Mid-summer and my kids are fighting like crazy. The constant, “Mom! She’s not letting me watch my show!” or “Mom, he’s pushing me!” followed by screaming, crying, and all the rest is exhausting. This is when you start counting the days until school starts. As of today, it is 47.
Why do kids fight? Well, there are many reasons, and sometimes it is just as simple as they want our attention. They may be bored, have conflicting personalities/temperaments, or they may really not want to share that toy! The reasons change as they grow and go through different stages.
How can you approach your rivaling siblings? Try not to get involved too much unless there is risk of bodily harm. The best approach is to be proactive and set some ground rules for family behavior (no hitting, no door-slamming, and no name-calling) and demonstrate proper conflict resolution with your own relationships. Having weekly family huddles to remind everyone of the “rules” may be necessary during seasons when everyone is together more often (ie. summer and winter breaks). Keep communicating that a home is meant to be an environment where people can love each other with respect and peace.
Give them some tools to learn how to resolve conflict. If you’re always doing it for them, they learn that mom or dad will always come to the rescue and it’s a good way to get your attention. Before they get into a conflict, give them tips like:
- Set up a schedule for who uses the iPad/PlayStation/Xbox, etc.
- Have personal “zones” in the house where they can have their own space and not be bothered.
- Reward the kids for “fight-free” outings and home time.
- Count to ten, take deep breaths, etc.
Letting them know that things may not always be fair, or totally 50-50 is okay too. Sometimes, one family member may need more at any given time and that is just life. Someday they may need extra attention and it all evens out over time. Make sure you spend some individual time with each of your kids so they know they are respected and loved as an individual.
I just hope we all survive until the summer is over! Counting down…