Last night at dinner our two year old did exceptionally well at eating everything on her plate. She willingly tried a new type of chicken, that I don't think the kids had before, and asked for seconds. She ate almost all of her broccoli, devoured her rice and polished off her applesauce. She had good manners and great behavior, earning her dessert.
Little C struggled. He didn't care for the chicken, but tried it any way. He ate some applesauce and licked a broccoli floret claiming that was his way of trying it. We had to urge him to eat the whole time and remind him of good table manners. He actually ended up pulling through and eating most of his plate earning him dessert as well.
I gave the kids their cookie and proclaimed to Little Miss that she was a rock star! I praised her good behavior and the fact that she ate her dinner so well and even tried new things. That's when a very disappointed Little C asked in a tiny voice, "what about me? Am I a rock star too?"
I told him "no." I explained why Sis was a rock star and that it didn't mean he wasn't awesome himself, it just meant he needs to have better behavior to get the "rock star status" next time. I let him know what we expect and that his sister just happened to knock it out of the park on this particular day.
The situation was over as fast as it started and we all went about our business. But then my mama guilt set in and I started to think about the concept of giving praise to one sibling when the other is right there and won't be receiving the same props. Is it acceptable? Is it confusing for the kids? Does it foster sibling rivalry in a good or bad way? Did I handle the situation appropriately or is there a more constructive way to let one kid know they nailed it and the other has some work to do?
Of course both of my kids are rock stars but it's just the reality that at times one demonstrates better behavior than the other. Sometimes they're both on point and other times they are trouble as a team. It's hit or miss and you never know what you're going to get. Regardless, I'm eager to know what the best course of communication is in this case.
I plan on doing some reading on the topic and will report back what I find. But I thought I'd also throw it out to you. Have you been faced with this same issue? Are there any good resources I should reference to help shed light on this topic? I'd love your feedback!