It’s finally happened. After more than a month, one of your children is the “shining star” of the classroom. Unfortunately for me, when this happens, instead of being able to fully celebrate, I have to go back and forth between my kids, celebrating for one (but not too much) while placating the other (but not too much). Any failure in this system leads to tears. One cannot be too proud and happy, and one cannot be too sad and disappointed, but one must be both proud and happy and sad and disappointed…at the same time.
It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about someone in the family being deemed “specialer” than the other one, from an outside (and therefore, more authoritative) source.
“Could maybe you congratulate and gush about the one, while telling the other her time will come someday and shouldn’t we be excited for others when they do well?”
This is brand new information. Finally. Everything I’ve ever done has been wrong, and why didn’t I just think of this!
Here’s the thing. I think I utter some form of that phrase 20 billion times a day. When you have children close in age, and those children are, well, five, they seriously don’t give a fuck about learning to appreciate their counterparts. So I can say that until I’m blue in the face (and I do), and no fucks are given. Ever.
This is normal. ‘Buck up, kiddo’ doesn’t work with five year olds. It just doesn’t.
Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to them about this integral life lesson. You should and you have to.
The important part of this “solution” is to realize that parent/child talks almost never go down in Danny Tanner style. You’re never sitting on a flower-print bed spread, holding your preciously quiet daughter’s hand as her big, searching eyes trust your infinite wisdom, take in your advice and make a behavioral change.
That. Never. Happens. Not even once.
We just have to shout over their tears, screams, pouts and tantrums, hoping they hear at least a fragment of the lesson we’re trying to get through to them so that at some point, probably ten years from now, they begin to put the pieces together in a pattern, and finally realize that it’s okay when your sibling earns something that you didn’t.
Until then, have fun playing the game of ‘stop the twins (or siblings close in age) from killing each other or spontaneously combusting from the stress.
Also, start writing letters to the school about why they should discontinue the stupid Shining Star activity. There are other competitions that are better for this that the school also does, like hooploops for good behavior and going to the treasure box when you’ve amassed a certain number of those. That’s a better activity. Do that only. Thanks.