Raising kids is the greatest challenge any parent will ever face. I have the unique thrill of raising two boys that are only 14 months apart.
There are certainly some general statements you can make about raising kids. It is also fair to say that every parenting situation is unique. Raising my two boys is no exception.
So what is it like raising two boys?
Raising two boys, especially ones that are close in age, offers unique opportunities and challenges. As a parent, you often walk the fine line between peacemaker, deal broker, and facilitator. This is entirely dependent on how they are acting towards you and towards each other.
One of the unique challenges of raising two boys is how you manage and dissect their relationship with each other. It is incredible to see how quickly it can change from minute to minute.
They can go from mortal enemies to BFF’s at the drop of a hat. As a parent, it is often not clear when you should step in, and when you should let them figure things out on their own.
You can often use this dynamic to your benefit. This situation can come in handy when you are trying to get them to accomplish something…if you play your cards right.
As with all kids, the best lessons they learn are the ones they learn by doing on their own. Often you just need to be the guard rail that keeps them from getting in over their heads.
Raising two boys that are very close in age is all about finding the sweet spot. The place between managing their behavior and letting them figure it out on their own
The Unique Challenges of Raising Two Boys
There are tons of posts out there about parenting. I have a few myself. I am not writing that post here.
I want to talk about raising two boys. Two boys that are only 14 months apart.
This relationship is unique. The relationship each has with you. The relationship they have with each other. Most importantly, the relationship they have as a partnership with you as their parent.
I have broken this down into some of the most common scenarios I deal with:
- When they fight and will not stop
- When you are trying to get them both to accomplish the same thing
- When you are trying to get them to do different things
- How they learn from each other
I doubt raising two boys is any tougher or easier than any other type of parenting. Every situation has its unique challenges and opportunities.
When they fight and will not stop
This is a common one. It tends to happen later in the day when they have spent some time together.
The reason is usually not that important. It is one thing that is the most important thing you could imagine for them.
I like to try and let them work it out on their own. If that is not working, or it is turning into a physical fight, I then step in.
This is where your patience as a parent comes to the forefront when raising two boys. You might have had a long day yourself, and the last thing you want to hear is constant fighting.
I try to approach this by asking what the problem is. At their ages, it is usually pretty simple. I then ask equally simple questions to see if they can reach a solution on their own.
One example might be when they play a video game together. So the question might be, “should you be playing together if you are fighting about the game?
This is made more difficult in a game where they are competing against each other rather than working in tandem. So the issue is solved when I tell them if you keep fighting, you cannot play anymore.
Over time, they begin to learn that fighting over a video game is not in their best interest.
When You Are Trying to Get Them Both to Accomplish the Same Thing
This competition can cut both ways as a parent when raising two boys. Right now, like many of you I expect, I am having to home school my kids.
I have them work at the same time. Inevitably, they ask what the other one is doing.
This highlights the core of their relationship. Although they may fight, they want to be doing things together.
That is all well and good but they are at different stages of education. So they can do some things together, but their time is better served doing their own school work.
As an example, my older son is much better at spelling than my younger one. That makes sense given their age difference. As such, it is better they each work at their own level.
My solution is to have a fixed time they work. I like to do two or three 30 minute sessions per day. I tell them that if they keep asking, “what are we doing next?” or “what is my brother doing?” I will keep adding five minutes to our work time.
I try to stress to them that this is not meant as punishment. I want them to focus for 30 minutes-that’s it. Understand that this is a long time for kids this age!! They need to do this for their education, and I know that 30 minutes is about all the attention span I can expect.
How They Learn From Each Other
My best example of this when raising two boys goes back a few years. Even though they are 14 months apart, they both got potty trained at the exact same.
My theory on this? My oldest had to learn this on his own with no guidance except from his folks.
My youngest got to watch my oldest going through the same thing. Then you add in the same competition I talked about before and what do you know, they were potty trained.
It was amazing to see that once they realized that being potty trained was better than wearing a diaper, they picked it up very quickly. As they each saw the other getting praised for their accomplishments, it motivated them to do the same thing even more.
I just wrote about how they are learning to rollerblade. Since they both started at the same level, they are both learning at about the same pace.
The funny thing is they learn a lot more from each other than from me. Since they are both going through the exact same thing together, they can learn more from each other than from me.
They do this by doing and by speaking. One will try new things and then tell the other. The other watches and follows along learning as they go.
The Joys of Raising Two Boys
In re-reading this, it seems like a lot of it is me pitting them against each other. I don’t consciously try to do that, even though it does happen.
The reality is it would happen whether I did it or not. They fight with each other, they compete with each other, they confide with each other, and at the end of the day, they love each other (even if they will not admit it).
I always tell people that every day they get bigger, smarter, and stronger and every day…well, I am heading the other way. It is great to know they will have each other throughout their lives to learn from, to support each other, and to revel together in their accomplishments.