By: Dr Randy Cale
When children are bickering, picking on each other, fighting, and arguing, parents often lose it. Research reveals that most parents think they should intervene in their children’s conflicts and arguments. They think they should be intervening earlier to resolve issues for their children. But most parents don’t intervene until the conflict escalates, then they yell and threaten. This doesn’t work well. You need a clear plan to nurture cooperative, healthy behavior among siblings.
Whether it’s at home, in the classroom, or on the playground or soccer field, children need to learn how to resolve differences with other children. If you fall into a pattern of consistently stopping the kids from arguing or fighting, you’ll only end up intervening more and more as they get older. Even if your children get very angry or one child is younger or smaller than the other, they still need to learn how to handle conflicts. They’ll need these skills to effectively handle interpersonal relations for the rest of their lives.
But if simply leaving siblings alone to resolve their differences is the right idea, why doesn’t it always work? Parents make four mistakes. If you learn from these mistakes and follow the guidelines below, your children’s conflicts will likely decrease dramatically over the next 30 to 60 days.
Why are some kids much worse than others? Well, there are likely many reasons out of your control. The reasons within your control are discussed below. However, keep in mind that your kids have been learning from how you have responded in the past, and it is likely they have been learning these lessons for years. Some of these lessons have to change if things are going to get better.
The first mistake parents make is that they don’t give children clear ideas of their options. Explain to your kids that they can (a) ignore the sibling; (b) walk away from an intolerable situation; (c) negotiate; (d) ask the sibling to stop; (e) seek parental help; or (f) fight with the sibling, which will probably result in time out. However: Running to Mom or Dad is not an option you want to encourage; in fact, you should tell your kids that you’ll start ignoring them if they repeatedly ask you to resolve their conflicts.
That’s right…you must be careful to not get pulled into every argument, or you will end up being a referee 10 TIMES A DAY! And, you’ll end up making things worse, rather than helping things. How can I know that? It’s not because I know your home or your kids. It’s because there is a predictable and highly reliable outcome when you start solving your kids’ struggles for them. They become MORE and MORE DEPENDENT, rather than independent.
Tired of living with this constant sibling fighting, consider ordering “The Sibling Solution”. This is a highly focused parenting program, which walks you through a specific program that will eliminate the wide majority of sibling battles; not all, but most will be gone in a matter of weeks. Not ready yet? Keep reading.
Another key message that parents don’t clearly communicate to children is “You can handle it.” Instead, we come to their rescue. It’s essential that you stop doing this, unless the children are engaging in dangerous behavior. If you make a habit of rescuing your children from each another, you’ll be doing it forever.
The second mistake parents make is failing to notice when their children are playing cooperatively and happily. We tend to ignore the good times and focus our attention on conflicts. It’s essential to pay attention to your children while they are getting along. You don’t need to comment specifically on the cooperative play. Just give them a hug, a touch on the shoulder, or a smile. Ask a quick question or play with them for a minute. Any form of engagement will do. At first, do this 10 to 20 times a day, every day. You’ll be watering the seeds of new behavior that may take weeks to grow, so be patient.
The third big mistake parents make is trying to resolve their children’s conflicts. This communicates to the children that they can’t resolve their own conflicts and allows them to develop a devastating set of beliefs that will impair their relationships in many ways.Also, it doesn’t work. When parents try to resolve or stop arguments, they’re paying attention to behavior they want to eliminate. As the conflict intensifies, so does the response, until the parent is yelling or threatening. This strategy may get results in the short term, but as time goes on, you’ll find that you’re intervening more and more, while the bickering just gets worse.Teachers usually don’t try to resolve student conflicts, because they know they won’t be able to sort it out. The conflict may be very complicated and may go back to events that occurred hours or days ago. The adult is entering a world where there is no definitive truth. Teachers also understand that intervening creates overly dependent children.
Parents may be concerned that ignoring their children’s squabbling will teach them that fighting is okay. In fact, the opposite is true. When you ignore what you don’t want, it will wither away. Likewise, notice and attend to the behavior you do want, and it will grow.
So pay attention to the cooperative and calm times. Your child’s brain will learn that fighting gets nothing from you, while calm, cooperative behavior gets noticed. This is a powerful tactic. When you order The Sibling Solution you get a detailed plan which explains when and how to deliver these powerful moments of noticing the positive. It’s not the way most parent do it! And that’s why most families struggle with this problem.
Finally, one more key point that pulls all of this together for kids, but first… consider this:
Words won’t teach your kids to stop fighting with each other, but consequences will. Ignore the little stuff and intervene in your children’s conflicts only when you’re prepared to follow through with a consequence. In other words, when you step in, you’re going to do something, not just say something.In The Sibling Solution you can learn more about how you do this.It is essential to be consistent; you know that already. However, there are certain rules that – when you follow them – your consequences ACTUALLY WORK! I explain how you intervene and when to do it so your kids learn where the limits are. That’s one of the secrets of terrific parenting!
Even in a focused program like The Sibling Solution you will be exposed to several key strategies behind the Terrific Parenting success. This program has been used with thousands of families. Here’s what a few have to say:
Amy from Delmar, NY
Single Mom /Manhattan
Kelly G. from WebY
Order The Sibling Solution Now, and your home can be calmer… your kids can get along better…and you will enjoy your kids more. Every product comes with my personal guarantee of satisfaction. You listen. You put it to use, and YOU NOTICE IT WORKS! If it doesn’t, send it back and you will always get a full refund. That’s it. You won’t find that anywhere else on the web…with any other approach. They may not be able to do that, but I can because I know…this stuff really works.
Copyright © 1999-2023 • TerrificParenting.com • Randy L. Cale, Ph.D. • 634 Plank Rd, Suite 101, Clifton Park, NY 12065