All posts by ShaziaK

Lockdown Drama

In March 2020, lockdown gave us a big fat slap in the face. Covid-19 reared its ugly head and sent us spinning into oblivion. Since then we’ve had a depressing cocktail of restrictions, dramatically impacting the way that we live, work and interact. Families have found themselves coexisting like never before, resulting in an abundant supply of lockdown drama.

Firstly, let’s talk about the horrors of home schooling. Helping your kids with their homework occasionally is one thing, but being responsible for their entire school day is a flipping nightmare. I started off well, with designated work spaces for Flump and Luddoo and a healthy supply of stationary, but it soon went downhill.  Who wants to spend their entire day running between kids sorting out technical issues, printing off copious amounts of worksheets, explaining algebra and the difference between the past perfect, past continuous and past perfect continuous tense? Not me, I can assure you. Not to mention providing satisfactory snack and lunch options every goddam day (without gratitude) AND trying to encourage the monsters to engage in some form of physical exercise (playing Nintendo doesn’t count apparently). And let’s not discuss Luddoo, who insisted that I sit next to him every day, Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9am-3.30pm because he was “scared” of online learning. I mean, seriously, it was not even remotely fun. This, combined with the fact that Flump had her 11+ to contend with, nearly broke me. It was an absolute nightmare and I still shudder thinking about it.

Home schooling horror…

Then there’s the horror of being with your partner 24/7. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this is potentially a recipe for marital disaster. I’m not being funny, but when I married the Old Git, I didn’t sign up to him being around me all day long. He’s not been into the office for 13 months. That’s 13 month of him asking what’s for lunch every day, 13 months of him knowing and commenting on my every move, 13 months of him thinking he is now an expert on all things domestic, 13 months of him leaving dirty dishes in the sink and 13 months of him throwing his socks in every conceivable corner of the house. One unexpected benefit of him being at home, however, is that he has sorted out the garden. It began very badly with him butchering every bush in sight, pulling out all the plants and spending a small fortune on random, unnecessary gardening equipment. It was excruciating to watch and he didn’t take it very well when I gave him, what I consider to be, “constructive” feedback. However, thankfully, there was a method to his heavy-handed madness, and now the garden looks charming. Move aside Alan Titchmarsh.

New lockdown hobby for the Old Git

Lockdown also put an end to all things social. At first, there was a flurry of activity with zoom calls and zoom parties but after a while they lost their shine. Half the time I couldn’t hear what any of my friends were saying as we were all shouting over each other excitedly, then there were the technical issues, plus it doesn’t really equate to a night out when you have your kids barging in telling you they need a poo or howling that they hate their sibling. It’s just not the same.  I especially miss eating out with friends. To begin with, I had a burst of Nigella-inspired enthusiasm and would spend much of my time planning and executing new and exciting culinary creations, taking photos of every single dish for Instagram. But after while I got sick of the taste of my own food, not to mention the disgusted faces of my children every time I presented them with my culinary efforts. It’s not exactly motivating.

Just call me Nigella…

As lockdown starts to ease, I welcome the longer, brighter days, when we no longer have to walk in the pouring rain for daily exercise, and are able to connect with friends and family. As much as I love my brood, I would quite like to see people I’m not responsible for feeding. And if anybody tells me that spending time at home, imprisoned with their husband and kids for a year, has been a special “bonding process” or anything naff like that, they are going to get a major eye roll from me. Most of us are not designed to be confined to the four walls of our homes. We need human contact and human connection, as do our kids. I look forward to brighter times and a more harmonious home.

Kids Love to Eavesdrop

Children are naturally inquisitive. Many a time I’ve been left red-faced by the very public, unfiltered questions asked by my duo, such as “Why is that man so fat?” or “Why does that woman have a beard?” Kids learn about the world around them by asking questions, albeit at inappropriate times. But lately I’ve noticed a more worrying development with my ten year old daughter. Flump loves to eavesdrop. She soaks it all in, listens to every word when we are unaware, and then regurgitates it weeks, if not months later, much to my horror and astonishment.  

kids love to eavesdrop
The look you get when your kid says something they shouldn’t….

I remember first being stunned when Flump repeated a phone conversation I’d had with my friend MONTHS earlier about the potential dangers of travelling in South America on her own. She brought it up casually at a completely random time. No warning. No context. Just word for word repeat mode. I had no clue she had been listening and only remember her walking in and out of the room once during my conversation. No harm done, this time. But the second time round she decided to repeat something of a more delicate nature to a group of her friends. Crap. Which was then passed on by those kids to their parents. Double crap. You can imagine the damage limitation that had to be done there! On both occasions, I had no idea Flump had been listening in on my conversations. And let’s just say, it was a rude awakening.

