All posts tagged sibling rivalry

Siblings Part 3: Tips To Bring More Joy

stop the fighting

Watching your kids play nicely together, hearing a shared giggle, watching a potential fight averted, because of some savvy negotiating between your 6 and 8 year old is just about every parent’s idea of a dream come true. But raising kids who truly enjoy each other is a process that takes years. It’s important that parents recognize that building on small moments, bringing a child’s awareness to the moments that “work” with a sometimes pesky sibling, providing situations in which kids can practice solving problems around play, will go a long way in creating sibling relationships that will stay strong and loving for years to come.

Personally, I made the decision when my kids were young, that if I could choose between kids who got along between 2 – 18 and kids who were close from 18 to 80, my choice would be the later. One of the major trip ups for parents around kids getting along when they are young, is the belief that we parents are responsible for those relationships. Maybe if we did more of one thing or less of another, we could guarantee our kids would be each other’s best friends for life – pinky swear. But nothing could be further from the truth. Take a page from your adult experience and trust that by following these easy but powerful 10 tips, you will indeed raise kids who truly enjoy each other’s company more with each passing year. And yes, you will witness this before they leave home.

appreciate

1. Appreciations: Just like suggesting to someone who has a head ache that they drink water, before they run to the doctor for an MRI, using appreciations as a way to combat sibling squabbles is often overlooked because of it’s simplicity. But as a mom who raised 5 kids in a blended family dynamic, this was the key to my kids not only enjoying life together under one roof, but the reason the 5 of them are still as thick as thieves as young adults.

2. Adler’s Golden Rule: “ I use Adler’s “see with their eyes, hear with their ears and feel with their heart” to help my children understand a sibling they are struggling with. Inevitably, there is a moment of empathy and awareness, which translates into a more relaxed and accepting dynamic. This has become the foundation for conversations when one sibling is struggling with another’s choice of behavior.” Mother of 4 children, ages 7 – 16.

sibling rivalry, ignore behaviors

3. No Blood – No Break – No Foul: “I stay out of every single squabble that doesn’t include blood or break. And yes, it’s tough. Especially in public. It’s easy for parents to get pulled into the tussle and as soon as I’m there, I can see the entire dynamic change. It’s no longer an opportunity for my kids to work together to solve the problem, it’s about me trying to decide who needs to change or do something different and the relationship between the kids takes a psychic hit. I would say, that at this point, my kids spend less than 10% of their time squabbling for more than just a few minutes. They have strategies that work for almost every occasion, including walking away, writing it on the problem board, negotiating and sometimes, just throwing themselves down on the ground and hoping for a sympathetic sibling to concede the toy.” Mother of 3 children, under the age of 5

4. Use Reality as your Guide: “I had kids who were very physical and it really concerned me. I thought that the fighting defined the relationship and it scared me. Over time, as I learned to watch the kids in other situations, I realized that they had a high degree of respect for each other and often times worked together in ways that I overlooked. I think it’s important for parents to really challenge their beliefs about what it means for kids to enjoy each other because truly, I think it can sometimes be a bit Polly-Anna. And today, my kids are as close as any siblings I know.” Mother of 3 children, ages 25 – 19

5. Get an accurate idea of how often your kids get along and how they “do” getting along. Most parents admit that when challenged to do this, they recognize that the kids get along more then they give them credit for. So take a deep breath and relax. Remember to acknowledge when the kids are working together or enjoying each other and be specific so they can use this information again and again.

6. Give them a break from each other. Even kids can get sick and tired of hanging with the same folks for too long. Sometimes it’s that simple. Allow them time alone, with other friends, with parents one-on-one and don’t get caught up in the “it’s not fair” song and dance.

7. If you have friends with older kids (like young teens) leverage them. They can teach your kids the importance of getting along with their siblings in a way that we, the parents, can’t. Hearing a story from a 10, 13 or 16 year old about how awesome they think their sibling is, or a time when their sibling came to their rescue, can go along way in helping shift your child’s perspective towards their pesky sibling.

8. Stop fretting. Most kids do enjoy each other. They might not show it the way you want them too, but they are young, they are doing the best they can. Allow the relationship to grow over time, slowly and naturally. Watch that you aren’t comparing or judging and that your expectations are in line with reality.

9. Keep your own childhood out of the picture. You aren’t raising yourself and over compensating for a lousy relationship with your sister will only guarantee that your kids struggle to create meaningful relationships with each other. If you model for your kids what a healthy relationship looks like, sounds like and feels like, they have a much better chance of establishing a healthy one with their siblings. Trying to force kids to get along usually back fires and causes more fractures not less.

