Siblings - what to do with their fighting?
Wow, it's been a long long time since I managed to put pen to paper for a blog post (or fingers to the keyboard in fact). Which is strange, because I love writing.
But this rentrée wasn't an easy one, and on top of our usual birthday rush (we have 2 kids' birthdays in the first half of the Autumn term) we also had to deal with both of the younger two being at home due to teacher absence (COVID related).
Anyway, back to siblings, and in particular what to do with their disagreements and fights. I realise I didn't really finish my sibling series (here's Parts 1 and 2) - I figured I needed to complete the series with some concrete 'action' and advice.
So here it is - DO NOTHING!
Often, our kids are fighting because they are looking for some form of attention from an adult - you'll notice that they fight more 'within' than 'out of' earshot (or if they don't, then very soon one of them will make enough noise for you to be able to hear them VERY easily.
And, I've said in my previous posts, we tend to 'side' with one of the siblings (more often the younger one, who cries when they have been hit, or treated unfairly, by their older sibling). But BOTH kids are, generally, getting something from the fight.
Positive Discipline encourages us to put both kids in the same boat, to treat them equally, and there are three options for that:
1. Beat it
2. Bear it
3. Boot 'em out.
I promised you concrete solutions, so: When your two boys are fighting (believe me, I have quite a lot of experience in this ;-) ,
Beat it: If you are in the room, then make eye contact, and leave. Let them know that you will be available in the kitchen, and that you have faith in their ability to work out their disagreement themselves.
Bear it: You can choose to stay in the room (or come in, if you're elsewhere in the home). Make eye contact, and then simply sit there as a silent observer. Make sure that you are able to stay regulated, keep calm and say nothing if you want to try this option (it could be good to have a book to read). This response, when our kids are expecting/appealing to us to get involved, can surprise them. Once they realise that they're not going to get anything from Mum, then they often stop and move on to something else.
Boot 'em out: Go into the room and ask both kids to leave - you can suggest they go to their own rooms, go to the peace table to find a solution, or, if they want to continue fighting, they can take it outside to the garden (in our case the courtyard of our shared building). The important thing is that you treat them both in exactly the same way.
If you want to know more about this tool, with an example of the tool in action, you can read more about this tool the Positive Discipline website.