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Old 01-01-2018, 10:33 AM   #1
Aerynne
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Default siblings arguing

I know I'm not new to this but for some reason I don't feel like I'm really doing anything about it.

We don't really have beating each other up- usually it's mean comments, or maybe one hit or push or physical action and then it's over. If I'm getting the baby down when it happens (which is usually, since they don't do it when I'm around) then I often don't find out about it until later.

The rule in our family is "Use words, and if that doesn't help, get a grown-up." but sometimes a grown-up is unavailable. But even if a grown-up is available, they often don't. I hear stuff like "I told her to get out three times but she wouldn't. So I gave her a tiny shove." (which violates our rule but I totally get responding like that, especially if I'm not available).

Dd2 (7) likes to egg people on a lot. Ds1 (10) gets annoyed a lot (obviously). In our family the siblings closest to each other in age have more trouble getting along- not sure if that is typical. So 10 yo has most trouble with the 7yo and the 7yo has trouble with both the 10yo and the 5yo. 5yo and 10yo are usually fine together.

So we talk a lot about these things after they happen but often it's "he said this" and "she did that" and it takes me forever to get the bottom of it (like dd2 says "he hit me" but doesn't mention that it was because she was doing something mean to him). Is it worth getting to the bottom of it and hashing these things out? Or is there some kind of good response to say "okay, moving on, when there is fighting we do X"? But I'm not sure what x is.

I've also had ds1 (the 10yo) tells me that he will hit or otherwise be mean to dd2 (the 7yo) when she is egging him on specifically because he knows that I won't do anything to her. He figures something bad should happen to her and knows I won't do it (I talk, but I don't specifically inflict something bad on her and he wants her to have something bad happen to her because of what she did). So because I don't punish, he figures he should punish her. Definitely not okay, and we've talked about it, but he can't remember in the moment.

Overall this isn't about any one kid- it's about the three middle kids, 10, 7, and 5, and how I should handle arguing, especially if I don't find out about it until later (I'll typically nurse dd3 down for a nap and then come out and find out about something that happened 10 minutes ago, for instance).
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Old 01-01-2018, 02:53 PM   #2
CelticJourney
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Default Re: siblings arguing

I think it's worth getting to the bottom of it for two reason: One is that they feel heard. Two is that it gets old and the 'fun' of starting something gets lost.

If you know that the 7yo is the one seeking the negative attention from 10yo, I would find a way make sure she understand what behavior is causing friction and then have some boundaries when she crosses the line. If you come out on Tuesday and there have been problems, then on Wednesday when you nurse the 3yo, 10yo watches 5yo and 7yo stays in her room until you come out.

I think acknowledging 10yo's frustration with a 'from now on, leave the discipline to me'...but you have to follow through.
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Old 01-01-2018, 03:48 PM   #3
SonshineMama
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Default Re: siblings arguing

Have you read sibling without rivalry?
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Old 01-01-2018, 04:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: siblings arguing

Your 10 yr old sounds very,very familiar

I do all sorts of things with my three (4,6,10),it depends on time of day and what kind of mood everyone is in.

I listen everyone’s side and play Judge Judy (state the facts basically and assert who was in the wrong and instruct person to make amends).

I saythat I don’t want to hear it,it’s been a long day,we need food/time at the park and get everyone on a different track.

I reflect feelings,make suggestions for how things could be handled next time. Redirect to something else. If that doesn’t work,announce people are bored and lets put on music and do chores for 15 minutes and then they can try xyz again.

I yell at everyone and escape to my room.

I come back out,apologize and do one of the other things.

So much parenting for my kids involves me talking an it makes me tired. I remind myself my brother and I like each other now a lot.
Also,I keep dark chocolate in my fridge and call mom friends.
(Siblings without rivalry really is worth a read or reread)
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Old 01-01-2018, 05:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: siblings arguing

I have read that book but it has been a long while. I did incorporate and learn lots of skills from it that I still implement, but I should look for more.

I do follow through on things I say I will do, so it's not that there isn't follow through. It's more that my 10yo just wants to see her suffer "enough" for what she did and I don't want to work like that. I like the idea of separating them while I get dd down for a nap. Are there other consequences that I am not seeing that aren't just inflicting pain (like my ds wants) but that teach?

I also see that I need to talk to him about why I don't believe in being punitive.
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Old 01-01-2018, 06:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: siblings arguing

Because “your family gets the best or no one gets the rest” IF there is someone egging things on, I may calmly say “it sounds like you are intentionally trying to upset X.” <- I have a child who wants attention, any attention, who gets really annoying and does this. If I say that and pause, my child admits it but saying “it sounds...” gives her a chance to correct me if I’m wrong.

Several approaches that have worked for us
1 serve one another. If both are causing an issue must each do something nice for the other. But the instigator or the antagonizer often has to do something kind for the other.
2 a rule they cannot even look at each other until I have time to sit down with them or they r ready to be kind . I continually say “I see you maki g eye contact” I let it drag out until they are trying to sneak behind my back to be kind to each other. It puts them back on “the same team”.
3 “sit still far from One another until I can referee.” Then I get playful and if/when that’s not working I whistle and say “back to your corners” (boxing reference)
4 tomato stake them (opposite of #2) and made them be together 100% of the time until they are kind and respectful to one another again. Usually it starts off stoic and ends in giggles.