10. Take pictures of the times people are enjoying each other and post them around the house. When kids start to squabble, bring them over to a picture and ask them to remind you of what was happening in the action. Along with this, make sure appreciations during Family Meetings includes when kids are rockin it out together. Remember, whatever you pay attention too – you get more of.

jens kids

Remember to pace yourself. It’s not nearly as important to have young children who have developed the skills which makes it possible for us to get along with people day in and day out for years, as it is to help them build a strong foundation that will grow with them over time and solidify the relationship they have with their brothers and sisters.

Sibling Rivalry: A Parent’s Role

mom with duct dape zip itMany parents suspect that they have something to do with all the fighting, but they simply can’t figure out what that something is. If they knew, they’d avoid it all together.

Well, here’s the deal. Your kids are often fighting for you. Hard to believe, but true. Think about it – how many times have you left the room when the kids were fighting and they were kind enough to bring the fight to you? Exactly. They fight for you.

And as they follow us around the house, the fighting escalates, and as a reaction to the rising level of agitation, our (likely unconscious) idea of the “right” parenting strategy is to start talking to them about stopping. And because they generally ignore us, we start to get frustrated and then angry and then downright ticked off at them and before long, our voices have escalated into a scream (and, huh, that sounds just like their fighting, doesn’t it?). Exactly. They wanted us to join the party. And here we are wearing a party hat, waving our hands at the tiny little hosts.

And so we go from wanting nothing to do with this little shindig to dressing up and responding, YES! When we join in like this (even though we didn’t want to), we say “I will give you my undivided attention when you fight. I will stop what I am doing, start yelling at you to stop and even allow my emotions to get the best of me.”

What kid wouldn’t fight for the chance to control mom or dad— not only into attending but becoming the entertainment? Silly right? Ready to RSVP “No” to the next invitation?

Five Tips to End Sibling Rivalry

It’s the Simple Things that Trip us Up

Let’s say you’re having one of those June-Cleaver-would-croak-if-she-saw-you moments. Your kids are rowdy, screeching and tearin’ the place apart. You look into the mirror and say, “If only they could get along and end this sibling rivalry my life would be bliss.” (Yeah right ☺).

Screaming and fighting happens. Sometimes it’s as simple as a child who is over tired or hungry. Maybe it’s the time of day that triggers a fisticuffs between siblings. And truth is, sometimes it’s something more. But before you spend too much time probing, rule out the simple reasons kids can go at each other without provocation.

With a little preemptive planning, you can cut off the small ‘skirmishes’ that pop-up and drain your energy leaving you feeling more like Lizzy Borden than Mrs. Cleaver.

Here’s how you find that mommy bliss and get back to your buntcake and bonbons:

  • Stop and think: Is there a simple reason the kids are fighting? Do they just need food? Offer it without engaging.
  • Notice the rhythm of your children’s behaviors. Redirect the energy BEFORE the “He hit me, no I didn’t” song starts to play on full blast (on repeat).
  • Zip your mouth, ma. The “telling them” and trying to “get them” to get along doesn’t work. Ignore it and find something productive to do instead. And if you invite them into an activity that seems more interesting that the fight, they are bound to check it out.
  • Stay Out Of It. It’s that simple. Don’t care. Don’t get annoyed. Don’t listen to the tattles. Don’t correct the kids. It’s none of your business. (Of course, if they are in harm’s way, do what you have to). Put your headphones on if need be and sing away. You’d be surprised how many kids will give up a fist fight when they hear a parents singing to Talking Heads.
  • Give them something else to do. AHHHH – There’s the rub. Most parents aren’t sure WHAT ELSE TO DO – so they return to the old ways….

Fighting can be avoided with a little investigation, a bit of redirecting and a willingness not to make things worse. Best of all, practicing these tips over time – goes a long way to eliminating sibling rivalry.

Tips to Stop the Fighting!

Q&A with Vicki Hoefle

stop the fightingQuestion: I know many families who have kids that do not fight. Mine do. What’s the trick to stop the fighting?

Scenario: I have two kids (ages 9 and 6) who are very physical when they fight.   I’ve tried to ignore it when I can, I tell them to work it out and it still continues. They kick, scratch, squeeze and hit one another on occasion. No one has gone to the ER but they have drawn blood.

