This week’s post is brought to you courtesy of 7 year old Big Bear. I asked him to write about what it’s like when you get an adopted brother. Here, in his own words, is what Big Bear had to say:
When I got Little Bear as a brother, I hated it. Mum and Dad were paying no attention to me. Little Bear was always saying shut up, stupid and idiot to me.
When I play football with Dad, Little Bear always picks the ball up and runs off with it. It is hard to have a little brother.
When they get to 4 they grow and are a lot nicer and more sensible. They keep you company. They do get good.
Then I asked Big Bear if he has any advice for other children who might be going through adopting a sibling. This is what he wrote:
If you get one, be nice and behave well then they will be nice like you. You need to train them to be like you and do stuff properly.
I think it’s interesting to hear Big Bear’s perspective. I wonder how his thoughts will change over time. I will try to remember to ask him the same questions next year and see how he feels about everything then. Maybe at that point I will be able to ask Little Bear what he thinks too.
Big Bear’s perception of the early days differs from ours: for one we felt we were bending over backwards to make sure everybody had all the attention they needed but Big Bear evidently felt the difference between getting all the attention and having to share it quite keenly. The first weeks are definitely a time when siblings need extra support.
I also think it’s interesting that Big Bear sees himself as having quite an influential role in shaping Little Bear’s behaviour. I think we have probably encouraged him to feel that being a big brother is an important job but I didn’t realise he approached it so earnestly. It is true though that he has never responded to aggression with aggression or to name calling with name calling. He has risen above it and shown Little Bear that there are other ways to behave. Little Bear absolutely adores his big brother and does look up to him now. He wouldn’t ever purposefully hurt him anymore and is often very upset if he does so by accident.
I definitely think that adoption is a family undertaking and everyone has a role to play in its success. Siblings often bear the brunt of the changes taking place and amidst the chaos we still need to give them the space they need to air their thoughts and concerns.
Well done Big Bear, you really are a fantastic big brother.