Many of Flump’s friends also love to eavesdrop. Kids of this age appear to be magnetically drawn towards adult conversations. The other day, I stopped to have a chat with one of Flump’s teachers and I could clearly see two of her classmates silently hovering in the vicinity, zoning in on our conversation. Their tiny ears pricked up as they eagerly awaited a juicy snippet of information. Now I’m wiser. Even the most innocuous passing comment can be absorbed by little ears and reproduced/distorted in the most explosive way.

Let this be a cautionary tale. If you don’t want an information leak, zip it up in front of the kids. Even if you don’t think they are listening, THEY WILL BE. Even if you don’t think it’s controversial, IT WILL BE, once regurgitated. Any conversation about anyone your kids know should be had when they are not in the room or at least 25 metres away. Kids have razor sharp hearing when it suits them.

There will, of course, be some people who say that adults shouldn’t engage in conversations in the first place that they wouldn’t want repeated. But that is, quite frankly, self-righteous fantasy. It’s human nature to discuss issues and share problems (I’m not talking about malicious gossip but regular day to day matters that come up). We can’t just sit and chat about the weather all day long. The more realistic solution to a potentially embarrassing revelation is to keep our adult conversations for trusted adult ears only. But do watch out for the little gremlins…they can often be found lurking in corners, quietly and dangerously waiting for their next golden nugget of information. And trust me, it will come back to bite you on the derrière.  

How do you Deal with Another Person’s Naughty Child?

Picture the scene. Somebody’s little angel has slapped your child around the face or punched him unapologetically. Or perhaps they’ve been rude or have blurted out profanities. Perhaps they’ve ignored your polite requests to stop trashing the house or even worse, placed themselves or others in danger. What do you do? How do you deal with another person’s naughty child and is it ever acceptable to discipline them?

This is undoubtedly a parenting minefield with many conflicting and impassioned views. Let’s face it, nobody likes the idea of somebody else stepping in to discipline their child. It feels like a personal attack on you, your parenting and precious offspring. It unleashes the raging lioness within. There are some who say it’s never appropriate to discipline another person’s child, but can such a blanket statement really be made?

It’s OK for me to discipline my child, but should anybody else?

The verb ‘to discipline’ means to train someone to obey rules or a code of behaviour. Most people I’ve spoken to are comfortable with disciplining somebody else’s child, if the parent is not around, particularly if they are in their care or home. Of course that wouldn’t entail yelling at them full pelt (as you would with your own cherished child) but it might include some firm words or a caution. After all, if you are the only adult in the scenario, somebody has to make it clear where the boundaries lie. To me this is uncontroversial, as long as the child is spoken to in a fair and calm way.

The problem arises when the parent of the offending child is present whilst the misdemeanour takes place, but doesn’t do anything to address it. No apology, no taking the child by the scruff of the neck to suitably tick him off.  Nothing. What do you do then? Some would say you should not intervene and just remove your child from the situation. That is definitely an option. But I have to say, if there’s one thing that enrages me, it’s the bystander parent who just watches on as their child wreaks havoc. In those circumstances, if the parent has been given ample opportunity to address the situation, but has chosen not to, we have a problem. Whilst I appreciate it’s not ideal for me to tell your child to back off, nor is it ideal for my child to be at the receiving end of a slap, punch or insult. I have to think about what my child is learning and the messaging that they receive if another child is permitted to behave in that way towards them and nobody intervenes.  In those circumstances I would tell the child, very calmly, that what they had said or done is not very kind and that we should all try to be nice to each other. That’s it. Personally, I don’t think that such an intervention is too confronting but I appreciate that some parents might not like it.

Similarly, you may be in a scenario where the misbehaving child’s parent is present but hasn’t witnessed the behaviour. My own view is, if you think it necessary, it’s acceptable to approach the other parent and relay what has happened in a non-judgemental and non-accusatory way. The key is all in the delivery. It’s then up to them what they do about it. I wouldn’t, however, then engage in a verbal spat about the importance of good behaviour or discipline, if they choose to do nothing. That would be the point at which I walk away, knowing that I’ve at least called out the bad behaviour.

