I have a 16 year old and 10 year old. The age gap doesn’t help their relationship and I remember the summer when the relationship started to unfold. I remember the summer when my eldest had finished year 7 and my youngest was going into year 2, that was the last summer that they tolerated each other.
What started as bickering got bigger as the eldest found my youngest intolerable and annoying….the youngest would play on this and taunt her! We had to up our game as parents as I remember myself and my hubby saying they hate each other….it made us feel very sad and we weren’t prepared to sit back and watch, zero tolerance of their continual arguing occurred and they learnt how to talk to each other again.
How I hear you cry…..!!!?? Here are a few tips for you:
Teach Kids Ways to Discuss Solutions and Problem Solve
Even very young child can understand the basic issues of fairness and no fighting. Talk to kids about fighting and other ways that a problem can be resolved. Always set the ground rules of what can be done and what can’t to resolve an issue. For example, yelling, crying, or hitting or definite problem-solving no-nos. Ask them to come up with ideas, and then let try them out. You might be surprised at their solutions, and they may know what works best.
Praise Kids and Provide Positive Reinforcement
Praise and positive reinforcement works wonders in helping to build positive child behaviours. The key point is to ignore fighting and then to lavish attention when they’re caught doing something kind, positive or helpful. Children will quickly get the hint that good behaviours gets them more attention than negative ones.
Be a Positive Role Model
You can’t expect children to not fight and bicker when they observe it regularly among adults. Parents must serve as role models as to how to cooperate and get along with others. Set the example of expected behaviour at all times. Remember, your children are watching!
Be Calm Under Pressure
Children watch how adults behave (learnt behaviour) and act when they are mad, disagree with something or are offended. Being calm under pressure and exhibiting self control sets a positive example. Adults should talk with children about situations in which they have felt angry or mad and what steps they took to calm down.
Pay Attention to How You React and Intervene
If adults yell, embarrass, shame, or dole out angry or strong words, the result actually could be that the annoying child behaviour flairs up again and the fights occurs again. Punishments like the ones above may escalate a child’s angry feelings and cause them to act out more.
Don’t Pay Attention
Most children’s fights are not meaningful and end quickly on their own. Adult intervention delays the process of children working it out themselves. Fighting is often a way for children to get attention – and for some children, negative attention is better than no attention at all. If adults ignore the fighting and don’t let it become a “centre stage” in the home or location, it becomes less of a reason to do it. One idea is to declare a separate room or space in your home as “the fighting room.” Whenever children or friends of your children fight, simply tell them to take it to the “fight room” and do not come out until it is worked out.
Treat Everyone Equal
The quickest trap an adult can get into is trying to investigate who started the fight, and who said what and then what caused the escalating issue.
Taking sides or giving out punishment differently sets the stage for labelling victims and bullies. In most cases, the punishment should be the same: no exceptions. Again, the goal is to take the challenge out of fighting, and strip any initiative for “winning” or “losing” a fight.
Minimise Occasions for Fighting
Consider all the reasons children fight, and do what you can to eliminate those situations. Know when youngsters are at their worst, such as when they’re tired or hungry or just had a bad day, and minimise any potential fight zones. Children need to know they are loved equally and are special, regardless of how they act, but that you as an adult feel most happy when they are at their best.
Sometimes a hug is all a child needs……..
I hope this helps! You’re not alone!!
Love and Warmth,
#children #squabbling #fighting #boundaries #example #learntbehaviour #talking #parenting