My middle has fought w the older and the younger. Oldest and youngest (5years apart) haven’t fought much but until this year they weren’t close and didn’t get Along either. It actually was kind of painful to watch because middle is close to both (like fire and ice we say ). I’ve worked hard w the girls to help them develop a good relationship. It brings me great joy they’ve found their footing I remind myself of that when there is a lot of fighting
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Old 01-01-2018, 07:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: siblings arguing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerynne View Post
...Are there other consequences that I am not seeing that aren't just inflicting pain (like my ds wants) but that teach?

I also see that I need to talk to him about why I don't believe in being punitive.
Can you give us some ideas of what consequences you are using now?
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Old 01-01-2018, 07:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: siblings arguing

Quote:
Originally Posted by CelticJourney View Post
Can you give us some ideas of what consequences you are using now?
Discussion about who did what wrong, suggesting apology, having them do a siblings chore, no playing with friends if they cannot be nice to siblings, limiting sugar and screen time because Ime those two things make it even harder for kids to control themselves, separating them, giving them something to do like a chore or quiet book time or board games or puzzles. But it doesn’t seem to foster care and empathy or help them love each other or even help teach them not to do it next time. All the talk I can do doesn’t seem to help them understand why what they did was mean or even though they say they will do it differently next time they don’t.
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Old 01-01-2018, 09:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: siblings arguing

I think I would have two separate conversations. Would the 10 year old respond to a more logical approach like law and order style? Like if you are speeding, you get a traffic ticket and points on your license. You don’t get 10 lashes kwim? Someone might have a different opinion of what kind of punishment should be given, but it’s not really up to them. As the parent, it’s your job to enforce the laws in your family and by playing vigilante he’s trying to operate outside the law.

With the 7, I have a child who enjoys annoying others or getting attention in negative ways. Maybe he doesn’t enjoy it but it seems that way to me. It’s possible he just doesn’t know intuitively how to get attention in a more positive way unless I expressly instruct him. Anyway, I have had to be really direct that when you annoy people on purpose, eventually they are going to snap. Everyone has a limit and if you are pushing that limit, you aren’t exactly innocent yk?

I can’t really give advice other than those are the talks I would be having with my kid if he was in either of their shoes.


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Old 01-01-2018, 09:49 PM   #10
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Default Re: siblings arguing

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetpeasmommy View Post
I think I would have two separate conversations. Would the 10 year old respond to a more logical approach like law and order style? Like if you are speeding, you get a traffic ticket and points on your license. You don’t get 10 lashes kwim? ...

With the 7, ...I have had to be really direct that when you annoy people on purpose, eventually they are going to snap. Everyone has a limit and if you are pushing that limit, you aren’t exactly innocent yk?...
I went to a hs conference years ago and someone did a talk on teaching boys. Now his traits were stereotypes and he admitted it, but the point kinda works. He said: 'you have to be honest with both genders. You have to tell boys 'making noise constantly and moving around at the table bothers girls. Someday you'll want girls to like you, so practice now not annoying them away' And then you tell the girls 'I know you like it nice and quiet and no distractions, but you are going to have to learn to be a little patient with the boys. Someday you'll kinda like them and it's good to have practice at patience now.'

So I'd listen to their stories. You kinda know how it is going to end. 7yo was being annoying and 10yo lost his patience. Give them the lecture once: 'there are annoying people in life, you are going to learn some patience for dealing with them' and 'annoying people makes them not want you around. If you want to be around 10yo, you need to learn ways to be with him but not frustrate him.'

So incident happens and your words are few after that: 'work on your patience' and 'annoying people makes you unwelcome. We're going to leave 10yo alone for now.'

Not sure if it would work, but it's worth a try. If you can keep them apart while you are nursing, that would be great. If 7yo does any independent hs work, maybe that is her time to get that done.
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:01 PM   #11
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Default Re: siblings arguing

I’m very intentional about “I see/I hear”statements to my kids.
I see you sharing even when it’s hard. (Sometimes followed by a thank you or affectionate gesture).
I see one sword and two boys. How can we solve this problem? Or even,I see two boys hurting each other. (They take stock of what is happening and change things).
I hear you saying please when you’re tired and it’s hard.
I hear you saying you’re frustrated and need a break. Let’s look at our options together.

I totally agree that it’s time to talk to your oldest about why your aren’t going to make your 7 yr old feel bad to learn a lesson. I have had this talk with my oldest many times. Public school had made it all more tricky because schools usually have both punitive and positive discipline systems for classroom management.
I logically work things through with my 10 yr old. You hit him,he cried. Then what happens? Does he trust you? Resent you? What do you think will happen the next time you wrong him and need his forgiveness? We talk about grace and forgiveness and natural consequences A LOT. They are probably really sick of it
The times that I use punitive measures,I work out why that was a poor choice aloud with my kids and how it breaks down trust and relationship and what I’ll do better next time. I try to fail aloud as much as possible because it really seems to help. As a side benefit,failing aloud makes it harder for shame to breed.
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: siblings arguing

It's hard. I think it may be the hardest part of parenting for me.

One thing I remind myself is that even if I do everything right all the time, they're still going to get into it, from time to time.

And sometimes it helps my older two to be reminded that they exhibited the exact same annoying behavior when they were that age and I NEVER let anyone shame them or use physical measures. They grew out of it and the younger siblings will, too. Time, teaching, and patience and they might as well learn those skills now because they'll interact with annoying adults their whole lives.
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