I don’t think it’s anyone’s job to punish another person’s child if they misbehave –that is down to the parent. However I do think it’s acceptable to intervene and correct another child’s behaviour, if your own child is impacted and the need arises. But I would caution that this be done with kindness as none of us know the struggles that other families face. Obviously with my own kids it’s a totally different story. I can be as shouty as I like, bulge at the eyes and stomp around furiously, whilst lecturing them about bad behaviour and issuing menacing threats about confiscating the iPad. Indeed, threats form the bedrock of successful parenting. The more menacing the better, I say. But only with your own kids. Obviously.

Marriage Fight Club

The Old Git and I are blessed to have the most zen-like, tranquil, cordial, non-confrontational relationship ever. That’s a lie. OBVIOUSLY. We’ve been married for nearly thirteen years, and anyone who smugly tells you they never fight is lying or delusional. Marital fights are the norm. They are an integral part of the marriage experience. In fact, some might say they enhance marriage by providing a healthy outlet for emotional expression! Obviously it depends on how your fight. Effing and blinding uncontrollably…not so healthy. But arguing in a constructive, albeit irritated, way does not spell the end of a relationship.

Happily ever after?

So, what are the things that couples argue over?  Money, family, children, intimacy, time and chores seem to be the primary issues that experts talk about. It got me thinking about my most heated and recurring spats with the Old Git and I’ve narrowed it down to the following three:

  • In the car. This a given for us. Be it on a family day out, date night, en route to a wedding or a mundane trip to the supermarket, we will always have a bust up in the car. It will be over something trivial, normally when one of us is being a back-seat driver, but it inevitably ends in a stroppy exchange and then some passive aggressive silent treatment. Standard.
  • Household chores. Thirteen years on, and the Old Git still resists putting the bins out. I don’t know why, as it has consistently been part of his job description. But we still fight about it and he has a particular aversion to putting the food bin out. The best fight we ever had in public was over the bins, when we were newlyweds, standing in the driveway in front of the neighbours. It was magical. Bin rage is real.
  • Disciplining the children. In every family there’s the good cop/bad cop dynamic. In our household, the Old Git is the bee’s knees who gets a standing ovation every time he walks in through the front door. The kids love him. But of course they do as he plays with them wholeheartedly and rarely tells them off. That would be part of my job description. I’m the taskmaster in their eyes, the meanie who makes them do homework, tidy their rooms, eat vegetables and go to bed on time. That inevitably means the Old Git and I clash. I anticipate this to continue until the kids turn eighteen.

Of course we argue over lots of other things but these are our most frequent bust up scenarios.  Whilst (non-abusive) arguing might be fine in a marriage, I’d say persistent nagging can annihilate it. Constant nit-picking and criticism can drain the life out of a relationship and just makes the other person feel resentful, defensive and inadequate. We all nag some of the time, but let’s face it, too much nagging is a killjoy.

None of us dream of spending our days arguing with our other halves, but it’s a human reality, shows that we are imperfect and that we have to work at our relationships. In fact, it can be beneficial as it releases tension, increases understanding by the sharing of emotions and helps to develop patience. You could say it’s character building! Ultimately, any emotional expression (of the non-abusive and non-nagging kind) that helps couples build understanding and work towards a resolution, has to be positive. Remember that, next time your partner seriously ticks you off. It’s all part of the bonding process.

Lips, Lashes and Lenses

Many people say that beauty is about biology. Thick luscious hair, bright eyes, clear skin, good teeth and symmetrical features have always represented good health and vitality. This in turn suggests good genetics which makes a more person desirable. It’s all about choosing a mate to get jiggy jiggy with and to share your genes with. But there’s no denying that beauty ideals also vary across cultures and evolve with time. Thanks to social media, we are exposed to more diverse images of beauty, which is obviously a good thing. But it’s also presenting an illusion of perfection and some pretty unrealistic images of beauty. I call it the ‘TOWIE’ effect (taken from the reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex – TOWIE) where everything is bigger and more exaggerated. Alternatively you could call it ‘Kardashian’ culture. The lips, lashes and lenses are taking over our beauty landscape.

