Archive for the ‘Siblings’ Category

C

Is everyone singing the same song or does it feel sometimes like you are all out of tune? How to get in sync with one another to create a happier, more connected household.

David has asked to stop and use the bathroom. This is not an unreasonable request: We are, after all, on an eight-hour road trip, and he is after all, 6 years old. Ah, but the bells are tolling, tolling, tolling out the death of everything good and right in the world because David we stopped at a rest stop not even ten minutes ago. But of course, when we stopped he said that he did not have to go. I didn’t, he says apologetic.

I turn around and look at him. His little face is like a deflating souffle; he is literally wringing his hands. His brother, Joe, 8, is scrunched into the corner of his seat as if my withering look is a deadly ray gun that must be evaded. I am the parent from everybody’s childhood memories, the one who was angry with you for being little. I am also the clown parent in a family circus, and I am juggling juice boxes and a broken flip-flop, and the falling balls of my own sanity. Impatience is fizzing up in me. We are never going to get there. We are never going to get anywhere. We are just going to stop and use the bathroom, over and over, like we are in an existential French play about a road trip in hell.

I can not believe we are going to get off the highway again. The rest of the family sighs and they say, “He just needs to use the bathroom and yes should have probably gone before but whatever.” He needs to go now. It is as simple as that or almost because it is a weirdly hard principle to learn. People are different from you, and the more gracefully you can deal with the fact, the better. That is harmony, in a nutshell. Check out this wonderful children’s book on love and harmony, I Love You Through And Through.

Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Harmony

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Do you get sick of saying, “Be nice to your brother?” Show it instead. Make a heart out of construction paper. Every time your daughter treats her sibling badly, hand her the paper heart, then walk away. No lecture, no yelling, just a visual that will tell the story. Another, all-purpose option: a discreet thumbs up or thumbs down, or even a zip it motion across your lips. Most importantly, be consistent with these actions. See our previous post on drama. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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heart

When you finish X, you may enjoy Y.

As is the case in just about every household I know with kids, no two weekdays look alike. But every day, at some point, I allow my kids to watch one TV show. It is the some point that causes the problem. My first grader, David, has difficulty figuring out when he is going to be allowed his precious TV time. Every day, the minute we walk into the house, whether it is 2 P.M. or 6 P.M., he wants to know “When can I watch TV?” And I can not stand the daily barrage of begging, whining, and pleading that inevitably leads me to say no over and over again.

This is where I instituted the when/then strategy. When all the must do activities are finished, then David can have TV time. Because David’s TV time also depends in part on his siblings’ commitments, I lay out the full schedule for the day for him. “Jenna has gymnastics today, so when we get home from dropping her off, you and Joe need to clean up the playroom, and then yes you can watch a TV show.

Once David has the information for the day, he does not feel insecure about whether TV is going to happen or not. He is no longer constantly checking in with me because he now knows exactly what needs to happen, and I find I am saying yes a lot more often. I am successfully using when/then at other tricky times of the day too. For instance, when you brush your teeth, then we can read a book together and at mealtime when the dinner plates are cleared, then we will serve dessert. Here you can check out part 1 of this series.

Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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tv

So after careful consideration and realizing that I do have good, generally well-behaved children. I am not struggling with any major issues with my kids, just normal everyday stuff. Still, I must confess that sometimes I can not handle all of their requests, and saying “no” works. Simply saying no or barking orders about what kids should be doing can be expedient in the moment. However, it does not foster their sense of capability or independence and can make the situation ripe for power struggles. If I want to achieve the goal of being more positive, I would have to give more power and responsibility over to my kids. Positive discipline does not mean that kids always get their way or that you say yes to everything. It means giving kids opportunities to have some age appropriate control over their own world, within the firm and loving boundaries you feel comfortable with. Sounds like a good plan, right? In our upcoming posts, we will give you 3 strategies to use when you struggle with no the most. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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There are a lot of sibling conflicts that occur because younger children do not know the proper way to express what is bothering them. That is why toddlers resort to biting and hitting and older children impulsively spout statements that they don’t truly mean. (“I hate you.”) This can easily turn a minor disagreement into a huge battle. The more words that a child has to describe their feelings, the more likely they are to stay calm. So if his little sister comes by and knocks over his block tower, he can tell you, “I am angry that she ruined my project” instead of just yelling or hitting her. It is important to talk about emotions beyond happy, sad, and angry. Expressing how you feel out loud, whether it is annoyed, disappointed, or confused will teach your kids new words to express what they are feeling. This is a significant step in learning how to manage emotions.

Rather than waiting for your kids to be upset to have a discussion, take advantage of some teachable moments. When we are at the park and see other children freaking out, I always ask my boys, “What do you think she is feeling right now?” When they default to saying mad or sad, I fill in the blanks. “If my sand shovel broke, I would be pretty frustrated, wouldn’t you?”

Check out another post that ties in nicely to this one on getting along. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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emotions

I am very frustrated right now.

If you have had it up to here with your kids constant bickering, we can help you to reach a sibling cease fire.

First, there is the screaming fit over who gets to put the key in the front door lock. Then, there is the shoving over whose turn it is to sit on the window bench. Finally, there is the Disney dance party turned into WWE cage match, which ends with one of the kids shouting, “I didn’t do it!” and the other yelling, “He started it!” and me yelling, “Stop yelling!”

As the thoughts turn in my head, “I have lost control of the asylum.” The kids fight every single day: in the car, in the bathroom, in the grocery store. These 2 little boys who barely a year ago were so close, now feud like the Kardashians. Way too much of our family time is spent negotiating a truce. Yet nothing gets resolved. The next morning, the battle hymn begins and just like that they are off to the front line.

Of course, it is comforting to know we are not the only ones whose kids spar. Studies have found that kids 3-10 usually have arguments several times an hour. Whether you have girls, boys, or a mix does not matter. Most siblings squabble.

While it is true that disagreements can help brothers and sisters hone their social skills such as a negotiation and compromise, there is a downside. Frequently, intensive fighting heightens kids risk of depression and anxiety and can lower their self esteem. Battling siblings are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors, including drug use as adults.

That puts a new perspective on our latest scuffle of the day (over who owns the Lego T-shirt). It does concern me: I can not deal with another 10 years of being a referee and I do not want them growing up to be bickering, sniping, it is not fair, I hate you siblings.

It is a real possibility, though. The way your kids interact early on tends to stay consistent as they get older. Work with your kids, especially from the ages of 4-8 and help them learn to resolve differences and manage their emotions. The good news is you can change the pattern of fighting among your kids. But you have to be willing to put in the work.

Our next several posts will give you tips on ways you can help manage their behaviors and help them grow and mature. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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bickering

Can’t you just get along.