Friday, December 01, 2006

To Your Corners!

Okay. I’ll admit it. (again)

I do not know what to do.

The fighting will not cease. “He has my toy.” “I had that first.” “He hit me again.” “MOMMMMM!!!!”

The wailing begins. And my kids cry too.

There are clever ideas. Wise advice. I listen and I seek.

But in the midst of the chaos…my mind blanks.

And I get sucked in. I begin asking myself, “Who DID have that first?” “Why did you let him have it?” “Didn’t we JUST have this conversation?” “Who won last time?”

My closet isn’t full of black and white striped shirts. And I do not even own a whistle. But I would surely benefit from a rule book and instant replay. (“Rule #22 –He who has the toy IN HIS HAND is in possession of the toy. If the toy is on the carpet, table or any surface other than the HAND…possession is up for grabs…literally.”)
(“Mom has called for an instant reply…please pause in your family life while we cue the tape to replay the fight in the toy room.”)

What has worked for you in staving off or halting sibling fusses? Or do you have any stories that would make us laugh? ☺

Do share, friends… you may bless many folks in Blogland with your wit and wisdom…and you may pull me back from toppling over the brink of insanity...which I hear is a quiet place ☺….

14 comments:

Ike Graul said...

Here's my idea: When you first hear the fighting start, find the kids and take the toy. Walk your kids outside and make them watch you throw it over the compound wall.
You'll feel better, you'll make some little african kid's day, and I bet after three or so times and they'll learn to work it out without involving you. Yeah, I'm a sick man, but you asked for suggestions.

Jim Coffey said...

I've got 5 kids. Here's what works for us... a minor variation of Ike's policy above.

1. Take the item that is causing the problem and put it up on a shelf where they can see it.
2. Sit the kids down, and talk about your core family values (which come from scripture) - love your neighbor, turn the other cheek.
3. Explain that you love your children and it makes you very sad when they fight.
4. If this toy is making them fight, then it must be a bad toy. Because you love them so much you are going to put up the bad toy so that the toy doesn't cause any more problems.
5. Tell them that when they learn to play without fighting you'll return the toy.

Eventually they'll either learn to solve it themselves, or they will run out of toys and start playing with sticks.

Note - this works with teenagers who fight over who gets to drive the car tonight.

My kids have mostly learned to figure it out by themselves. However, Kait is too submissive and will let her little sister walk all over her - so we have to watch and help the weak-willed learn to stand up for themselves sometimes.

Another option that works with big families is to convene a courtroom - grab a big spoon to serve as a gavel.
BAM - order in the court. Let each child state their case, and ask the uninvolved siblings to help you decide. This can be great fun if you have the time. You can also schedule a time for a court hearing later that night ... it's amazing how logical they can be when given time to think. You can even require them to submit written arguments. As the judge I usually will rule in favor of the person with the best argument that is backed up by scripture.

Jim Coffey said...

I've got 5 kids. Here's what works for us... a minor variation of Ike's policy above.

1. Take the item that is causing the problem and put it up on a shelf where they can see it.
2. Sit the kids down, and talk about your core family values (which come from scripture) - love your neighbor, turn the other cheek.
3. Explain that you love your children and it makes you very sad when they fight.
4. If this toy is making them fight, then it must be a bad toy. Because you love them so much you are going to put up the bad toy so that the toy doesn't cause any more problems.
5. Tell them that when they learn to play without fighting you'll return the toy.

Eventually they'll either learn to solve it themselves, or they will run out of toys and start playing with sticks.

Note - this works with teenagers who fight over who gets to drive the car tonight.

My kids have mostly learned to figure it out by themselves. However, Kait is too submissive and will let her little sister walk all over her - so we have to watch and help the weak-willed learn to stand up for themselves sometimes.

Another option that works with big families is to convene a courtroom - grab a big spoon to serve as a gavel.
BAM - order in the court. Let each child state their case, and ask the uninvolved siblings to help you decide. This can be great fun if you have the time. You can also schedule a time for a court hearing later that night ... it's amazing how logical they can be when given time to think. You can even require them to submit written arguments. As the judge I usually will rule in favor of the person with the best argument that is backed up by scripture.

kristi w said...

I've sat here for a few minutes trying to come up with either a witty story or sound advice. Who am I kidding? I have nothing to offer! Yesterday I tried to old stand-by, "Do I need to stop this car?!" Connor hollers, "Yes! Yes! Stop the car!" With a heavy sigh I explained what would happen if I stopped the car. He changed his mind about stopping, but it defused the problem and deflated any notion I had about being the big, scary parent.

