There are many moments when the boys are sweet with each other, but it soon degenerates into fighting. And they fight over just about everything — from standing in front of each other in line, to who gets to drink out of a cup, to keeping track of how many times their dad throws the ball to them when they play catch.
Their parents fear that if it keeps up, the boys will never be friends. "I think it becomes a concern when the chance to come back and heal is gone. … I've had grandparents who went to their graves not speaking to each other. So that's a concern," Jeff Franco said.
Will that happen to Spencer and Jackson? I didn't think so. Watching them fight, it often looked as if they found fighting fun. Spencer seemed proud of it.
I often hated my brother Tom sometimes. I was the little one so I got the worst of the fights, and we fought all the time. My mother drew pictures of it, with her tearing her hair out, and my father ignoring it. That's the way Spencer and Jackson's father usually responds to their fighting too.
Maybe ignoring it is a good idea. Parenting experts point out some kids fight to get their parents attention. So, ignoring the fighting may lead to fewer battles, and also teach the kids how to resolve conflicts on their own.
Dr. Kenneth Hardy, a family therapist at New York's Ackerman Institute, says a certain amount of sibling rivalry is to be expected. It's normal, he says.
My brother Tom and I fought too, but we would make up afterward and I remember liking the excitement of fights. Tom remembers them as fun.
Tom says, "The fighting was like having a dog to play with. And I think there was a caring piece. I remember I fed you bottles and changed your diapers. Believe it or not: You were like a pet." We're friends now, which is a good thing, since the sibling relationship — not your relationship with your spouse or kids or parents — is likely to be the longest relationship of your life.
Hardy says parents can help kids keep rivalry from getting too far out of control if they understand a few things. The birth of a second child is a threat "at the most primal level" to your first-born, according to Hardy.
Think about it. First-born Spencer had been getting all the love, all his parents' attention and then, suddenly, Jackson comes home from the hospital and he's got to compete for his mom and dad's attention.
Some of my fights with my brother were pretty nasty. I remember blinding hatreds. I see the same emotions in Jackson.
Spencer and Jackson's competition for their parents' attention seems endless and fierce. To help Spencer with his dyslexia, his parents spend extra time with him. Jackson, jealous of the extra attention Spencer gets, says he wishes he were dyslexic.
Hardy says the boys' rivalry seems particularly strong and thinks their parents need to do something to get their boys to stop fighting.
Spencer and Jackson's parents want the boys to like each other. "We're sort of trying to help them find the love inside them," Alex says. But our cameras didn't see a lot of love. We caught Spencer on camera giving Jackson a bloody lip.