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Duking it Out

Here’s the crux of the book. The real reason we as parents are reading Siblings Without Rivalry.  How can we get these kids to stop fighting?!  How do I handle constant tattling? Why do they have to find a way to fight over every little thing and ruin fun things we have planned?

And my kids are only 1 and a half and 3. I’m sure it gets even more interesting as time goes by. As seasoned mothers never cease to remind me- this stage doesn’t last forever.

This part is the golden. It really combines Love and Logic and Siblings without Rivalry together. And so far it works. Want to know?

You as a parent are somewhat of a magician. An illusionist to be exact.  Your object- give your kids the illusion they are in control. That they are the boss.  They are important and they have power.

Whether the kids are fighting over property or what tv show to watch it’s pretty much the same concept. Leave it up to them to figure it out. I’m all for this. Less work for me equals teaching great problem solving skills and I have more energy at the end of the day.
I was extremely skeptical about this. How are a 3 year old and a 1 and half year old going to problem solve together? Is this even safe? I am having visions of my three year old body slamming my 1 year old daughter. Problem solved mama. Right....

Well I gave it a shot... Here’s what happened:

The kids each have a small chair in the family room. Both kids wanted to sit on the same chair at the same time. The chair happened to be my son’s chair.

I enter the scene. 1 year old is gripping the chair screaming while 3 year old is pulling her off claiming property rights. Here’s my chance.

Tattling ready to begin as well as pointing and crying. I stop and…..

Describe the scene without taking sides.
“I see a very frustrated girl who wants to sit on her brother’s chair.” “I also see a very frustrated boy who does not want his sister to sit on his chair right now.” “I can tell you both want to sit on that chair.”

“I have confidence you two can work out a solution.”

Mama exit.

I stand in the kitchen on the other side of the wall holding my breath. Wanting to dash in there and force my son to share. Or tell my daughter to sit on her perfectly good chair right next to her brother’s. I am envisioning hitting and pushing.  I am reminded of a key principle of Love and Logic. Stop talking. Less talking. More of the kids thinking. So incredibly hard.

Then I hear laughter. Both are giggling. My son yells out my name in a happy tone. I come into the room and see my daughter sitting on his lap while he is sitting in his chair.
He beams with pride and tells me he found a way they both could sit in the chair at the same time. Seriously?

If I had forced this or come up with this suggestion neither would have been happy. They have the illusion of control.  Less talking more thinking. And I didn’t have to take sides.

Over all this book is amazing. It is written in the style of a qualitative research paper on siblings fighting and exasperated parents. She goes on to address the dangers of putting your children into roles, how making everything equal for your kids is not better, and what to do when the fighting has become dangerous.  I would recommend actually buying this book. You can’t borrow mine because I am referencing it daily.


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