As a mom, there are times that I want to walk up and tie my kid’s hands together – and tape their mouths shut. Anything so I don’t have to listen to them bicker. But sibling rivalry is good precisely because it is teaching them how to resolve conflicts.
After spending several years trying to play the referee, I gave up and now let them fight it out. To a point.
Being the referee was very exhausting for me since my boys would argue over everything. When the tempers would flair and the hands would go flying, next thing I knew I was sitting in the middle of the floor with one kid pinned between my back and the back on the couch – while the other one was sitting in my lap with my hands wrapped around his. This became too much for me to handle when I became the middle woman and they got bigger!
Kids sometimes need to learn how to work it out for themselves.
The best lessons are those we had to learn the hard way.
I was raised to believe that siblings were supposed to get along all the time. I had the hardest time as a kid trying always get along with my little sister. I would wait until there was no one around and then I would fight with her just to get to do it. As an adult it seems so silly to think that I would fight with her because she wouldn’t step out of my doorway.
Empathy, listening, and anger control are commonly learned through fighting.
There are other ways that children can learn these lessons; however, letting them beat it out can often help them to find their voice.
Children need to learn who they are and what they are going to be. In our house that is done through experience.
Not Intervening is Hard
Not stepping in between them is difficult sometimes. Knowing you can solve the problem fast, and quieter is hard to resist. Our job as parents is to protect them, how can we protect them if we are watching them fight it out.
Teach the how to processing emotions
One of the hardest things our children will ever do is process emotions. Many times emotions are very hard to define, let alone express. Finding a way for your child to release his or her emotions is very important. Releasing emotions can be done through a creative outlet (like art, or writing) or a physical outlet (like running or sport). Teaching your little ones to process the negative emotions and turn them into positive ones will be one of the best skills you will give your children.
Teach conflict resolution techniques
There are many ways to help a child learn conflict resolution but choosing the right words is the beginning. Expressing to your child the proper way to communicate assertively is helpful when they find themselves in stressful situations.
Teach your children techniques like ‘I’ statements.
Encourage them to take responsibility for their mistakes.
Encourage them to apologize.
Having limitations when they do fight.
Even when we let them fight their own battles, it is important to be sure you know when enough is enough. Sibling rivalry is good before bloodshed. Be a role model for them and demonstrate how fighting with fists should be the last resort. Mudslinging isn’t bad when they sling real mud because they are expressing themselves and learning to work through the unknown. But communications with words is better. Sometimes they have to learn that the hard way, but it’s important to provide them with the room to make those mistakes and figure it out for themselves.