I don’t know why but it seems that siblings fights are some kind of a natural law and have been around since the beginning of time (remember the Bible’s story of Kain and Abel?). My mom and her brother, me and my brother, my husband and his sister, my son and my daughter. The List goes on and on and on…
Now, I am that mother with two fighting little monsters in the house. Looking at them and listening to their fights, brings back memories. It’s like looking in the review mirror. But no longer am I amused by the shouting and the screaming and the never-ending bickering, as I am the one who needs to put up with it!
“This is mine! No, it’s mine! I had it first! No, I had it yesterday!” ……
“You cheat!” “No, I don’t! You do!” “No, I don’t! You’re stupid!””No, you are!”…….
“I’ll tell mom what you said!” “You said it first to me!” “No, you started it!”……
“MOOOM!!! He’s annoying me! No, she’s annoying me!””Mom, he hit me!” “No, I didn’t!”
Rings a bell? Does it makes you wanna:
- Grab a bottle of wine and/ or ear-plugs?
- Run out of the house and come back way later?
- Scream from the top of your lungs, hoping that they will stop?
I have to admit, that many (too many) times it came down to using that last option, that includes a whole lot of yelling, bad mood, emotional exhaustion, judging neighbours (very probably!) and absolutely no positive effect!! The first two option would be way better, looking back:).
I realized that something needed to change, in order to keep my sanity (and voice!) and restore positive balance in our home. The fights were affecting us all, emotionally. I didn’t want my kids to resolve conflicts in this manner. It wasn’t leading anywhere.
How to handle siblings fights, so they learn along the way? Here are my top 6 ways:
- Let them fight and bicker – but teach them skills of communication
What exactly is the point of the fights and bickering? To get one’s own way, so they feel important, to overrule the other. It’s a natural state of siblings. Teach them to learn from this fights – make them communicate in an open, truthful way, with arguments.
- Don’t interfere
Let them be. When I first started to leave them deal on their own I was surprised, how quickly the fight was over! Once they realize they won’t get your attention, it’s not at all interesting to fight! Just endure for a few minutes – it’s really worth it! Once they start to communicate in a productive way, your role as a judge is unnecessary.
- They need to reach agreement and stop the fight!
This is important! Make them talk it out, reach a decision, compromise. They will feel proud of themselves! and you can congratulate yourself for having such wonderful kids:)
- Teach them how to handle disagreements
Let them know it’s OK to disagree, to have your own opinion. But what’s more important is to teach them to compromise, to consider and accept other’s opinion and reach compromises. That’s what life is isn’t it – compromises;)
- Talk about love, friendship, family bond every day
We have this talk every day. Make them realize that there’s nothing in this world as important as family, love and friendship. You are their role-model. Be the way you want your kids to be!
- Accept that some fights will be just that – fights and push trough it. They will pass;). They always do;)
If you still have toddler siblings, you might find some of these ways not as effective and useful as they are with older kids, age 5 or 6. But you know that kids are like sponges, they absorb everything, they listen and hear, they learn, even if we can’t see it on the outside. So, I believe it’s never to early to start but we can be late really quickly! And remember – they see how you’re dealing with disagreements and will most probably do the same themselves!
Me and my kids were reading just the other day a book where friends were fighting over what game they will play. By the end of the book they reached an agreement and were friends again. One of them said:”It’s because we are such good friends and we get along great!” The other said:”No, it’s because we had a fight. Without a fight you cannot work things out!” So, I’ll leave you with this thought…