Answer: The good news is, there is no trick.  

Most families that have kids who consistently get along and do not demonstrate a high degree of physical fighting have one thing in common.  They layer their strategies and create an entire system for raising respectful kids who know how to handle frustration and how to work things out without resorting to physical fighting.  Why doesn’t every parent use this layering technique if it gets such great results?  Because like anything worth having it can be difficult in the beginning.  Here are a few tips to help you turn things around and stop the fighting.

  1. Understand that most kids fight for their parent’s attention (no not always, but enough of the time that it’s a good place to start).  What happens if you leave the room, or put headphones on?  Do they follow you?  Do they get louder?  When they tattle, what is your response?  Do you say – “Oh, wow.  That doesn’t sound fun at all?” Or, do you start playing referee and trying to help them come up with ways to solve the problem.  If you are involved in the back and forth, chances are good that some of the fighting is for your benefit.

  2. It’s easy to say to kids “work it out” but who in the world takes the time to actually teach kids how to work through conflict?  We used weekly Family Meetings to teach our kids the skill of conflict resolution, which included an emphasis on communication and it worked well.  Ask a parent you see who has kids who get along how they taught their kids to work it out.  It doesn’t mean the strategy will work in exactly the same way for you, but I bet you pick up a tip that you could try.  There are great books out there to help as well.  Start with Non-Violent Communication if you want to influence the entire family.

  3. Focus your attention on the behaviors that you want to see more of.  That doesn’t mean you praise those behaviors.  It means you notice them, acknowledge them and let the kids know, that YOU know how hard it is to walk away from a fight or to forgive a brother who is bugging you or how helpful they are and how much you enjoy their company in the kitchen, etc.  Remember that you get more of what you pay attention too, so if you want to raise kids who leverage their strengths and develop character traits that will last a lifetime, focus your attention and energy on those.

Fighting can easily become a way of life if you aren’t armed with multiple strategies for creating a peaceful and harmonious household.  It is possible though and with some thought, it can be an exciting journey.

Question:  What is your go-to strategy for teaching kids how to get along?

Fighting: Love Them? Ignore Them.

sibling rivalry, ignore behaviorsAs parents, we often feel we have to “do something” when a war is raging over a video game or a baby doll. We feel we can’t just sit there and let them fight for an hour over the remote. We can feel our blood pressure rise as things get heated and ugly. It feels like something must be done to “stop” the insanity. But what?

If your usual tactics (nagging, lecturing, yelling and punishing) aren’t working, feel free to leave them behind. They never really fix the fighting- they only delay the next blowout event. You could, on the other hand, proactively tune it out and care less about the nonsense happening in front of you.

When you decide to ignore, the game changes because they don’t know how to get you involved!

Of course, at first, a child will escalate the antics, hoping to get the usual response. The child is thinking “Hey! You! Parent! Look at me! Do something! (Don’t fall into it, it’ll eventually go away). When you STILL don’t react, the push back is even harder. Finally, once the child is convinced that mom or dad isn’t going back to useless tactics, they are required to “think” and respond differently.

Through this new dynamic, the fighting has lost its audience, stage and lighting. The show can’t go on.

The secret to ignoring a child is this: ignoring is active NOT passive. You are not ignoring them because you don’t care how they behave.

You are using every ounce of patience and theatrical ability to convince your children that you have something much more interesting to do with your time than get into their spats and tiffs. Once they realize you’ll be happy to do something else with them, the fighting, like a fire, loses its source of oxygen.

This is only the beginning.

How is sibling rivalry affecting your day to day? Have you tried ignoring? How did it go?

 

10 Tips for Kids to Enjoy Each Other

Watching your kids play nicely together, hearing a shared giggle, watching a potential fight averted, because of some savvy negotiating between your 6 and 8 year old is just about every parent’s idea of a dream come true. But raising kids who truly enjoy each other is a process that takes years. It’s important that parents recognize that building on small moments, bringing a child’s awareness to the moments that “work” with a sometimes pesky sibling, providing situations in which kids can practice solving problems around play, will go a long way in creating sibling relationships that will stay strong and loving for years to come.

Personally, I made the decision when my kids were young, that if I could pick between kids who got along between 2 – 18 and kids who were close from 18 to 80, I was going with 18 to 80.

