WHEN WILL IT END?
When my children were younger, I can tell you that I asked myself this over and over...'When will it end'? The answer was that it really doesn't actually end. What happens is the parent gets wise enough to learn a better way to handle it. Everything must be taught and practiced, over and over and over again. Then, when they do become older, you have helped them see the light of how to not only stop the fighting with one another but with children in school and even people in their work relationships. Unfortunately, many never learn this. Some adults never seemed to grasp this concept of getting along.
There is a very good reason to learn how to manage sibling fighting so that children can grow up and know how to get along with others. There is actually research that tells us specific things that a parent can do. One way is not for all families and sometimes not even all situations. It is a case of trial and error in many cases. There is no quick fix but there are actions that parents can take to help have a more peaceful home. Just know that as parents you must determine if you are an under-responder who believes kids will be kids and they will figure it out. On the other hand is the over-responder who becomes the default mediator at ALL times. Most parents, including me, fall into this category.
According to research neither of these approaches really help our kids. Instead it is best to focus less on stepping in to become the referee and instead see themselves in the role of a coach. This way it helps when things get very heated or unsafe...it allows the parent to be in a position to come in and do some stronger building.
At one time I had a teacher who used the red, yellow and green lights to distinguish exactly what kind of conflict was taking place. Green was hearing loud voices, maybe a heated debate but not seeming to be escalating. That is a good time to let the children work it out. Just not yet needing adult intervention. If it escalated to the yellow zone but still not clear where it was headed that was when our teacher would say something like it looks like you both want to play with the same toy. I know that you two will be able to come up with a solution to this problem.
The red zone is when the adult feels that things are becoming unsafe, yet stepping in does not mean that blame is being placed on one over the other. No sides are taken. Try to see if with you there they can come up by brainstorming solutions to their problem. This is the hardest part of all. Sometimes you may have to give them some options and ask them if they could live with one of the options. They may not be thrilled with it but the question is, "Can they live with it?"
When emotions are running way too high, a timer may help to have a cool down period before coming back together to talk it out.
Below are some ideas that I ran across while reading about how to keep a calmer household with children arguing over a tv show, a toy, the phone, a game, and the list goes on and on.
- Staying calm and neutral always helps
- Teaches important social skills
- Helps children learn to regulate their negative emotions during a conflict which is a form of mediation
- Allows the children to be a part of the process in resolving the conflict
I learned (most of the time) that if these suggestions that are not mine but ones that I followed were used that basically TWO things would come of the situation.
Because of using a voice of reason things will all be OK.