3/12/2009

Help!


















One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is a sibling, right? Well, hopefully. In the long run anyway. A couple years ago I read "Siblings Without Rivalry", hoping to pick up ideas of conflict management for the disputes that were already erupting. One thing I remember from the book was this: no matter what strategies you use, there is still a chance your children might never really like each other! I was a little shocked by this thought.

I know it's normal for children to bicker and irritate each other but it seems to be increasing in frequency around here. Adam is fully capable of contributing with screams, grabs and unshakable claims to a particular toy. I am feeling the pain.

Honestly, I'm at a loss most of the time. I separate, confiscate, punish and finally, lose my cool. Repeat. It is exhausting. I need ideas. Any book recommendations or helpful tips?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is a frustrating thing!! Dealt with it for 15 years with my two and somedays nothing seems to work...
But-- Bringing up Boys is a great book for understanding your boys and how to raise them, also, Creative Correction by Lisa Welchel is very helpful.
Sometimes we have to let them argue it out as long as no fistacuffs errupt...
Hope you find your answers soon-- and remember cabin fever is setting in all over.. it could be a factor for your boys..
Hope it helps!! :) Gina

Liane said...

Thanks, Gina! I'm sure cabin fever is a big factor actually...Also, you reminded me I do have Bringing up Boys somewhere and I'm going to dig that up and read it again.

Lori said...

I liked your pet shop photos--so cute! I wonder if your boys are strong-willed and/or competetive? Maybe that's obvious to you already...or not. You might have some future sports players on your hands! Wish I had some good advice, but I haven't had those issues....I have different ones. It's always something!! :)

Anonymous said...

You didn't mention praying!:)

Kate said...

This is more of long term encouragement. True, they may never really like each other.

On the other hand, Lisa and I fought like cats when we were little, got over it and became the best of friends. Sometimes I think childhood conflict may actually help to build that bond. They find all their siblings buttons and push them all, then when they are older they know each other so well (and a little maturity makes them avoid pushing buttons).

Don't know if this helps. But I am glad to pray!

gretchen said...

Okay, roll your eyes if you want to, but occasionally I have tried this, mostly with the older boys, with delightful or at least amusing results. I don't know about long-term effects, but overall it seems positive.

Sometimes when they both seem to be to blame, or there's just a sort of general spirit of meanness, I have made them stop, look each other in the eye, say "I love you" and give each other a hug.

It almost always ends in a good tension-breaking moment, because it's not easy for them to stay grumpy while they're doing it, and it usually ends in laughter (and often can escalate into wrestling unless I am careful to specify a gentle hug).

You could always try it once -- it provides a nice variety to the usual separation routine. Of course, I haven't tried it much with the younger boys. Try it and tell me how it works! : )

Carrie said...

Let me know when you find out! Becca and Eva fight constantly. I know...let me send them to you for awhile!

Christy said...

Well, I would suggest the book Shepherding a Child's Heart. It talks a lot about getting to the HEART of the issue. -not just separating the kids and surviving the moment, but teaching them to think about WHY they are choosing selfishness rather than love etc. He talks a lot about how to teach your kids to examine their motives and etc. thereby getting to the heart of the issue. It's a pretty intense read but RIGHT on in my opinion. You can separate and confiscate all day, but without teaching them to put others ahead of themselves etc, the same conflicts will keep coming up their whole childhood. You must get to the heart of the issue and not just deal with the outward behavior. A book which is well worth taking the time to read!

Liane said...

Lori, yes to the strong-willed and competitive natures of all my boys!

Kate--thanks for the encouragement, that does help to hear.

Gretchen, I really like the hug idea and actually tried it tonight. First time was not a charm but I'm going to keep trying and Christy, thanks so much for the book recommendation, sounds good.

kw said...

What about anonymous? Aren't you going to thank them for reminding you to pray:) and double :)

Carrie said...

and what about me? You don't want to see my little girls?? What kind of a roomie are you?

Liane said...

Ack, the pressure!! Send your girls over Carrie and maybe they can help me break up fights!

Brenda Jo said...

Try different, creative techniques so you won't be so predictable to them - try humor sometimes.

Shari said...

Wow, I don't know, but I think that Heart book sounds great. Have you tried consistent consequences given in a loving way? All the reading I've done on parenting over the years seem to agree on that point. But I haven't started raising older children yet. Lol. I know it's hard to stay consistent but maybe if you give them consistent consequences AND talk to them about being loving and kind to one another on a regular basis, it will help? I'll pray that whatever you decide to do works. :)

Liane said...

Thanks, Shari!
Brenda, do those techniques ever involve pinning down and sitting on someone:?

Susan Elizabeth said...

Aretha Franklin says it all: R E S P E C T....

Coming from a mom with four kids, ages 16, 12, 11, and 6....I have one thing to say...teach respect for one another from the start. Do unto others....it's not a hard concept...even for a baby!
Maybe this sounds hard, but I don't tolerate any name calling or meanness between my kids. I stay on top of that and stress the respect thing. Things seem to be pretty congenial in my house and the kids seem to actually like to be around each other.
(one more fact: we homeschool. I don't know if this is a reason why or not...but thank God they do get along or we could all be pretty miserable!)

p.s. This comment sounds so "Know-it-all...I hesitated to comment at all...I DON'T have all the answers...I just know what has worked for me and my family.

Liane said...

No, Susan, Thank you! I am happy to get advice from someone who's been there and seeing good results...doesn't sound "know-it-all" at all!

For me, it is hard knowing just how much to intervene and when to just stay out of the squabbles.