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How much sibling "stuff" am I supposed to ignore?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
It's driving me crazy! I have two boys, 3 and 5, wonderful, active, creative, constantly going. They love to be together and play together all the time, and very well together, coming up with new games, pretending, etc.

BUT... every minute there is some problem - one of them is frustrated with the other one who's teasing, or someone is on top of the other sqooshing him because he's annoyed, or the younger one scratches at his older brother out of frustration, or the older one chases the younger out of the livingroom and into another room that's not safe (bathroom, kitchen). Sometimes they go a good 5-10 minutes with no incident, and some afternoons (like NOW) it's every minute!! I can't stand to let people hurt each other. So every minute I'm saying "is there a problem?", or "what's happening in here?" or I ask each one what happened, or I say "everybody stay in your own space and don't touch each other"... or something. I've read Siblings Without Rivalry and I aim for the general approach of not taking sides or solving their problems for them - but I can't just ignore someone yelling in pain because the other jumped on him! What am I supposed to say or do?

I try to have them be in different rooms when things are really not going well - but they want to be together. Today they lasted about 7 minutes before they were together again.

I keep trying to get them outside but still nobody is putting on shoes and going. And it's such a nice day! I can't ALWAYS insist on it by getting all bossy and chasing them down and start putting shoes on for them. (And really, they will be out for 10-15 minutes tops, before they want to come in or start bothering each other.)

OK, so this is just a long rambling general question - am I supposed to be just ignoring all this brother stuff (it would be easier on me... but irresponsible, right?!)? How do you not go insane, and get anything done around the house like this?? Some days seem so easy and they're just getting along but some days....
post #2 of 16
Mine are younger than yours, but they seem to be going at each other all the time, too. I get so sick of being referee. With them being this young (almost 1 and 2 1/2) I have to be. Ugh. No help, just commiseration!
post #3 of 16


I hear you!!!
post #4 of 16
My boys are almost 5.5 and 3. I probably get involved more then I should in thier spats. I TRY to give them tools to solve the problem on thier own rather then solving it for them. Some of my better moments:

DS2: <runs screaming to me and tattles on brother>
Me: Did you like that?
DS2: NO!
Me: Go tell your brother- "I don't like when you _______!"
DS2 TO DS1: I DON'T LIKE THAT!
DS1: sorry...

DS1 is in a snatchy phase where he grabs the toy before asking for it. I have him give it back and ask and of course DS2 does not want to give it up so we work on asking nicely for "a turn" and DS2 can say" in a minute" or "when I'm done" etc.

I also try to work with them on treating others how they want to be treated. This is a big theme lately- I try to get them to name how they would feel if someone treated them that way (sad, hurt, angry, etc) and then say "how do you think it makes your brother feel?"

When I'm trying not to get as involved I usually try to encourage them to use thier words- listen to the other's words. Or I say- "It sounds like there is a problem- do you need my help or can you solve it together?"
post #5 of 16
Generally the parents i know with children who are respectful to their sibling do intervene and re-establish family boundaries when a child crosses them in regard to a sibling. I know parents who do this in a calm, very consistent way focusing on the family value involved, not so much blame/punishment, and the kids seem to more or less treat each other well (family I'm thinking of had two boys same ages as yours). I have seen it backfire when parents get involved with lots of emotion and anger/blame. That just fosters resentment.

I only have one child so I can't give any personal experience!
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kristac View Post
When I'm trying not to get as involved I usually try to encourage them to use thier words- listen to the other's words. Or I say- "It sounds like there is a problem- do you need my help or can you solve it together?"
I like that. I'll use it!
Thanks for the commisseration all... the comment about being too blamey and emotional has me thinking. It's probably true. And probably too many times if I see one doing something to the other (so I KNOW who to "blame") I take action like separating that one to another room. Is that wrong??
post #7 of 16
Mine are 2 yrs apart and play together all the time. I find that when I hear a problem I send them both to their rooms and tell them they can come out when they can make things right with each other. If I stay calm this almost always works. they just turned 5 and 7 and really love each other.
If I see something blatant that one did to the other I have to deal with just that child. Just try not to let it get to you.
Sometimes their fights seem terrible and then they are best pals again with out any intervention from me, then I praise them for working it out. Its getting so much easier as they are older and can communicate.
post #8 of 16
ME TOO!!!

I have a 5 & 3 1/2yo...... play well together and next second they're fighting. Just had this conversation (your question) last night with dh. Everyone says to 'pick your battles'.... well, which ones??????

How many times a day day I have to say "don't hit?" Maybe it's boys.... they play really well, fight, and back to playing. I wish I had an answer for you, but I'm going through the same thing! Hugs...
post #9 of 16
We have similar issues here with my 4 & 2 1/2 year old. I ignore the *small stuff*, basically anything that ends on it's own within a minute that didn't involve hitting or attempted/actual biting. (Remember, there's a 2 1/2 year old.)

I usually end up getting involved when (a) my preschooler starts whining about what's going on or (b) my toddler hit or tried to bite. What I do is if (a), then I encourage him to tell her he doesn't like what's going on, ask her to stop, etc. If that doesn't work (it's a 50/50 chance which I consider good odds) then I will come ask her to stop.