Cathy S. said...

Well, I agree with both Ike's and Jim's ideas..and Kristi..when my kids were little and were fighting in the car and/or trying to get out of seat belts, I "would" pull the car over and stop until the fighting ceased. Once I did have a policeman stop and check on things and when I explained that I couldn't drive until the kids were buckled up, he told them that if they weren't buckled, he would have to take all of us to jail! That worked for the rest of their childhood. As for fighting, another good standby is sitting each child in a chair facing each other and they have to lean in and hug each other until they can agree to treat each other with love and respect. I didn't go as far as one of my friends who used to have her kids sit with noses touching! Oh, yeah, and "insanity" is "NOT" a quiet place...it's where you are in the middle of all the squabbling.

Anonymous said...

There's a GREAT book called "Say Good-bye to Whining, Complaining, and Arguing in You and Your Kids" or to get suggestions in bite-sized pieces, sign up for the weekly tip at effectiveparenting.org. I have no answers on my own, but some of these ideas have really helped.

Sherilyn said...

I am absolutely no help at all to you with this problem. My children NEVER fought with each other. But if they had been prone to that kind of behavior, I probably would have taken the toy or TELEPHONE or PURSE away from both of them for a very long time.....like forever, OR I would have asked their dad to lecture them for hours on end until they begged for mercy and/or a spanking. I'm sure that would have worked... :-)
Love,
Mom

Cheryl said...

Ok friends...now...I have a mob of African kids at my fence (waiting for more toys) and I'm going to have to order more shelves to be made because I've used up all the space with bad toys. :-) Just kidding...
Your suggestions are good ones...thanks for sharing...
Oh, and MANY thanks to my Merciful Mom...who could have REALLY gotten me on this post...
Maybe that old adage is proven true in sibling fusses...what goes around comes around.

Cherise said...

What? Us? Argue over silly things?(Tell Silas that there is this really cool trick where ALL you have to do is stand outside your brother's/sister's door...that's it...just stand there. It will drive them NUTS!!!!!!!)
Love you sister!
Reese

KMiV said...

I guess as an older brother I would say that nothing works. I would say as a parent nothing works. Sometimes my dad would spank both of us and send us to our room, where the fight continued. I guess we just try to get buy until the kids move out.

I wonder if God asks the same questions about the children?

Anonymous said...

According to family legend, my 2 aunts were fighting in the hallway over a toy when my grandmother, having had enough, came storming their way. She grabbed both of them by the hair and banged their heads together. It seemed to work for a while. :)

That's a funny story ... not advice!

KNewberg said...

I just send them to their rooms . . . for like 2 hours. You know that IS taught in scripture. The Israelites had a 40 year timeout in the wilderness, so I figure 2 hours in their rooms is nothing. Okay, maybe not 2 hours, but a while. Oh, and I make them write 3 ways they can honor each other. Yeah, that ALWAYS works - they are angels after that. At least, that is what I think happens, because by that time I have let Calgon take me away!

Glenn said...

I am with Ron on this one. It seems that nothing works. Try to maintain sanity until they leave home, when everything improves. From this stage of life you can look at the struggles of the next generation with their kids, forgetting all of your own failures and with piety tell them how it should be done. From a slightly lofty position, with head held high you say, "I would never allow MY children to behave like that!" Well, they did and we didn't have a clue as to what to do, either. Phyllis would cry, I would rant, Mike would roll his eyes, Steve would grit his teeth and refuse discipline, Jeff would smile the smile of innocence and put padding in his pants, while Kristi tried [unsuccessfully] to counsel all of us. It's amazing, but they all turned out great.

Glenn said...

I am with Ron on this one. It seems that nothing works. Try to maintain sanity until they leave home, when everything improves. From this stage of life you can look at the struggles of the next generation with their kids, forgetting all of your own failures and with piety tell them how it should be done. From a slightly lofty position, with head held high you say, "I would never allow MY children to behave like that!" Well, they did and we didn't have a clue as to what to do, either. Phyllis would cry, I would rant, Mike would roll his eyes, Steve would grit his teeth and refuse discipline, Jeff would smile the smile of innocence and put padding in his pants, while Kristi tried [unsuccessfully] to counsel all of us. It's amazing, but they all turned out great.