when siblings suddenly start not getting along? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 04-10-2010, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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My 6 yo and 4 yo ds get along so well, they play for hours together. This is what I would have said a few weeks ago, but lately there have been a few episodes of violence- pinching, biting, etc. We've tried letting them work it out, we've tried saying, "if he's bothering you, come to me." We're trying to teach walking away. What do you do when your kids hit a rough phase and start injuring each other physically?

I think the underlying cause is probably family stress- sick baby, recent move, 6 yo is reading and wanting more time to do things on his own and 4 yo picks at him to get attention. 6 yo is also a participant, " I had to scratch him because otherwise he was going to bite me."

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#2 of 5 Old 04-10-2010, 08:54 PM
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Kids will normally go through different phases like that, I find outside time getting some energy out helps. I also recommend the book "Siblings Without Rivalry" it has good advice. You may just want to stick closer when they're playing for now to intervene if needed or calm down an escalating conflict.

Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS

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#3 of 5 Old 04-10-2010, 11:55 PM
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Yes, I think kids just go through these phases--extra stressors or not. (Though the things you mentioned are sure likely to trigger them!)

I do find it's important to do a little extra monitoring/mentoring during these times, rather than just "wait and hope it takes care of itself" just because, well, a), If it is stress, it won't go away on it's own, and I want to be there to help them work through it (positively!), and b) I think the fighting can kind of become habitual, if you know what I mean. So even after the stressors are gone, they continue to bicker just out of habit.

My girls are 6.5 and 3.5 and recently I've been having them do "replays" because I suddenly felt like there was a lot of hitting/pushing/otherwise hurting going on--like that had become the "go to" response when frustrated. I explained (again) that this isn't the way I want us to handle things, and I know we get frustrated sometimes, but we can learn to respond without hurting, and one of the ways we can do that is practice.

So when someone did hurt, I would say (kindly, and without that "no-no" type tone), "Okay, let's replay that without the hurting." Sometimes it takes a few moments for one of them to cool off, and that's fine--I don't push it if they're still angry, I know they'll come around eventually.

Anyway, it has really worked well. In the past week we went from several times a day to maybe once a day, or not at all.

Oh, and when I introduced this, to make it "fun" and kind of take the edge off the "chastisement" feeling, I told them every time they remembered to respond without hurting, they should "do a little dance" and say, "I did it! I can do it!" I didn't want it to become like a praise/reward-reinforcement type thing, I just wanted them to be able to notice themselves being frustrated but not responding violently. To be able to feel what it feels like, and to be aware that they are very capable of it. I also had them "do a little dance" after they did a replay too, so it wasn't like a conditional, "If you do good, you can do a dance, but ONLY if you do good"-type thing. Anyway, the dancing has worn off, I think they've forgotten about it, but it helped them take to the idea enthusiastically to begin with.

--Kate, home/unschooling mom two three girls (6, 3, and Tiny)
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#4 of 5 Old 04-11-2010, 12:10 AM
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I have twins and they cycle in and out of playing together nicely. We have days and weeks when they are the best of friends and days and weeks when they seem to live to torment each other. I've tried and tried and can't find anything to correlate it to. And I would try this method or that and low and behold, each time the fighting eventually stopped. And then I realized it was going to stop eventually anyway. I pretty much follow Siblings Without Rivalry, but I actually don't think it changes their behavior, it just gives me a way to cope with it so I'm not screaming. The fighting days do serve as a reminder to dh and I though that 1:1 time with each of them is a good thing, so we usually boost that when they're in the grumpies.
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#5 of 5 Old 04-11-2010, 12:22 AM
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Yeah, I would say it cycles. I'm working of memory though, me and my brother. Some days we were best friends and other days we couldn't even be in the same room.

malesling.GIFMutant Papa to DD (12)hippie.gif and DS (2)babyf.gif, married to DHribbonrainbow.gif
If it looks like I'm trying to pick a fight... I'm not, I'm rarely that obvious.hammer.gif
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