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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When Kids Blame Siblings

Zac and I are home alone today, as we are every day while his Dad is at work, his Mom is in Illinois working at their frozen yogurt and smoothie shop (FroYo Creations), and his brother and sister are at school.

This morning Zac was picking his nose and was fascinated by how he could get spots of blood on the toilet paper. Yes, I know – disgusting, but nose-picking is somehow fascinating to three-year-olds. Though you might suspect that the reason for the blood was because he was picking his nose, you would be wrong to think that Zac thinks the reason for the blood was because he was picking his nose.

Want to know why Zac thinks the blood appeared on the toilet paper?

Kaden, his five-year-old brother, did it. Zac said that Kaden had just punched him in the stomach and now he had blood coming out of his nose.

"Kaden isn't here," I reminded Zac.

"Yes he is."

"Kaden is at school."

"No, I just saw him do it. He punched me like this." Zac then punched himself in the stomach to prove to me that the reason he was getting blood out of his nose was because Kaden did it.

Was Zac afraid he would get in trouble for engaging in such disgusting behavior, or is he just so used to blaming Kaden for everything that blaming Kaden comes naturally?

Kaden is the middle child. Perhaps he is destined to be the one blamed for everything. I know in my own birth family, my sister Cindy was blamed for everything. It was her own fault – she set herself up for becoming "The Blamed One." After all, when older siblings discover younger siblings sneak into sugar bowls and then deny sneaking in sugar bowls, despite the fact that their mouths glisten with the crystal sweet substance, older siblings somehow file that information in their brains under the category, "Events to Remember When I Need Somebody to Blame."

Zac's situation and the memory of my little sister Cindy emptying the sugar bowl reminds me of another time when my mother told me I wrote my name on the wall. When my mother asked me who did it, I blamed Cindy, who wasn't in school yet and who didn't know how to write.

Blaming is something we should all outgrow. Unfortunately, for many of us, blame continues into adulthood.

Why do kids (and adults) blame? I highly recommend this excellent article on the subject, written by renowned child behavioral therapist, James Lehman, MSW, Child Outbursts: Why Kids Blame, Make Excuses and Fight When You Challenge Their Behavior.

Photo above is of Zac and Kaden.

By the way, as I post this in the living room, Zac is playing an iPhone game in the family room next to this room. He just yelled out, "You just made me lose." Apparently Kaden isn't his only target of blame.

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