If you’re like most parents, you’d choose having fun with your children rather than those feelings of frustration and guilt that arise from sibling fights and rivalry. In as much as you may not totally be able to eliminate the fight, how about strategies to make your kids become more cooperative, self-sufficient, empowered and able to keep fights to a minimum? Let’s get going!
GEMs mean Genuine Encounter Moments. It means focused attention. It means being physically and mentally present. Frequently, children come to their parents to connect. In our ever busy and fast-paced world, we miss this window to give them the desired connection and love. Unfortunately, in a child’s parlance, negative attention is better than no attention. It’s therefore interesting to note that one of the top reasons kids fight is to gain their parents’ attention. After all, when you begin to hear, smell or see the chaos, you notice little miss/master!
When you fill a child’s bucket of attention appropriately, he’ll have no need to seek it inappropriately. So, plan on seeing the world through your child’s eyes by giving each child at least one moment of positive, individual attention every day and all of a sudden, your kids will learn they don’t have to fight to get you to look their way!
Teach Problem Solving
It’s a shame that when you look globally at what happens when people fight over territory, philosophy, resources etc, you see war.
Our children are our future and as parents, we have a huge role in contributing to world peace. When children learn win-win negotiation skills in childhood, then, they could bring these skills into our government, the society and our world at large.
We need to encourage the values of peaceful cooperation and it starts by dealing with sibling fights in a manner that grooms children to solve their problems in peaceful manners.
When sibling fights get the problem-solving attention it deserves, our children will learn win-win negotiation.
Train them on how to take turns, use “I feel” statements, walk away and control their temper (counting to 10, taking a deep breath, etc.), and you’ll be able to ward off a lot of sibling arguments before they begin!
Stay out of it
When you do hear a disagreement between your kids, ignore it—busy yourself elsewhere. Give them a chance to work it out on their own, and at the same time, you’ll remove the payoff they get from your attention.
Thou Shall Not Be a Judge.
If your kids clearly can’t reach an agreement, or if the fight escalates, you might have to step in. Listen to each child, encouraging “I feel” statements as they tell their story. For example, I feel hurt when tongues are stuck out at me. This a statement of fact rather than an attack or accusation of the other person. Then, without placing blame or taking sides, ask them to come up with some solutions. If no one is able to come up with a workable resolution, suggest a few yourself, and help them reach an agreement. This is the way to calm the conflict.
Put them all in the same boat.
If your kids still can’t agree, it’s time to put them “all in the same boat.” Hand down a consequence, for instance, “Either you can take turns with the game, or I will put it away for the rest of the day.” Then follow through. So, if you recall the aircraft scenario from last week, should the girls have not been able to agree, I get the privilege of the window seat!
All the best!