The woman, pearls strung around her graceful neck, spoke with certainty in her exotic South African accent.
“Boys need to get out their aggression. When mine got to a certain age, I bought each a pair of boxing gloves. When they would start fighting, I’d make them put on the gloves and go at it until they were done.” I sat, wide-eyed, starring at my then small boys. Would I really get to that place? I couldn’t imagine it then.
But I can imagine it now.
Fast forward 10 years. My kids have grown. Gone are the years of toy refereeing. Now we wrestle with something much worse: sibling needling.
I remember it well as a middle child. I would get so outsmarted by my sister that I’d have to resort to physical Hulk maneuvers to get out my frustration. She was all brains. I was all braun.
My own children are repeating the pattern. An older one needles, a younger, helpless in the battle of wits, erupts with force. It is an age old problem.
Gather individuals in the same house day after day, and there will be conflict.
The question becomes, what will we do about it?
I tell my kids over and over that their relationships with each other will last far beyond any other. Siblings are the only ones who see you through your entire life span – from the ground up. Invest in those relationships now, and they will bring you joy and life for years to come.
The articles and video I list below delve into why siblings may be struggling with one another. I’m going to focus instead on 5 creative techniques addressing sibling conflict:
1. The Hug o War:
Reminiscent of Shell Silverstein’s poem, have the two fighters hug for a minute. Most of the time they are laughing by the end. I’ve also heard of parents who make the two offenders wear an oversized T-shirt together until they stop fighting.
2. The Repentance Bench:
Pick a bench in the house. When sibs start the ruckus, sit them down on the bench together. No one gets up until they’ve worked out their issue and apologized.
3. Work Together:
Too much fighting? Then maybe there isn’t enough to do! Put them to work on a chore together.
4. Do Something Kind for the Other.
Help them to be for one another, not against. Have each person in the conflict do something kind, helpful, or generous for the one with whom he is fighting.
This is a personal favorite for my husband. Fighting or bickering? Go run together around the house ___ times. They are usually laughing and racing by the end.
And if all else fails, head down to the local sports store and buy a couple of sets of boxing gloves.
Recommended Articles for Further Reading:
Crank up the tunes, break out the snacks, it’s CARPOOL SEASON! We have transitioned into full swing spring and with 4 kids in sports, that means we are in the car a lot! That also means we are often out for hours at a time. Since my boys eat every 5 minutes, they are asking for snacks as soon as we leave the driveway. For those of you with boys with hollow legs, you know what I’m talking about. Snack Shack Packs are my solution. I take those handy plastic containers and label the lids with my kids’ names. In goes the snacks for the day:
Ideas for snack contents:
nuts, popcorn, apples, tangerines, orange slices, granola bars, applesauce, yogurts, go-gurts, fruit snacks, celery sticks with peanut butter, raisins, pretzels, dry cereal, protein bars, gatorades, chocolate covered almonds, beef jerky, beef sticks, cheese sticks, etc.
Download the template for the lids labels here. Well fed kids = happy kids!!
I have been absolutely amazed at how much fun my kids have had with sock puppets this past year. They spend hours making various characters, then craft elaborate stories. When they are ready to roll, they find us and give us tickets for the big show. Chairs are lined up for each person to sit on, and the fun begins. For the boys, the story line usually involves lots of socks battling and jumping on one another, but nonetheless, they are engaging in the creative play that I love to see.
Every Christmas I try to come up with a homemade gift that my kids can help me create for families that we love. This seemed like the perfect one. It could also be given for birthday gifts, used at family reunions, or pulled out for a rainy day activity.
Here’s what you need:
Socks, Pipe Cleaners, Buttons, Various Colors of Felt, Feathers, Googly Eyes, Twine, Tulle, and Various Craft Balls.
Using Clear Plastic Bags, begin the assembly line, instructing the kids how many of each item to put into each bag:
I used these cute Christmas boxes to place everything in, wrapped it in cellophane, and tied instructions to the top.
You can download the instructions tag here.
HAVE FUN & LET THE KIDS CREATE!
Step 2: Rinse the brown paint off of the arm, and paint a hand in a color. Direct them to pull straight up off of the paper so it doesn’t smear. Have them do 2-3 handprints per color.
Step 3: While the child still has that color paint on their hands, have him make fingerprint leaves at the bottom of the paper around the trunk, or falling off of the tree.
Step 4: Repeat with the other colors of paint.