Over the summer, I asked about sibling rivalry on my forum.
Our family has a fair share of normal spats. I'll admit that the squabbling gets on my nerves and I now understand why it drove my parents crazy too.
In the book, Making Children Mind without Losing Yoursthe author Kevin Leman, suggests letting your kids fight because they are actually learning to cooperate with each other. He suggests sending them outside if you can't stand the racket and instructing them to fight. Usually they just stand there without much to say. He also explains, it can become a screaming match and maybe even physical but kids will learn quickly that fighting doesn't pay off, there will be consequences and that it hurts to fight.
Okay, so I'm not totally there. But I have been sending them outside and trying to back off some. (My hubby and I do peek out the window and we've thought about making small wagers on who will hit first).
I noticed that even when they weren't fighting, there was some belittling going on. I watched one of my children take more a bullying role and the other suffered.
Someone shared an idea in my forum from the book, Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel: When your child hurts the other with their words, rather than punish them, send them outside and ask them to hammer a nail into a piece of wood. Don't offer any other explanation or punishment. Be consistent and do this for a couple of weeks. When you feel the time is right (or the board is full), ask the child to removed the nails with a the claw of the hammer.
Explain that when we apologize, it's just like removing the nails.
And then ask: What is left on the board?
We can apologize for our mean words, but they leave marks.
This proved to be a very powerful illustration in our home and not just for our kids. If I had to name one of my top weaknesses (there are many choices), this would be it: controlling my tongue. So it was a good lesson for me too.
My kids love each other deeply and I know that this showed them the power of their words.
Both good and bad.
Psalm 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue."
Do your kids fight? How do you handle it? Because. THERE ARE DAYS.....
P.S. I was notified that my blog was named as one of the Top 50 Diversion blogs. I'm pretty sure it was a mistake, but it made me smile. Thanks for reading what I write. It would be lonely without you!