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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

By Rachel H

“Get Offa Me!”
“Stoooooooop it!”
“She’s touching me!”
“He’s bothering me!”
“That’s mine!”

If you are familiar with these phrases, thank goodness because that means I am not alone. If you are not familiar with these phrases, then it means your kids don’t fight and I need you to please offer me some suggestions today!

My children fight like cats and dogs. I have one boy, almost seven, and one girl, almost five. They have fought like this from the moment my daughter could reach out and take things from my son. It is pretty much all day, every day when they are together. Spring Break gave me a reminder of what the summer would entail – long hot days with sweaty, whiny kids, who are hanging on me and fighting with each other. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

I don’t want my summer to be like that! I want us to enjoy each other and have fun-filled days at the beach and swimming pool where my children actually get along. I would love to ride in the car without hearing arguments about why someone is looking at someone else. I would love to sit down to dinner without kids kicking each other under the table. I would love to play a game of Sorry without my children arguing over whether they really moved two spaces or three. Is that too much to ask?

So I am admitting that I have tried and I have failed in the “children not fighting” department. I have tried to intervene. I have tried to ignore. I have tried to stay in the same room in which they are playing in hopes of the fighting not happening as much. I have tried to go in a different room and ignore it. I have tried structured games. I have tried free play and letting them work it out alone. No light at the end of the tunnel quite yet.

The good news is that my children really do love each other so much. They are sad when the other is not around. They stand up for each other around other kids. They give each other hugs and kisses every night. Sometimes I will find my son reading books to his sister as she sits in his lap. They cheer for each other when playing games. So it is definitely not a hatred type of fighting. It is a normal sibling thing where they bicker and taunt daily. I actually think it is Karma for the way my sister and I fought as we were growing up.

I discussed this problem with a friend of mine who also has a boy and a girl, two years apart, who are now 26 and 28. Guess what she told me? They still fight. She told me they just took a family trip to the beach and the two of them taunted each other in the car the whole way, even with their spouses along on the ride!

So do I have any hope? Please say yes. I am so blessed to have these children and I want to do the best I can in raising them to get along. I know there is someone out there who has done a marvelous job of this and I would love to hear suggestions! And of course if your kids are like mine, I’d love to hear about that, too!

Smarties, don't forget TOMORROW is your last day to register for this month's give-away with Whitebox Photography. Just be sure you are a Triad Smarty Pants newsletter subscriber, then click here to enter your name in the giveaway! We will choose a winner through on April 9, 2010 and will contact you that day!


maythi said...

Rach! Totally with you on this one. My sister and I still go at it, even though we love each other to pieces. Anyone who is friends with me on FB sees it firsthand! And by the way, if someone has kids who don't fight (and I am talking about the same "fighting" you are talking about) then I would not attribute it to good parenting. My guess is there's something wrong with those kids!!! :)

Summer said...

We have boy/girl twins that are five, a three year old son and a one year old girl. I have tried a few things that have lessened the fighting, but of course not eliminated it. The most effective has been when at least one of the older kids is involved I envoke the work it out and treat each other respectfully or all parties are removed. I give them another chance and if it continues involved parties are sent to their rooms, or the disputed item is removed. In the case that the children are sent to their rooms I meet with each one and talk to them about what is making it difficult to be loving to their sibling, help them reach a conclusion about what they can change and encourage/support them in making it right with the other child.

When the baby is involved, I repeat the rule, Generally it is "No Hit, or Show Brother Nice" and Put her in time out, and following time out, have her hug the injured/annoyed party. This works with a one year old for about 5 minutes.

With the three year old it is sometimes one way and sometimes the other depending on his exhaustion and remorse level. Sometimes he is more upset that he has been unkind than the party he offended.

Our kids struggle with what I call deviling one another, enticing another child to make a bad choice. We talk frequently about not being a stumbling block to others, But it PAINS me to watch them manipulate one another in this way. Any tips for this?

Mary said...

I could have written this post, except mine are 3.5 (boy) and 18 months (girl). They bicker and fight all day long - how is that possible when one of them doesn't even have words yet??? I know how it's possible. Lots of yelling...and, it started the day she realized she could taunt him and get under his skin (how do they learn that SO YOUNG?!). Before that, the taunting was only one way...payback brother...tenfold.

Sigh...No advice, just commiserating and watching this post like it's on fire. I hope there is *something* out there that will spark an idea for us!!! I am having a hard time with it also b/c I didn't have siblings growing up and this is def a head turning experience for me...

Amy said...

Loved this read...brings a smile to your face when you feel commenality w/ others. My siblings & I fought as soon as we exited the womb. Gotta tell you that went on until we were in our 20's when we got to be more "friends". Now its more of a silent competition but I guess that's why we are given sibling, competitive rivalry can be a good thing...spurs us to do things we wouldn't normally (in a good way hopefully!) Hang in there!

Lisa Witherspoon said...

I have three girls - 7, 5, 7 2. Same story. They bicker, yell, and intentionally annoy each other constantly. They are also best buddies and are deeply concerned about each other. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions, but I do share your frustration!

Kelly G. said...

Just remember that they aren't just fighting. They are establishing pecking order. : ) But at least they are engaging with each other—they want each other's company but they don't know how to negotiate it yet. Wouldn't it be sad if they just ignored each other? At least, that's what I tell myself...

Summer said...

Kelly! Best comment , Love it Love it.. And Mary when you solve the 18mnth old problem please share. My youngest has developed a shrill ear piercing shriek, and a vocabulary of words that range from NO, MINE MY TURN, NO TOUCH, MOVE. MORE. STOP and MAAA MAAA when these words fail her she hits or pulls their hair. I think she might be trying to establish her dictatorship.

Anonymous said...

We've had good luck with the book 1,2,3 Magic. I highly recommend finding it at a used book store and giving it a try. All I have to say is "thats one" and my three year old usually gives up and ends the fight. Its not a cure all but it gives good strategies and it has helped me keep my cool. Good luck.

Rachel H said...

More than anything, you all have made me feel better since your kids seem to argue, too! I will definitely check out the 1, 2, 3 Magic. I have heard of it before, but haven't yet read it. Thanks for the tips everyone!

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