Friday, April 07, 2006

Your kids' constant fighting driving you nuts?

In another excerpt from her book "Laying Down the Law," Dr. Ruth Peters offers parents tactics to reduce family bickering. via MSNBC

Though I'm sure it's a good book, Dr. Ruth Peter's hasn't met my family and I'm wondering if she actually has kids herself.

Law #20:
Squelch Sibling Squabbles
Yes, it’s normal for siblings to tease, spar, and taunt each other, but it doesn’t mean that they have to do it at your expense. Put a stop to this nonsense immediately by employing my bad points system, as well as teaching your kids how to communicate with civil words, rather than with their fists or verbal barbs.

Dr. Peter's goes on to cite the following reasons on exactly why siblings fight:

  1. Differences. Kids find themselves living with a sibling whose personality traits are so different that they consistently annoy and drive each other to distraction.
  2. Boredom. There’s nothing quite like a good bicker or squabble to break up the monotony of a slow summer day.
  3. Habit. Cleaning someone’s clock may become second nature if you don’t like a behavior — just clobber the other guy and see what happens. Fighting can become the sport of childhood and many kids don’t care that it bothers their folks.
  4. Acceptance. It’s allowed and therefore is encouraged. Mom and Dad either look the other way or are consistently inconsistent in giving out negative consequences for the bickering.
  5. Resentment. One kid resents the other’s status of even being a family member. This is generally a child who has difficulty sharing attention, parental involvement, or material objects.

Well, I could have saved a boat load in a college education by telling her that much! All it really takes is a mother to figure those 5 points out.

The absolute best advice I've received on my own kids fighting is from their doctor.

When they were 4-years-old I took them for a check up. I was a bit worried as they were both covered in bruises from head to toe. Throw in a few bite marks and my kids looked like they'd just served time in the military.

I assured the doctor that I did NOT do that to my kids and that I had tried everything under the son to get them to quite fighting. I asked him if it was normal and he assured me it was.

When I asked him what to do about it, he suggested that I open up the front door, push them outside and lock the door behind them. He said they would eventually figure out the pecking order and all would be fine.

Though I did that for the fighting, I couldn't get much result for the biting. So that was taken care of differently - I'll share that one later.

So as a parent, I say that child therapists are a waste of time and money for the most part. To me, they are there for the times when things happen in life that are out of the "norm" - but sibling rivalry is normal and should be handled as such.

If you care to invest in Laying Down the Law: The 25 Laws of Parenting to Keep Your Kids on Track, Out of Trouble, and (Pretty Much) Under Control - you can find it on Amazon - new or used.

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