I’m a mother of 2. I grew up as an only child even though I have 2 older siblings. I never knew what having a sibling was like so when I ended up being a mother of 2 and the fighting began…I was at a loss of what to do. Everyone kept telling me it was normal for the oldest to pick on the youngest and to purposely annoy the other. It’s such a foreign subject to me, and still is. I still don’t get it or understand it and probably never will. Like why would you want to purposely annoy someone? haha That’s a serious question.
I decided to share some tips that I have learned along this journey. I’ve acquired this knowledge from either talking to other parents, reading books or magazines or just from trial and error. I hope these help at least one lost and frustrated mom on this topic 🙂
1) Help your kids become team players.
Start by trying to refer to your kids as a team. Like when they are cleaning up the living room or play room, say to them “You both make such a great team together” or “You guys are the best cleaning crew I’ve ever had!” When siblings feel like they have joined forces, they are more likely to be nice to each other help one another. Get them to join forces as often as you can by having them build a fort, make cookies, or make a big poster for Grandma.
2) Help expand their vocabulary (emotionally)
Lot’s of tantrums and fights and arguments have ensued because lack of vocabulary. Younger siblings don’t have the words to explain to the older one that they are upset by what they are doing. And vise versa. Older kids don’t know how to always explain how they are feeling to the younger ones so they can understand it. (we have the problem as parents as well lol) A couple ways to teach your kids new words is to express out loud how you are feeling. Whether you are annoyed, irritated, disappointed, confused. Eventually your kids will pick up on the emotion and know the words to use. When you are in public and you see a child who is upset, ask your child how they think the kid is feeling right then, let them answer, tell them that that was a great answer (depending on how they answer this of course 😉 ) and then tell them how you think the child feels with new words.
3) Try your VERY best to stay out of it.
This is something that I still struggle with. When you hear your kids starting to go at it, stay out of it! Obviously make sure that they are not hurting each other, being verbally abusive or destroying the others things. Calmly tell them that you want them to work out whatever the argument is but you will help if needed but you really want them to resolve the problem themselves. Which can be difficult especially if you have a child that is very stubborn when they are mad 😉
4) Keep your cool.
Which can be very difficult if you have had a rough day at work and the last thing you want is to come home to a war zone. You just want peace and quite. At the very least, peace. Count to 10 before you charge in. Look at their baby pictures. Write down directions and follow them, ie take 3 deep breathes. It helps a lot!
5) Coach them, to referee them. This isn’t the UFC 😉
You’re job is not to say who was right and who was wrong. State what you have seen and then ask each one their side of the story. Let them tell it completely without hurling insults or maybe even a punch or raising their voices. To ensure that they are listening to each other, make them repeat what the other one said. Then ask the million dollar question: “What can we do to solve this?” Let each one share their ideas. And then humor them and try out one of the solutions they gave, no matter how crazy it might be. If they need some suggestions, feel free to help them out a little bit.
I hope this helps someone out there that has been in my shoes before.
Happy Monday Everyone!