Wednesday, March 22, 2017
"There's no hitting in this house!"
Who instigates most of the sibling fights in your house? Is the youngest looking for some attention from an older sibling? Or, the oldest taking out some frustrations on the younger one? Is the middle one always spoiling things for the others?
When we think we know who started it, the temptation is to referee and assign blame.
“Jimmy, if you can’t settle down like the others, there will be no story for you!”
“Jane, you’re older. Let your little sister have the toy!”
“There’s water all over the bathroom floor! Which one of you did this?”
Here is the second in our series of Key Principles to create the close, cooperative relationships we so dearly want between our children.
Principle #2: “Put them in the same boat.” Or, another way of looking at it, STOP taking sides!
Taking sides encourages kids to point the finger with the hope of swaying a parent.
We also run the risk of placing a child in a role, giving them a label: the aggressor, the victim, or the responsible one. The problem is that a label can stick, and our child may live up to our expectations of them. (By the way, there is no good label. Labels restrict a child. Anyone who grew up having to be the responsible one will attest!)
Putting them in the same boat encourages an attitude of we are in this together and underlines the idea that bystanders are responsible too. When it comes to conflict between children, it’s more important to find a solution than it is to find out who done it.
Shift your focus from one of blame to one of solutions.
It will sound more like this…
“I’m willing to read stories when all is quiet.”
“Girls if you’re having trouble sharing the toys, why don’t you play separately for awhile.”
“Boys, there’s water all over the bathroom floor.”
And if they try to blame:
“Ben did all of the splashing, not me.”
You can say, “It’s not important to me who did it. What’s important right now is what are you boys going to do about it?”
Here’s to more harmonious days ahead!
Beverley & Doone
P.S. Missed Principal #1? Click here -> “I hate my brother!”