How many makeup videos have you seen on YouTube or Instagram where, in the course of the tutorial, the person has become totally unrecognisable? There’s contouring, sculpting, highlighting and who knows what else, leading to a complete transformation. And then there are the aesthetic adverts for Botox and fillers. Whilst I’m all for feeling and looking good, I’m beginning to think the doll like lashes, coloured contact lenses, pouty lips and contoured faces are a conspiracy against women, propagated by our very own kind! They are promoting these fabricated and exaggerated standards of beauty that simply aren’t real, and are only reachable if you spend a lot of time and money.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

i see it all around me, not just on social media. There is a definite shift towards women pursuing these high maintenance beauty ideals in their everyday lives. And sadly, a lot of the time, it’s very young women or girls who feel most compelled to follow these standards. It’s sad because the pressure to conform is immense amongst generation Z and millennials, and is fuelling an obsession with body image. Research from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery found the number of women aged between 19-34 having  Botox and fillers has risen by 41% since 2011. Why does your average nineteen year old feel the need to have Botox? I get it for older women, who many want to iron out a few wrinkles here and there (never say never, I say), but why should a teenager feel it’s necessary in order to look good? Why are we promoting this manufactured Barbie look which in turn promotes an over reliance on products and procedures? How can this be good for a young person’s self-esteem and self-worth?

The stuff of dreams?

Wanting to look beautiful is nothing new or unnatural, and we are all perfectly entitled to make ourselves look attractive. But we are currently in the throes of a body image obsession that focuses on creating a doll-like perfection. I hope this current trend for lips, lashes and lenses fizzles out soon so that young women can stop trying to “fix” themselves and embrace the notion that our imperfections are beautiful too.

Does being in your forties suck?

A few years ago, when I turned forty, I was hi-fiving myself and walking with the sass and swagger of Beyoncé. I didn’t give a ‘you know what’ and felt a renewed sense of confidence and fearlessness. ‘Life begins at forty,’ they told me. ‘It’s all about the ‘naughty forties!’  they said. Firstly, it’s not that naughty.  Secondly, life definitely changes in your forties – it may well be flipping awesome at times, but it can also give you some almighty kicks in the teeth. It’s a transformative time and you do feel more self-assured, however, I also think it’s one of the most challenging decades to go through. I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade, but sometimes being in your forties sucks.

Staring my forties straight in the face!

It’s a time when many people face consuming and conflicting responsibilities. They may still have young kids to care and pay for as well as elderly/ sick parents to support. Many people will experience the loss of a parent and may have difficult family decisions to make.  Financial responsibilities may rocket as most people will still have mortgages and high levels of expenditure. There may be job insecurity, health issues, divorce, the list is literally endless. With all of these challenges, comes a multitude of conflicting emotions; anxiety, grief, despair, stress and guilt. It’s a flipping minefield of a decade and will test us in every possible way.

Many of the people around me have lost their loved ones or are going through marriage breakdowns, both of which are major life-changing events, and yet when I discuss this with my friends, we all just shrug with a morbid stoicism and understanding that this is simply the stage of life we are at. It’s part and parcel of being in our forties.

It’s also interesting to note that there is research suggesting that happiness through adulthood is in fact U-shaped. Irrespective of external stress factors, the ‘happiness curve’ means life satisfaction begins to fall as we age, hitting a slump in our forties, and then picks up again  in our fifties. It is essentially saying there is a natural slump in our forties, irrespective of  any major life events or stresses, simply due to the passing of time. Marvellous! As if we need any more reason to think our forties are going to suck.

However (and here’s my silver lining), despite the many curve balls that we will face in this decade, be it in our personal relationships, family, work, finances or just the natural midlife slump, there will be growth and resilience. It’s a period of intense emotion and transformation, and all of these challenges help us evolve into more profound, compassionate and resilient beings.

So in conclusion, being in your forties doesn’t suck per se. But you are more likely to face a range of challenges in this decade that will definitely suck. The key is to realise there is also joy and gratitude to be found, and that through these midlife trials, you will grow and strengthen. In fact, you might even surprise yourself.

When did Giving Birth become a Competition?

When you have a baby it’s a rite of passage to share every single, horrific detail of the birth with at least some of your close friends. We have a morbid fascination with the pain, the drama, the suffering, the stitches….as women, we love to talk about it. But it’s not just friends that ask for the details..sometimes random people; friends of friends, neighbours or school mums will ask about the labour. Now, it’s no bad thing to share birth stories, it can be therapeutic for the new mum and can help other women prepare for childbirth (not to mention terrify them), but since when did giving birth become a competition?

Trying to smile through the exhaustion… moments after giving birth to Flump.

