View Full Version : Brothers and Sisters
02-25-2008, 02:28 PM
Watching the interaction between my kids makes my day every day. Of course they fight like brothers every once in a while, but they also enjoy every minute they share together. The experience of having two sons is new to me, since I was raised as an only child. I always knew siblings fought a lot, because I could see how my friends acted around their brothers. However, I never imagined the special way in which siblings need each other. My children are only 5 and 2, but I can already picture them as the best of friends. When the little one throws a tantrum, which is quite frequent these days, his brother tries to distract him so he can calm down. When the big one is in school, the little one is always mentioning him and looking for him. Not to mention the look on their faces when we pick the eldest one at school in the afternoon. Every day they are extremely happy to see each other once again. They love having each other around. It provides them with confort, entertainment, fun, love and of course, someone to bother. Yes, it is not all peaches and cream. However, from a psychological point of view, brothers and sisters provide children with a scenario where they can learn and rehearse social skills. That is, children take advantage of this safe relationship to practice skills like listening, sharing, playing, taking turns, compromising, following rules and limit setting, among others. So, fighting over things like who's turn it is to watch tv or play in the computer is just part of this learning process. As a parent, you should use it as an opportunity to teach your children different social skills. For example, fighting over the tv is a good time to teach your child about taking turns and compromising. Of course this takes a lot of effort. It is harder than sending everyone to a time-out without discussing the situation. However, in the long run, a child whose social skills have developed appropriately will be a better adapted member of our society. So, next time you see your kids fighting, instead of punishing them or thinking they don't like each other much, try to see the situation as a red flag alerting you to intervine and show your wisdom......
03-12-2008, 09:55 PM
I think this is good advice, but I think parents are generally too quick to intervene at all. When my girls argue (I don't say "fight", because they do NOT fight), I don't jump right in. They almost always work it out. Yes, I have taught them how to handle things, but I have also taught them to try to handle their disagreements themselves, and to ask for assistance when needed.
When I do intervene, I usually ask, "Do you want me to help you solve the problem, or do you want to try to work it out?" They almost always choose the former option. I hear things like, "How about if I play with it first, but then you get extra time because you had to wait?" I haven't ever suggested that! Good idea!
But there are basic rules here, too. If anyone says anything mean to or about her sister (I don't mean a complaint, I mean saying "she's a baby" or "I wish you weren't my sister"), she must then find aplogize, find an appropriate way to state her feelings, and then find something nice to say to her sister, like "You read that story really well today" or "I like the way you helped me clean up the blocks". I think this is better than punishment.
I think it's also important to note that FAIR doesn't mean EQUAL. Fair means everyone gets what s/he needs, not the same as everyone else. If you are sick, you need more of Mommy's time, so you get it. Older kids have later bedtimes, younger kids get more lap time, older kids help the younger ones. That's life.
There also needs to be a consistent example of respect shown between adults and from adult to child. Today, I saw a grandmother threaten to "smack" her grandson for being mean to his sister. How will he learn respect if no respect is shown to him? If we spank our kids for hitting a playmate or sibling, if Dad yells at Mom, if Mom calls Dad a name, if kids are yelled at for every infraction, how will kids learn how to handle conflict? Even yelling at the dog shows a lack of respect in the household. I have noticed that the calmer the adults are, the more in control of their responses, the calmer the kids are.
03-13-2008, 10:35 AM
I love the "Fair doesn't always mean equal."
03-14-2008, 12:56 PM
Even though my boys sometimes do fight I absolutely agree arguing is a much better word. I will definitely change it in my blog. Also, I have to absolutely agree with the idea that parents jump in too quickly. I actually just wrote a blog about that: http:www./psychmom.typepad.com//psychmomreflections. Check it out...
04-02-2008, 02:51 PM
My daughter and son like to argue all the time too. I generally let them work it out on their own, and learn cause and effect. For example, if my daughter trips my son while he is walking by, for no reason, then when he catches her laying on the floor watching tv, he plops his butt down on her and won't get up, then I tell her, "Brother didn't like it when you tripped him either. Treat him how you want him to treat you." Now if he tries to take it further than that, then I intervene. The toy rule is a little different though, if one of them picks up a toy and then the other one wants it, whoever has it gets to play with it until they want to play with something else, but they can't hold it and not play with it just so he other can't play with it. Since neither one of them have long attention spans and each of them have a few toys that are just 'theirs' it works for us.
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