Oh the joys of having siblings. I grew up with three brothers, two of which were very close in age with me. I remember fighting with them all the time. I can only imagine how stressful it was for my parents to mediate and get us to stop fighting. Now that I am a parent, I understand that there’s more to it than just getting your kids to stop fighting and arguing: It’s how they handle problems on their own, cause and effect, it’s how future problems can get resolved, it’s how your child reacts to others emotions and cues, how they can identify the problem and learn from it.
I have tried many methods when my girls would fight with eachother. When I first started and they were younger about 3 and 5 years of age. I usually kept it simple and had them apologize to each other and let them know “sharing is the nice thing to do” and that was that. Now that they’re older it’s requiring more attention from me. The girls share a room, they have the same friends, share the same after school activities. They’re very close with one another. My girls are the best of friends but fight conistantly. This is getting to the point where I see a lot of anxiety arising, the same issues coming up, and yes, a lot of unnecessary “taddle telling.” Most of kids issues are issues that they can handle on their own with minimal interference from their parents.
This is the first point I’d like to make because I feel it is the most important. I am not a very consistant person with much, but know it’s value. You can see results once you commit and stick with it, staying conciencous and catching yourself to stay on it is self discipline. I know when I slip with my consistency man oh man that hits hard. All of your work is just thrown out the window.
The methods I use now have helped tremendously and are so simple. The girls have gained so much respect for each other and communicate better in order to problem solve at home and in the real world.
- 5 things they love about each other: When the girls start the name calling and disrespecting eachother over the littlest things, they come to me to taddle. Just today, My daughter came to me saying her sister said to her that she “wished she wasn’t born.” I can feel the hurt in her voice. I spoke to my daughter who said that to my oldest and explained to her why she shouldn’t say those things and the effect others get from the things she says. I sit them both down and usually start with the more calm child because it eases the child. who is more wound up. So, in this case, I started with my oldest who was hurt from her sister’s words. I have her list 5 things she loves about her sister. Typically by the first, the mood changes completely. My daughters usually mention each others laugh and they always start laughing. The end result from this technique always leaves them in a happy mood and grateful for eachother. Follwing this technique there is always an apology from what had happened, therefor it is more of a genuine apology, rather than forced.
- Respect and Responsibility Jar: This is a new tactic that has been working. Everytime the girls do something thoughtful that falls under the category of respect or responsibilty I would put a penny in their jar. Nothing is mentioned, nothing is acknowledged- By that, I mean I can notice it, or not. Although it is considered a reward system, I want to make it known that they shouldn’t get praised for doing what they’re supposed to do. So, do what you’re supposed to do and watch your jar fill up. Examples of which I consider penny worthy: Dishes without me asking, problem solving with siblings in a mature manner, reading or homework wiithout being told, getting ready for bed on their own by following their lists (wash face, brush teeth, brush hair, lotion, etc.), asking to help with dinner or help clean. These are just a few examples, but you can imagine the new things everyday that they come up on their own that allows them to be more independent, and thoughtful. Once they reach the top. They can cash it in and spend it on whomever or whatever they want.
These methods have worked almost immediately and with consistency you can see a huge adjusment to your children’s behavior. As a parent, you’re always looking to fine-tune your child’s moral compass, and sometimes you can feel yourself in a bit of a toungue tie. Explain minimal, and allow your beautiful offsprings show you their exeplamary growth.