Some women take great pride in stating how excruciatingly painful their labour was. The more extreme the pain and suffering, the greater the honour. Unless you have endured some kind of physical horror or ordeal, you cannot wear this badge of honour. I was told twice by random people that I hadn’t been through a “proper labour” because I’d had an epidural.  One of the commentators was a man which particularly enraged me, given that he’d never have to experience pushing out a baby from his nether regions. The cheek of it. The other was a friend of a friend who had apparently been in labour for days and refused to take any pain relief. Eye roll. Congratulations on being such a martyr. Whilst you were screeching and rolling around in pain, I had a relatively calm and civilised labour thank you very much. Courtesy of my friend, the epidural.

There is also a new trend emerging when it comes to birth stories, with many women declaring that they had a wonderfully tranquil  natural water birth at home. Idyllic photos emerge on social media of women beaming their way through labour in the most zen-like way. It’s all peace and serenity. Whilst I’m happy for those women who don’t experience the pain and complications of childbirth, I worry about the message that is being conveyed. It almost implies that unless you have had the idyllic natural birth you are somehow less of a woman, that parenting may come less naturally to you. It all feels a bit smug and superior.

There is something about child birth that makes some women very competitive. Perhaps it’s just a sign of things to come with people competing at every stage of parenting; the first word, the first step, the first maths equation! Ultimately, every mother has a birth story to tell and none is more or less valid. Labour rarely goes according to plan and we need to have more empathy and less judgement towards each other.  Labour doesn’t define us, it’s the way that we raise our children once they are here that has far more importance and will help define our legacy.

Book Club

I used to think book clubs were for middle aged anoraks, who were socially awkward, a little dull and had little else to talk about. A group of random people over-intellectualising everything and competing over who could make the most profound statement. Yawn. However, I’ve come to realise this couldn’t be further from the truth. Book clubs are all the rage, with multiple celebrity endorsements and social influencers reviving this longstanding tradition. In fact, book clubs are positively thriving.

Two years ago I decided to join a book club. I have always loved reading but after years of studying and practicing law, I found my love of reading dwindling. Let’s just say, analysing a thick  statute book cover to cover can sort of suck the joy out of reading. Once your motivation goes, so does the habit, and then you’re stuffed. Life takes over and instead of reading for pleasure you end up watching Netflix and checking Facebook. Anyway, joining my book club has been a revelation and I love it.

Book club meetup!
Book club meetup!

Firstly my passion for reading has been revived. We meet up once a month at a member’s house to discuss a book chosen by them. Every month we rotate which means each member gets to choose a book and host a meeting. I’ve read books that I wouldn’t ordinarily choose. Genres out of my comfort zone, and more often than not, I’ve been mesmerised (apart from one particular book about an alien that sucked me dry and shall remain nameless). Book clubs expand your horizons and motivate you to try new things.

And we don’t just sit around and eat cake. Admittedly snacks do enhance the book club experience, I’m not going to lie, but a proper book club focuses on discussion and exchanging ideas. We have a commander-in-chief, who set up the book club and steers us in the right direction when we lose focus and get distracted by pastries/cake/muffins (we’re only human, after all). We even Skype call authors and have full and frank discussions with them about their literary creations. It’s a wonderful way to gain new insights.

Catching up on my book club reading….

The book club is also a social forum for bringing people together with a shared interest and developing new friendships. It’s an addition to my social calendar that I look forward to and enjoy. We’ve not only created a network that is fun and stimulating but one that supports. We all know that life is full of unpredictable challenges and between us we have faced divorce, illness and bereavement, and the book club has been there to offer comfort and strength.

Ultimately a book club is what you make of it (rule number 1: finish the  book) and will vary in style, structure and demographics. But once you find one that is right for you, it will enrich your life and quite possibly reinvigorate a lost passion. Plus……did I mention the snacks?

School Disco

Flump has been invited to a school disco at the local boys’ school. Yes, that’s right, a disco WITH BOYS (insert screaming face emoji). I’m still trying to digest this disturbing turn of events and can honestly say I am mortified. She has just turned nine, attends a single sex school and most of her parties involve arts and crafts (knitting, pottery and the like), eating pizza or going to the cinema. Long may that continue, I say, as none of us in this household are ready for the school disco phase of life. I didn’t anticipate it starting until later on, at least not until senior school, but it seems I am out of date. Discos are all rage. Apparently.

What's wrong with a cupcake party?
What’s wrong with a cupcake party?

The controversial disco in question is for children aged between 8 -13. Apart from the fact that there will be teenage boys there (shudder), the event is being held in the evening, making it feel even more like a proper disco. At least if it was a “daytimer” I could pretend to myself that it was just like any other party, but the “disco” label is causing me anxiety.

