I love watching my children grow up. What’s even more amazing is getting to watch them grow up as best friends – playing together and just enjoying each other’s quirks and differences. Watching them share their favourite toys and just generally showing love and affection towards each other as they go about their days appreciating the wonderful gift of brotherhood. Oh dear Lord, who am I kidding?? I could almost say that without coughing up a lung from laughing so hard. My boys love each other, but in a way that I love running. They appreciate the benefits from time time, it makes them feel good occasionally but it’s an e’ffing drag for the most part and its takes commitment and whole lot of dedication.
In all honesty they really do love each other fiercely. Put them on a playground with other kids and they are loyal and highly protective over each other. Well you know? “Stop bullying my brother, only I’m allowed to that!” They cannot live without each other yet there seldom goes a day without them wanting to rip each others heads off. (That’s until I discovered this amazing trick I’m about to share with you!!)
There fights are usually over the most petty things and it can be exhausting seeing these altercations escalate.Just the other day Brody had a meltdown (now there’s the understatement of the year!) telling Noah he wasn’t his friend or brother anymore because he took one of his coins from his money tin. Noah took such offence, he threw the coin back at Brody declaring with all the rage he could muster “ I hate your smelly money anyway! And anyway I don’t need any more friends, I have enough of those at school!” which, to be honest, I felt was a little uncalled for. I watched as Brody’s knees literally fell to the floor and in a dramatic scene he pushed his hands to his chest as he let out a painful cry. (Obviously from where the coin connected with his ribs , incase you were thinking he felt any sort of emotional pain to the heart.)
This must have carried on for a good twenty minutes as I watched them take turns trying to get even. I tried everything I could – I told them to stop being mean, I asked them how the other would feel if the same thing was done to them, I told them they would be sent to their bedrooms with no dinner, I called my mom to come and help, I trawled the internet for advice, I even considered pouring hot water over them the way you do to dogs to break up a fight. But eventually I just sat back and looked in horror, wondering how on God’s green earth how I could possibly want to add another one to the mix. All I could really do in that heated moment was sit back and let them go at each other, let them ride it out.
And here’s the strange and beautiful and wonderfully twisted thing – Since that day where I watched my children fight it out, I have seen a wonderful change. My children are slowly learning to resolve their issues on their own. Who would have thought!!??
You see if I think about it, every time I get involved, I get in the way – literately and figuratively! And here’s why: Most of the time I have no idea who started the World War 3 I’ve walked in on or what the real issue is. By the time I get to the fighting ring I have no idea who said what, who took what from whom or who started the name calling. Instead I shout and yell and tell them they are both little assholes and that they deserve each other. And let’s be honest, that always goes down a treat. They both get defensive and start crying and shouting each other at 1000 decibels higher than before. I then need to crank the shouting up to compete and before you know it my neighbours are reporting us for domestic disturbance.
That was last week. Now? Now I wait. I hold back. Not too long so they get away with murdering each other, but just long enough for them to try and resolve it on their own. Long enough so I don’t get pulled into the drama without it being absolutely necessary – you know, like one of threatening the other with a kitchen knife or holding each other by the neck.
You see, as much as every cell in my mommy brain tells me to get involved, sometimes it’s the worst thing for them (and my immediate neighbours). Time and time again I have pleaded with them and reasoned with them. I cannot tell you how many times I have taken matters into my own hands. But since that fateful day where I made a conscious effort to avoid getting caught in the bickering cross fire, they seem to have calmed down.They don’t rely on me to step in every 0.4 seconds to mediate the same silly fight. Since i’ve taken a step back from micromanaging their every move and disagreement, they seen to have stopped fighting as much. Can I get a Hallelujah!!
Somehow they have become better at working things out between them and although they still argue it doesn’t get to the point where they are both being threatened they won’t see another treat for the rest of the year or have all there toys sent to underprivileged kids who won’t fight over them. (I don’t really do that, what kind of sick mother would I be?)
So fellow mama’s, the next time your kids are fighting about the same old crap for the umpteenth time in a day, try this! Granted obviously that your kids are older enough to know they can’t actually kill each other over a Spiderman figurine, let them sort it out themselves. Try refrain from being all up in their grill about every little bickering fight. Instead, land your helicopter mom mentality – right in the lounge, far away from them with a hot cup of tea.
- Never make assumptions (Although Brody is the culprit 80% of the time, there is a fair chance in there it could be Noah stirring the pot)
- Tell them they need to talk nicely to each other and use their words to express their feeling. (They need to obviously be reprimanded more sternly if they use physical force with each other)
- Make rule that if they keep fighting over the same toy and can’t take turns, the toy is put into a cupboard until they can try again and learn to do so.
- If one of them has a toy the other one wants, they need to offer another toy in its place and ask if they can have a turn and swap back again later.
- Play outside as much as possible – playing indoors means they get on each others nerves more which results in petty arguing.
- Encourage them when they show kindness and good manners. I tell Brody often now how I love how he uses his words to talk nicely instead of moaning and it has literally changed our life.
- If there are special toys that the older children are only allowed to play with try and keep it for times when the younger ones are not around. Its not worth the moaning.
Any other thoughts or ideas that have worked for you?