One of the major trip ups for parents around kids getting along when they are young, is the belief that we parents are responsible for those relationships. Maybe if we did more of one thing or less of another, we could guarantee our kids would be each other’s best friends for life – pinky swear. But nothing could be further from the truth. Take a page from your adult experience and trust that by following these easy but powerful 10 tips, you will indeed raise kids who truly enjoy each other’s company more with each passing year. And yes, you will witness this before they leave home.

    1. Mother of 4 children, ages 16 – 7: I use Adler’s “see with their eyes, hear with their ears and feel with their heart” to help my children understand a sibling they are struggling with. Inevitably, there is a moment of empathy and awareness which translates into a more relaxed and accepting dynamic. This has become the foundation for conversations when one sibling is struggling with another’s choice of behavior.

    2. Mother of 3 children under the age of 5: I stay out of every single squabble that doesn’t include blood or break. And yes, it’s tough. Especially in public. It’s easy for parents to get pulled into the tussle and as soon as I’m there, I can see the entire dynamic change. It’s no longer an opportunity for my kids to work together to solve the problem, it’s about me trying to decide who needs to change or do something different and the relationship between the kids takes a psychic hit. I would say, that at this point, my kids spend less than 10% of their time squabbling for more than just a few minutes. They have strategies that work for almost every occasion, including walking away, writing it on the problem board, negotiating and sometimes, just throwing themselves down on the ground and hoping for a sympathetic sibling to concede the toy.


    3. Mother of 3 children, ages 25 – 19: I had kids who were very physical and it really concerned me. I thought that the fighting defined the relationship and it scared me. Over time, as I learned to watch the kids in other situations, I realized that they had a high degree of respect for each other and often times worked together in ways that I overlooked. I think it’s important for parents to really challenge their beliefs about what it means for kids to enjoy each other because truly, I think it can sometimes be a bit Polly-Anna. And today, my kids are as close as any siblings I know.

    4. Put them to work. Yes, this is what I did. Each time my kids began to squabble I gave them some kind of challenge that required they put their heads together, pool their resources and give up the fight in order to get the job done (and most of the jobs I made up required several hands or legs to complete, but were not difficult in nature). When the task was completed, or when I saw them working together, I took a snapshot of the moment and brought their attention to it. Over the years, this became the kids litmus test. They could recall all the times they worked together and very few of the times they fought.

    5. Get an accurate idea of how often your kids get along and how they “do” getting along. Most parents admit that when challenged to do this, they recognize that the kids get along more then they give them credit for. So take a deep breath and relax. Remember to acknowledge when the kids are working together or enjoying each other and be specific so they can use this information again and again.

    6. Give them a break from each other. Even kids can get sick and tired of hanging with the same folks for too long. Sometimes it’s that simple. Allow them time alone, with other friends, with parents one-on-one and don’t get caught up in the “it’s not fair” song and dance.

    7. If you have friends with older kids (like young teens) leverage them. They can teach your kids the importance of getting along with their siblings in a way that we, the parents, can’t. Hearing that it’s important to get along with your brother or sister from someone your child “admires” goes a long way in helping them consider the validity of the advice.

    8. Stop fretting. Most kids do enjoy each other. They might not show it the way you want them too, but they are young, they are doing the best they can. Allow the relationship to grow over time, slowly and naturally. Watch that you aren’t comparing or judging.

    9. Keep your own childhood out of the picture. You aren’t raising yourself and over compensating for a lousy relationship with your sister will only guarantee that your kids struggle to create meaningful relationships with each other. Find a good therapist to help you work through your issues and leave the kids to create their own – just kidding – kinda.

    10. Take pictures of the times people are enjoying each other and post them around the house. When kids start to squabble, bring them over to a picture and ask them to remind you of what was happening in the action. Along with this, make sure appreciations during Family Meetings includes when kids are rockin it out together. Remember, whatever you pay attention too – you get more of.

Remember to pace yourself. It’s not nearly as important to have young children who have developed the skills which makes it possible for us to get along with people day in and day out for years, as it is to help them build a strong foundation that will grow with them over time and solidify the relationship they have with their brothers and sisters.

How to Break the Cycle of Fighting

siblings fighting

After 25 years in the field of Parent Education, countless hours spent talking with other professionals in the field of Family Dynamics and having raised five children who are now successfully launched and are good friends with each other. I continue to stand strong in my conviction that there are three reasons parents struggle to bring peace and harmony into the home. In fact, many of the strategies used by well meaning parents actually hurt rather than help the relationship between siblings

There are basically three major reasons kids fight, either with each other or with their parents:

1. Kids fight because parents focus on GETTING kids to get along with each other.

Are you, as a parent, doing any of the following?