It it's (b) then she goes straight to her room, we don't tolerate any physical violence here or attempts at it, even though it's considered normal behaviour to some for toddlers. I'll talk to her after a minute or two, and she will give her brother a hug and apologize.

Then we're good until the next tiff.
post #10 of 16
It sounds like outside time would help. How about instead of asking/suggesting outside time say something like who's going to chase mom out the door? Get some sidewalk chalk, bubbles, balls, take a walk, etc to keep them active for a bit
post #11 of 16
i have two 4 year olds, boys, and *boy* do i know what you mean! it might not be as frequent as every minute, but they do their share of bickering, antagonizing, whining, and even hitting when its gotten really bad.

i leave them to themselves for the most part, but when i do need to intervene, like if one takes something from the other, or they are fighting over something i use the script from siblings without rivalry about fighting: 'this is a tough problem. 2 boys and 1 toy. hmmmm....i am sure you can find a solution that makes both of you happy. and then i remove myself from the room. that typically works.

if i find that they are just not getting along i usually change their scene. some things i have done: get them a snack. play some sort of game. have tea time (or snack) and play uno or some other card game. all of us go outside. once i got them notebooks and crayons and told them we were going out, but wouldn't tell them where. that got them excited about the possibility of an adventure and we all had fun. we made rubbings of different tree bark. or that was the intention, they did all sorts of other rubbings and then we ended up at the neighbors house playing hide and seek and swinging. good times.

i have found that time with me, doing something FUN minimizes the squabbling. or reduces it anyway.

*most* of the time i can trace their violent behavior (like the hitting) to them feeling powerless. i can't think right now of a specific example, but i'm sure you know what i mean. couple that feeling of powerlessness with not having eaten enough or gotten enough sleep and its no good for anyone.

good luck. it sure can be tough sometimes, can't it??
post #12 of 16
Didn't get a change to read responses, but wanted to mention a really GREAT book on the subject. "Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me". LOVED it. I have 3 girls, 5, 4, and 3 and they are constantly bickering and tattling and I stay out of most of it. I ask them to use their words and tell their sister how it made them feel. They work it out 9 out of 10 times. Definitely read that book.
post #13 of 16
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you. I will get "Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me" from the library if they have it. And there's a lot to think about from other posts as well. I wish I could just spend all the time engaging them and playing with them and chaperoning them outside. So maybe I'm supposed to do that. I'm sure I should do it more. I have so much to DO to catch up on house stuff and I'm finally making that a bit more of a priority, so it's frustrating when I feel I can't leave them in a room by themselves for more than a couple minutes. I used to not have dishes/cleaning be a priority at ALL but dh is not too keen on that setup and I'm trying to raise my house standards a bit.... and really, after a few years of intense parenting I've started to resent never feeling I can do anything for myself, so now I steal moments to be on MDC, a chunk of time to eat breakfast & coffee in the morning, and to hopefully get some cleaning done. Maybe my expectations are too high for their ages still, and I have to go back to being "on top" of them.

Any other input still appreciated....... and knowing there are others in the same boat is comfort as well.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by reezley View Post
Thank you. I will get "Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me" from the library if they have it. And there's a lot to think about from other posts as well. I wish I could just spend all the time engaging them and playing with them and chaperoning them outside. So maybe I'm supposed to do that. I'm sure I should do it more. I have so much to DO to catch up on house stuff and I'm finally making that a bit more of a priority, so it's frustrating when I feel I can't leave them in a room by themselves for more than a couple minutes. I used to not have dishes/cleaning be a priority at ALL but dh is not too keen on that setup and I'm trying to raise my house standards a bit.... and really, after a few years of intense parenting I've started to resent never feeling I can do anything for myself, so now I steal moments to be on MDC, a chunk of time to eat breakfast & coffee in the morning, and to hopefully get some cleaning done. Maybe my expectations are too high for their ages still, and I have to go back to being "on top" of them.

Any other input still appreciated....... and knowing there are others in the same boat is comfort as well.
i hear you so loud! (including the resentment) i struggle so bad with the balance of house/kids/self. i have found a good deal of inspiration/motivation from the flylady. i haven't really found my 'groove' yet, but i'm fluttering along. and it does help to have some routines.
post #16 of 16
OP, I am in the exact same boat. Boys ages 3 and 4, near constant fighting. For us, there is very little physical fighting or even rough-housing, it's almost all verbal. My 3yo is head strong and stubborn and my 4yo is sensitive and BOSSY. I read "Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me" and loved it. The thing is, that for kids this little, you absolutely have to give them the tools they need to work stuff out before just leaving them alone and letting them sort through it. At this young age, I'm really trying to get my kids to tell the other person how they feel about what happened and reconcile. We are working on this:


Mom, R did ______ whaaaaaa!
Me: Tell him, When you do ________, it makes me feel ________. Please stop.

Unless he's hysterical, he will say this and brother will apologize. But it's hard once it gets to a certain point and everyone is just so upset. I often end up using threats of separating them, which they seem to actually want, but then they WILL NOT stay away from each other for more than 10 minutes!

It is so hard to listen to them be so hurtful with their words. My 4yo is really into saying that he is bigger, faster, stronger, etc. Or I'm first! is a big one right now. I just hate it. I don't know how to get him to stop.

I feel for you, and can't wait to hear from some more experienced moms
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