Siblings without Rivalry Part 1

Stop, quit, don’t do that, leave her alone!

kids-fighting-over-toy

Pretty common sentiments expressed by exhausted and exasperated parents all across the world, when the humans that they created to be each others best friends are behaving in a less than friendly manner.

I had the pleasure of listening to a great podcast over at power of moms that included conversation between Richard and Linda Eyre and their daughter, Saran, one of the co-founders at power of moms.  Being a deliberate mother myself, I have found that one of the best ways to feed my mothering soul, with the limited amount of time that I have is by listening to those who will feed my soul. This podcast didn’t fail.  The Eyres were specifically talking about the things that we worry about so often that do not matter in the grand scheme of life and those things that are essential to our happiness, or what does matter.

Like so often is the case, I picked up on things that weren’t necessarily the intended mission of the message. Does that ever happen to you? But anywho, I picked up on the fact that Saran complimented her parents on the way that they had fosters respect and communication and most importantly love between she and her EIGHT siblings, that’s right the Eyres have a total of 9 children.

I thought, if they can do this with double the kids, surely I should be able to get this thing together with the four that I have.  I had been doing some research on this very subject because the siblings in my house were being shall we say, rivalrous. Is that a word? I don’t think so but I like anyway.

Back to my kids.

With the oldest primarily out of the house, except for laundry and an occasional dinner or outing, the three remaining children had gown through a shift in the last couple years that I hadn’t completely addressed.  The shift had left me with a “new” middle child and oldest sister and I knew that the increase in squabbles needed to be handled by me.  In the upcoming weeks, I will share a post about what I am doing to systematically address this but the Eyres gave me an immediate plan of action and immediacy is something that I need in my life.

Ask the kids a very simple question, “Can you say that in a more kind way”.

I don’t know about you but I have the kind of kids that wouldn’t dare be unkind, let alone rude at school or to strangers for that matter.  But sometimes the comfort that they feel with each other can lead to some harsh words and hurt feelings.  Punishing, forcing apologies, or lecturing does nothing to eliminate the behavior.  If anything it encourages kids to be more retaliatory.  Asking the kids to rephrase the statement or question uses an overlearning technique to give them pause next time they need to make the statement again.

Next week, I’ll update you on my plan to give each one of my kids some special one on one time.  Wish me luck!

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