I’m not sure I want to introduce this social ritual and all its complexities to my daughter so early on in life. I have no doubt that it will be perfectly innocent, with most boys skidding across the room and doing arm farts on one side of the hall, whilst the girls bust some moves excitedly amongst themselves on the other side. I’m sure it will be fun, but the thought of my daughter being in a scenario which is typically meant for teenagers, awkwardly navigating the social dynamics between the sexes, is making me tense.

Check me out with my Tina Turner hairstyle :)
Check me out with my Tina Turner hairstyle.

I remember going to my one and only school disco at the age of 11. I’m not quite sure how my overprotective, traditional Asian parents allowed me to go, but what I do recall is wearing my very best  black and white tutu dress, having a Tina Turner hairstyle and awkwardly dancing with a boy called Richard Atwood. It was embarrassing and  my first ever “slow dance” (not really as we stood about a metre apart, but we thought it was at the time). I remember feeling very conscious of how I looked and danced. I felt very grown up.

And I think that’s my issue. I don’t want my daughter, at the tender age of 9, to feel that she needs to imitate adult behaviour. Nor do I want her to be overly self-conscious about the way that she looks, or have a mindset based on appealing to the opposite sex. We already live in an over sexualised culture, where children are exposed to images and ideas that place great pressure on them to conform.  I know the time will come when my daughter will inevitably be interested in boys and attending discos, but for now, I’d rather preserve her childhood and let her enjoy the freedom of not giving a damn. So it’s a NO from me. The princess shall not be going to the ball or school disco……..yet.

Unrequited Sibling Love

Ludoo has started following his sister around like an overexcited, bouncing puppy. He hangs on to her every word, begs her to play with him and copies everything she does…much to her irritation. Luddo is five and Flump is nine. She clearly has better things to do than to hang out with her needy baby brother. He, on the other hand, can think of nothing more fantastic. We have a classic case of unrequited sibling love in our household.

Flump with her unwanted sidekick

Take scenario one – It’s Saturday morning and Ludoo starts shouting at the top of his voice, “My sister, where are you? I love you! Where are you?” My heart melts, silence ensues, followed by the sound of Flump slamming her bedroom door. Poor Ludoo.

Let us consider scenario two – A conversation in the car takes place as follows: Ludoo says, “I love you my big sister, I love you.” Flump ignores him. Ludoo repeats, “I really love you.” Flump remains silent and unmoved. I ask Flump, “Isn’t that nice? Did you hear your brother?” and Flump replies, “Yes, I heard him.”  I then ask her optimistically, “Is there anything you want to say back to him?” Flump reluctantly slurs, “Thanks.” Ludoo remains undeterred and continues to exclaim, “I just love you, I really do.” End of conversation.

Of course I can’t help but feel sorry for my poor little boy, but strangely enough he doesn’t seem discouraged by the repeated rejection. Occasionally Flump will give him a shred of attention, particularly if it entails giving instruction, which Ludoo will eagerly comply with.

The sibling dynamic is an interesting one. It constantly evolves and has many dimensions. I don’t for one second think Flump will continuously reject her brother’s affections. I’m sure, at some point in her life, she will start to appreciate him. And I’m also sure, Ludoo will, one day, lose interest in his sister. Either way, the sibling relationship is never static.

The Khan siblings many moons ago (which one am I?)
The Khan siblings many moons ago (which one am I?)

In fact, sibling relationships are normally the longest-lasting family ties that we have. They are with us for longer than anyone else throughout our lives and will see us through marriage, divorce, aging and death/bereavement. A positive and strong sibling relationship will help cushion us against the blows of life, and that’s why it’s so important for me, as a parent, to nurture that in my own children.

Of course sibling relationships aren’t always easy in adult life. The close history that siblings share can also create tension, and often differences will arise over family related matters. Or sometimes siblings will just drift apart because we don’t invest in these relationships in the same way that we do other relationships. We tend to take siblings for granted.

Ultimately I have no control over how Flump and Ludoo will interact later on in life. All that I can do is set the foundations for their relationship now by reiterating the importance of family and respect. I try to set up activities which they can enjoy together and which foster teamwork. I try to set an example by remaining close to my own siblings and maintaining regular contact. I hope, with time, Flump will become more receptive to her brother’s affections and realise just how lucky she is to have such an adoring younger sibling. He may annoy the heck out of her now, but in years to come, he could well be her anchor should life ever become stormy.