  • Telling the kids to be NICE to each other
  • Telling the kids how important it is to treat each other with respect.
  • Saying things like “we are a family that treats each other with kindness and understanding.”
  • Saying things like – “You are so lucky to have a brother or sister and you should show each other that every day.” And they look at you like – What are you talking about – I didn’t ask for a sibling – that was your idea.

Listen, if talking to our kids about being nice worked, the world would be full of siblings who strolled down the sidewalk hand in hand. But the truth is, this tactic is wasted on children who could care less about the intrinsic value of being nice to each other.

2. Kids fight for their parents. Oh yes they do. And as parents, we already know this somewhere down deep. Think about it – how often have you left the room when the kids were fighting and they were kind enough to bring the fight to you? Exactly. They fight for YOU. For US.

And as they follow you around the house, the fighting escalates, and our idea of a fabulous parenting strategy is to start talking to them about STOPPING. And because they generally ignore us, we start to get frustrated and then angry and then downright ticked off at them and before long, our voices have escalated into a scream that sounds just like their fighting.

And the message we send to the kids is this –

“I will give you my undivided attention when you fight. I will stop what I am doing, starting yelling at you to stop and even allow my emotions to get the best of me.”

What kid WOULDN’T fight just for the chance to experience a moment of complete control over their parents??

3. Kids fight because parents are doing for their kids what their kids could do for themselves.

And NOTHING breads fighting like kids who are:

  • Bored because they are waited on.
  • Discouraged because they are treated as if they are incompetent and unable to manage their own lives.

Kids fight. While this is a natural part of life, you can create a balance between natural sibling conflict and siblings who not only get along, but actually enjoy each others’ company.

This week, I challenge concerned parents to observe themselves and consider the following;

  • Are you guilty of telling the kids to get along or work it out, and if so, how often do you resort to this ineffective tool for creating sibling harmony?
  • Are you guilty of getting sucked into their fights when they tattle, cry loudly or scream from the other or chase you down the hall as you try to escape? And, have you noticed that this might be making things worse as one child or another tells you that you are playing favorites, or you don’t understand or you like his brother more than you like him?
  • Are you guilty of doing too much for your kids? In fact, you have noticed that when you are busy cooking, doing laundry, picking up the mudroom, etc., the kids are busy fighting. Are you willing to consider that if the kids were more involved in the running of the home, they would have less time to fight with each other?

Before you introduce any strategy into your family, it’s important, no imperative, that you understand exactly what is going on. Many parents throw solutions at problems without really understanding the dynamics of the problem. Instead of wasting your time, and a potentially awesome solution, take this week and observe yourself using these three prompts and by the time you are finished gathering information about what’s really going on, I will publish a post that offers some reliable solutions to bring you a bit of relief from the sibling squabbles.

Stop the Fighting

sibling-rivalryThe news media, blogging world, and twitters alike have all had a lot to say about Madlyn Primoff, the New York mother of two squabbling tweener girls who dropped them off on the side of road and drove off without them. For those of you who would rather save yourself the time, the trouble, and the hassle that that decision may cause, this post is for you.

Listen, nobody wants to drop their kids off on the side of the road because the fighting has gotten so bad that it is a danger to drive, but I say bravo for at least keeping the other drivers’ safety in mind.

What occurs to me is this:

Kids fight. Parents accept that this is a natural part of life. And to a certain extent, I agree. But come on, when a 10- and 12-year-old can’t get along in a car for a 30-minute drive home, something’s wrong.
It IS possible to create a balance between natural sibling conflict and siblings who get along. It IS possible to live in a peaceful house, with children who respect and love each other. What does it take? It takes time—a little training—and faith, with a capital F.

I’m gonna cut to the chase here because it seems unduly cruel to make you read through a bunch of crap to get to a few ideas that have worked for a mother of five (now teens), who are not all biologically related. First I want to say this:

  • My children are average, everyday kids. Nothing special about them.
  • I am an average, everyday mother. Nothing special about me.

But I figured out, a long time ago, that fighting isn’t usually because kids “can’t stand each other”, and although this isn’t where it starts, if it goes on long enough, it is where you end. So here it is, a mother with 20 years’ field experience, sharing a few things that can make life more pleasant and save you from bloggers around the country trashing you because you made a decision that seemed downright brilliant at the time, and regrettable 12 hours later.

