My kids have all had their phases. They've been snotty, they've been independent, they've been cuddle bugs, sweethearts, and butt heads.
One constant in their ever changing attitudes is their uncanny ability to drive each other batshit crazy.
They are pals. They're buddies and they truly love each other so much. I've never seen kids care more for each other or stand up for each more. But, as is the nature of family, different personalities, and so many kids, they do fight.
I've seen some hilarious methods for coping with siblings arguing. The Get Along Shirt, making them hold hands and skip together, the never ending hug.
Some days I want to duct tape them together and force them to work it out. Other days, I act like an actual adult and talk them through it.
I have a few strategies in handling the kids bickering.
1. Work together on a project, such as organizing the toys.
2. Do chores together, this is where they pay mama back for having to listen to their fighting.
3. Each kid has to write down 3 nice things about the other.
4. They have to pick a nice thing to do for the other.
These are usually pretty successful, they do help foster kinder thoughts towards the other, and their frustration at each other mellows.
And aside from just managing the fighting, I want to help cultivate great relationships. If I notice a trend in who is fighting with whom, I put them together more and more. I give them simple activities to do, not chores, and not by force, usually something I know they both enjoy. For example, if I notice Brody and Zachary are on each other's nerves, I'll have them build me an awesome lego spaceship together or see how fast they can ride around the block on their bikes. It creates good memories, good feelings, and I hope they'll look back on their time together with joy.
If you follow me on instagram (@modedemommy) you'll know that yesterday I tried a new tactic.
The boys walk home from school together. The last few days, the second they see me, all I hear is "Zach did this..." "Brody was mean..." " Wyatt blah blah blah.." Not what I'm looking forward to hearing. So I made the boys write me a persuasive essay on why I shouldn't ground them for fighting.
I'm pleased to say it worked surprisingly well! They each had to brainstorm several ideas alone and then they had to combine their ideas and write a formal essay.
It took them about an hour or so total.
Their individual brainstorming was adorable.
Zachary wrote some of the cutest reasons ever..
•We enjoy each other but sometimes we don't get along.
•If I didn't have them (or Maddie, Roman, or Lincoln) I would be lonely all the time and I wouldn't be able to enjoy them or playing with them and I think I'm the luckiest kid in the world to have brothers like them.
•If I didn't have them I wouldn't have anything to walk to school with, no one to go to if someone is bullying me, and no one to help me through tough times when I need family members at school.
I 100% started tearing up reading Zachary's. It was so sweet and clearly from the heart. When he saw me starting to cry, he started to cry, and we were a hot mess there for a few moments.
Brody's was pretty hilarious...
•You should not ground us because it makes you do more work by telling us what we can and can't do and us asking you a million questions.
•You should not ground us because we don't want to be grounded, you do not want us to be grounded, so we will not fight.
•You should not ground us because we know you think we should be grounded because of us fighting but we can promise you that I won't be a tattle tale and we all will not fight.
Wyatt's was exactly what I expected...
It says...(under all of Brody's corrections)
•We should be ungrounded for a second time because we did not mean to fight.
•We should be ungrounded because I love my brothers.
•We should be ungrounded because I think we should not ever fight because I never want to fight again.
Let me just say: LMAOOOOOO
God, these were hilarious to read. Not to mention an earlier draft of Zachary's said "Because you are the best mommy ever"
At the end of it all, they compiled a very nice essay, complete with an introduction and conclusion. Needless to say, they persuaded me and they were not grounded.
Even though the fighting was frustrating, watching them work together on this was amazing and totally fun for me.
10/10 will do again.