Stop It You Two!
How to Stop the Endless Bickering.
My four-year-old son and six-year-old daughter bicker constantly. It’s driving me nuts. “She got more cereal than me.” “He took the special spoon.”They argue over every little thing. What can I do to help them get along better?
Siblings arguing, bickering and quarrelling is the complaint of almost every parent with more than one child. Those with only one child complain that they bicker with friends and with them.
They do it because it works. There’s nothing as compelling as that high pitched yell, “Mom, he won’t let me…” to make you come running to fix the problem. Children want our attention and they learn early that fighting is the quickest and surest way to get us involved. We may try to reason, we may join the fray by taking sides, we may act as judge and jury as we try to determine who did what to whom and who did it first. Whatever our reaction, they are getting our attention and it’s often quite entertaining for the kids.
The best solution is to refuse to participate. This doesn’t mean we ignore the chaos. If we’ve come running every time they yell, they have a right to expect that we’ll continue to do so. We need to wean them off our automatic presence. So although we appear, we do so in a calm and uninvolved manner.
If they’re fighting over a toy, we can simply remove it and in a quiet voice say that they can have it back when they figure out a solution. Meanwhile, if they want to join you folding laundry you could use the help.
Later, when everything is calmer, you can help negotiate solutions to ongoing conflict areas. Let them come to solutions. If they’re truly stuck you can offer some suggestions: “How would it work if you took turns?” The more involvement they have, the more likely they are to follow through with the plan.
When they bicker about who got more cereal, simply shrug. If you refuse to engage in the discussion, it will die. So a simple, “is that right?” followed by “Oh well, that’s life” defuses a potential ongoing argument.
If you want more information there is an MP3 on my website. Called “Stop It, You Two!” http://www.parentingtoday.ca/store/) it will give you many more hints and tips about this common problem.
A Short Break
I am going to take a short break and take a holiday. My colleague, Pat Katz, has through her fine example taught me that going on holidays but also working is not a holiday. It might be a change, a break and even a rest but not a real holiday. So, my next newsletter will be later than usual. Meanwhile, come and visit my website, read past articles and don’t forget to hug a kid.
Bringing Parenting Today to your event.
Parenting Today is keen to speak as part of your professional development event, parenting workshop or workplace wellness support program. I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters. And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.
I will be in Toronto at the end of February and would love to work with you as part of that trip. Please contact me to arrange and booking.