PROBLEM: If you are still trying to GET your kids to get along, you are wasting your time. In fact, you are making things worse. I could write an entire book on this topic alone.

SOLUTION: All I can say is this: STOP! Your children are more than their fighting. As soon as you start to notice all the other things they are, the fighting will start to diminish. Hey, don’t knock it until you try it.

PROBLEM: Kids fight for their parents. Yes—they do.

SOLUTION: Just watch what happens when you act like you don’t notice and walk out of the room or you find something more interesting to pay attention to. Either the fight follows you—told you—or it stops (told you again). Now, I will say here, that the longer the kids have been at it, the more invested in it they are, so don’t be surprised if things get worse before they get better. But here’s the thing, if this is the way you connect to your kids (talking, reminding, yelling, and threatening are all forms of negative connection), then your kids are not going to give up the fighting, without someone offering them another way to connect with their parents in a positive way.

PROBLEM: The number one reason kids fight is this: Parents doing things for their children that they could do themselves, and as a result, 1) the kids start to question their own ability to do ANYTHING well besides fight with a sibling; and 2) the kids are bored beyond belief because instead of being trained on how to manage their lives, which would keep them busy for years, they have nothing to do but start picking on the person closest to them.

SOLUTION: Invite, Train, Encourage and Support your children, as they begin to engage in navigating the hills and valleys of their own lives. When you put your time and energy into this endeavor, and you find yourself and your children enthusiastic, excited and connected around this whole NEW relationship, the fighting seems much less INTERESTING to your kids.

Yes, I know it sounds too good to be true, but that doesn’t mean it is. I know. This is my big secret weapon (thanks go to Dr. Alfred Adler for this).

Stop the Fighting

Stop the Fighting“The other day, my oldest child was building this wonderful tower with wooden blocks. It had symmetry and interesting little nooks and crannies. Then my youngest child walked by and knocked it over with a single blow. A boo-boo lip and tears followed…” Sound familiar?

If you have more than one child, you have dealt with sibling rivalry. Some of us may have more experience with it than others, but all of us have (or will have) the unpleasant experience of listening to children argue, whine, cry… you know where I’m going with this!

The most common question we hear among parents is, ”Why do my children fight?”
It could be as simple as this:

Your child…

  • Is hungry, tired or bored
  • Is trying to define his- or herself as an individual within the family
  • Wants an equal amount of attention from you (and fighting sure does get your attention!)
  • Is trying to show power
  • Doesn’t understand that “peace” is a family value
  • Is feeling stress, OR, what is more likely, is reacting to YOUR level of stress.

While it may be important to have a handle on why your children are arguing, what you DO about the fighting is MORE important.

“My middle child is always looking for attention. The other day she walked right over to my oldest child while he was playing a video game and unplugged it! Of course he started to yell at her, she started crying, and then…”

When the children are fighting—as long as no one is getting hurt—do your best to stay out of the fight. Let them work it out. It might seem hard to “do nothing,” but intervening will only cause the fight to escalate, and you may end up entering the conflict as a yelling, lecturing participant.

Change comes about by implementing proactive strategies that focus on what we WANT, not on what we don’t want.

These include:

  • Using your Road Map to identify where you are and where you want to go, i.e. from yelling, screaming, and fighting to peace and quiet.
  • Creating a plan on how you as a family will get there, which might include:
  • Paying attention to the time of day the arguing occurs and taking care of your children’s basic needs first.
    • Giving each child unique time and attention (not just equal time).
    • Teaching and modeling positive ways to interact; for toddlers, this means trading toys instead of grabbing, and for older kids, this means expressing how they feel without judging the other person.
    • Making sure each of your children have their own time and space.
    • Really LISTENING to your children when they talk to you and to each other.
  • Discussing family values and creating your mission statement as a way to refocus energy from fighting to cooperation.
  • Noticing progress and improvement, and acknowledging this at your next family meeting.

Using these techniques can help you create an atmosphere of compromise, respect, and cooperation in your family.

“When my children were in high school they fought horribly, and they couldn’t have been more different. My oldest was top of her class in sports, grades, and honors, while my middle and youngest couldn’t get into enough trouble! Today, my oldest is a lawyer, my middle is a teacher, and my youngest owns his own business. They are all successes, and more importantly, they are close. What more could a parent ask for?

Conflict is a normal part of life, and any solution you try will take time. Be patient! Not only can these steps help you get through the day, they are an investment in your family’s future.