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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sibling Sunday

"Mom, she's touching me!"

"Mom, he's picking on me."

"MMOOOOMMMM - She won't share."

Arguments and complaints. It's enough to drive even the best mother to the point of screaming. It seems like no matter how hard you try to prevent these spats, your children still find a reason to argue. Then they want you, the all knowing mom, to referee and decide who is the injured party in the argument. Of course, this is a no-win situation because no matter how you view the situation somebody will be upset with you for siding with the other child.

You know you can't win if you get involved in the argument, so what do you do to end the fighting without entangling yourself in the midst of the storm?

One of the best solutions I have seen was printed in one of the parenting magazines recently. I can't really recall which magazine it was in, but I remember this because I plan to actively incorporate this tactic when my girls get older. It is particularly useful for those days when you have been out with the children and they have continually argued throughout the day. When you return home, tell your children that they are to go directly to their room. It matters not if they share a room or have separate rooms. Let them know that you will be in to talk to them in a few minutes. After you have had some time to calm down, go into their room and explain how the rest of the day will go. Tell your child that she is not to leave her room for any reason except to use the bathroom. She will spend the rest of the evening in her room. Explain that her dinner will be brought to her and she will eat in her room. This goes for all children who were involved in the day long arguing. As you leave, tell your child that you have now solved your own problem and it is up to them to solve their problems between the two of them.

If you recall, the very popular movie "The Parent Trap" incorporated this same technique when the two twins exhibited such a vast amount of hostility that the entire camp was disturbed by their antics. The camp mother sentenced them to life together in their own cabin away from the general population of the camp. When you are forced to stop and consider your own actions, perhaps you will be able to change them.

If you happen to have a tried and true method of ending the sibling wars, please share them as I expect I will need all the ammunition I can possibly get as my precious babies get older. Even the most experienced mothers know that one can never acquire too many retaliation methods.