Sibling Bickering: One of My Main Triggers
Piggy backing on one of my recent posts, one of my biggest triggers of anger as a mom is sibling bickering. Seems like one minute our two youngest are playing like angels and the next they are literally fist fighting! The other day our 5 year old whacked our 8 year old over the head with a sippy cup and broke the skin just because "She wouldn't stop laughing at me." Crazy! 😱
I generally have the mindset of allowing my kids to work out their arguments on their own unless one is hurting the other or they are simply yelling and not constructively working it out after a few minutes. If I have to go intervene, generally it's with my temper boiling because it's gotten to the point of me getting angry myself. I have the hardest time controlling my own anger when dealing with them in their anger. I try to remind myself they simply mirror what they see and I need to be better about calmly dealing with their squabbles. If they see me retaliate in an angry way toward them when I'm supposed to be the adult who knows how to control my emotions, how can I expect them to deal with their issues in a healthy manner? #momfail Often I feel like in order to get my kids to listen I have to be loud and "scary," but seems that only makes things worse, so I've been really trying to make an effort to 1) stop arguments before they happen and 2) if they do happen, calmly intervene. Easier said than done, but knowing what triggers them to argue is the first step. For example, for some reason our 8 and 5 year old tend to argue at the breakfast table. For goodness sake, it's before 7AM, can we not have an argument this early in the morning? So sometimes, to avoid putting them in that situation, I have separate breakfast times for them. One showers while the other eats and then they switch. That seems to work pretty well, but also is not super great for time management when I'm trying to be upstairs monitoring the showering kid and downstairs getting breakfast for the other. Another trick I've tried is putting one kid in the dining room and one kid in the kitchen to eat. That seems to work fairly well.
The car has got to be the all time worst bickering spot! We drive a mini van so each kid has their own space, but somehow the bickering happens every time! Someone is touching their feet on the other's chair in front of them or making an annoying sound or simply looking at the other kid the "wrong" way. I swear kids realize this is one of the hardest places to implement discipline because you can't exactly pull onto the shoulder of 285 in the middle of Atlanta traffic and give them something to cry about! "Let's just see how much we can get away with this time," they all silently conspire together as we load up for the trip!
During these chaotic situations of bickering, if hubby is around, he tends to step in a lot sooner than I do, so that's often an argument in our house. I haven't come up with a decent solution to fix this difference between us, so I have just resigned myself to agree to disagree on how long the bickering should go on before we step in. I think because I'm around it a lot more than he is, I simply have more of a tolerance for the crazy. Or perhaps I'm just too dang tired to want to deal with it! I know, I know, consistency is key "they" say...But do you know how hard it is to be consistent as a parent? Well, you probably do if you're reading this because you're probably here facing the same battle as me and wondering if anyone has any answers. Unfortunately, I'm not adding anything new to the answer column. I'm just here to tell you you're not alone, my friend. I'm here to share someone else's article posted below. It has some cute ideas to try the next time your kids are raising enough chaos to want to sell them on Etsy! How do you deal with the bickering?