Children love to pull parents into their arguments. My daughters love each other tremendously, but they do bicker. And hours of sibling bickering can leave a parent feeling exhausted and frustrated.
Much of children’s bickering has one of two underlying causes: either it is a desire for parental attention or it reflects a lack of constructive problem-solving skills. Fortunately, both of these problems are correctable.
Raymond Corsini and Genevieve Pointer, authors of “The Practical Parent,” suggest three positive steps parents can take to lessen the frequency and duration of bickering:
- Send Them Out • Give the children the options of 1) separating, 2) ending the argument, or 3) taking it out to a safe place where you don’t have to hear it.
- Give Yourself a Time Out • Simply walk away. Remove yourself from the room where your children are having their spat. I’m always so curious to see my children’s reactions once they no longer have me as an audience. It may serve you to set the stage with your children, before playtime begins. To do this, let them know that you will leave the room should they begin arguing.
- Find Your “Happy Place” • If you can’t leave the room and if you can’t send them out, you’ve chosen the most challenging option. Go to your mental happy place. Hold your ground, don’t jump in to stop the arguing, or to fix the problem. Let your children work it out.
- I would add that parents can also mediate the conflict in such a way as to teach appropriate conflict-resolution skills in the moment.
Coaching Inquiries: When your children are arguing, what are your tendencies? What do your typical reactions teach your children? What problem solving skills do your children frequently use?
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
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