known Member

    Our boys are in a new day camp this year and we put them in the same bunk. We've always had one more social (Sam) and one who is slower to warm (Luke), but in the end they've always created a collective of friends and their own friends. Today, Luke told us that his brother "tried to trick me and run away". Sam said he "wanted his own playtime with friends." Luke told me that b/c it was only a week into camp, he was taking his time to get to know others so wanted to be with his brother until he was comfortable. Sam said he wanted Luke to stop following him.

    Both of their feelings are perfectly reasonable, but Sam really broke our heart. We want them to always look out for eachother first. His brother should never be excluded. The same rules apply to both of them.

    Thoughts and recommendations on this one?
  2. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    You don't say how old they are, but is it really Luke's responsibility to take care of his brother? I am working at a day camp, and my boys are together for the first time, ever, and I was happy to hear today that they are making different friends within the group, but they have also been to camp since they were 4 (they are now 8). But, on Tuesday, I was on recess duty when a 4 year old was brought to me crying--his brother is in the same group, so is 5 or 6 (the group is 5/6 year olds). He wanted to play with his brother, but his brother wanted to play in the stream and he didn't. I called his brother over to give him a hug, and tell him it was OK, but then sent the brother back to play. It is not his responsibility to care for and entertain his brother. The younger boy needs to find his own friends. Is there anyway you can split the boys up? It may be that without the comfort of his brother, Sam will rise on his own star rather than trying to follow in his brothers' shadow.
    3 people like this.
  3. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I tend to agree with Sharon. Is taking care of his brother really his job? I know that we tend to want our kids to look out for each other, but they also need to develop their own friends and their own space. I would fuss about Sam tricking Luke to get away. But Luke really needs to realize that his brother is not his own private property and that his brother will play with other kids.

  4. 4jsinPA

    4jsinPA Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Oh thats so tough and that would completely break my heart!!!

    I would encourage Luke to go out and make new friends. Maybe talk to someone there that can help encourage that along? I have always had the security of knowing mine would look out for each other but the day will come I guess for all of us where they want a little independence. I hope you are able to convince him to be more social on his own!
  5. Moodyzblu

    Moodyzblu Well-Known Member

    I would feel really bad too .. mostly because I LOVE the relationship my boys have with each other right now. I can't tell you how many times I day I am in awe of them and their love for each other .. it would break my heart if I thought that closeness was dissolving.
    But one can understand as they get older they might feel the need to break away from that and venture out and see what its like having other friendships. Unfortunately, it sounds like a good plan to one .. but not the other. I think the others are right and try to encourage him to seek other friends. But I would also talk to the other and let him know how his brother is feeling and maybe he could find a better way to let his brother down. Although, I know its harder for children to do than adults .. they don't always know the right approach.
  6. momof5

    momof5 Well-Known Member

    I am the odd mom out. I believe siblings should come before friends. Yes, being their own people and making their own friends is very important but your family should be first. Keep encouraging your quiter one to make friends faster and easier and keep encouraging your more social one to help his brother along.
  7. TwinxesMom

    TwinxesMom Well-Known Member

    My girls are really close but they each have girls they play at school that are their best friends. Too much twin time makes them very cranky. How would you feel if you had to be with a person 24/7 with out reprieve? Even if you love that person they will get on your nerves.

    I would tell Sam that he had hurt luke's feeling and need not to say those thing to him but that you understand that sam needs space and time to play with his own friends
  8. Utopia122

    Utopia122 Well-Known Member

    I think this is a slippery slope. On one hand, no it isn't his responsibility and eventually they will have to go out on their own, but on the other hand, he's family, and really we should all strive to take care of each other (family speaking), or that's at least what I try to instill in my kids. I think that if you force children to always accept their siblings in every situation, you will cause them to resent being with them, but somehow empathy for each other above friends should be built in. My opinion is that in the future, give them the option of picking separate camps, or if they pick separate camps, then they have to stay with separate groups (if that's possible). However, I feel that Sam needs to know that there are better ways of handling that situation then to trick his brother, and maybe this would be a great time to sit down and talk to them both about how to better handle situations where they don't want to play with each other.
  9. jenf

    jenf Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the insights everyone. I forgot to mention they are 7 years old and have always been very close. I remember when they were younger people on this forum would always say it doesn't really get easier, just different. Well this is one of our toughest challenges yet! It happened again today at camp.

    We can clearly see that Sam needs some space, and we are focused on coaching Luke on his social skills so he can venture out on his own. We did decide to separate them this fall in school for the first time and feel good about that decision. That being said, we still feel strongly about family first, and yet we don't want them to resent eachother in any way.

    We've decided to employ a new strategy for the rest of camp. Our goal is to strike a balance where we meet both of their needs. We noticed two main areas where there is potential hurt feelings - sitting on the bus and free swim time. We are going to start announcing in the morning things like "sit next to your brother day on the bus" or "find a new friend at free swim day". Everyday will be different. We think they need some guidance at the beginning, and then gradually can let them make those decisions on their own once we know they are taking eachother into account.

    Cross your fingers and we'll keep you posted!
  10. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    Jen, if you haven't spoken to the director at camp, and the counselors, I would do so and come up with some strategies for them to help you with as well. There is nothing worse than being a camp counselor and being in the dark when there are issues going on with the kids. For example: I had a new boy in camp this week in my group. He would "check out" of any activity that he wasn't involved in as the leader. He would also constantly "space out". On Thursday, I found out that he is a twin (his sister is with the girls' group), I also found out on Friday that he has a point system at home, that after speaking off hand with the mom, found out that that came from school. So, after being frustrated with his behavior for a week, in the past day I found out that he has attention issues that he can't control (that is the only reason individual children get a point system in K), and there is a twin dynamic going on. Friday, was the first day that he actively participated in everything and had a great day!

    My point is that by letting the camp know that you are aware of the issue and working on it at home, they may also come up with ways to help the boys along, like separating them whenever they split the group, but doing it in a way that it doesn't appear to be on purpose (counting off 1,2, etc. so that they "end up" in different groups, teams, etc.)

    Good luck!
  11. cricket1

    cricket1 Well-Known Member

    When my twoWe talked about were in preschool/daycare we had some of this. We talked about always being respectful and not being mean or letting others be mean, but some times everyone "needs a break" to play with others. I also spoke to my more reserved child and we talked about how to talk to others, ask to play with them and gave him the challenge to "meet" and play with one new child that day. Then we would talk about it when he got home. But we did talk about how to do this too. We still do, he is still more reserved and takes it like people do not like him, but we talk, and this is who he is. We are just trying to help it to be easier for him. I would also touch base with his counselor. They should be made aware and be able to help ease the situation.
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