Brother, 9 and sister, 6, fighting constantly - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-27-2014, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Brother, 9 and sister, 6, fighting constantly

I feel so upset, because I had a great time with my sister growing up, and I feel like my own kids are having such a terrible experience. They hardly ever play together. It's like they are two only children.
My son loves to read, which is great, and he plays with his lego by himself. My daughter does tons of crafts. And of course they play with their own friends. But they rarely play together. When they do interact, it's almost always fighting about something -- who got a bigger snack, who gets to sit in the corner of the sofa, etc.
My son loves to tease my daughter. She is good-tempered and calm by nature, and used to ignore it, but lately she has been getting angry and fighting back, usually scratching him. He has several horrible scratches on his face right now from their fights.
He is also an awesome kid -- he does well in school (and behaves well there), he plays sports, and he's cheerful and playful with his friends. But he's awful at home, and this cheerful, lovely kid turns into a grumpy kid with a mean streak.
Wondering if anyone has experienced something similar and has any ideas -- other than keeping them apart -- which does work -- but how sad is that?

Globetrotting mama to DS (9) and DD (6)
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#2 of 6 Old 08-27-2014, 11:20 AM
 
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How are you reacting to their fighting?

Are they ever nice or civil with each other? If so you can "catch them doing good" and give them positive attention, say something to show you noticed specifically what they did.

You can use a kindness chart:

http://www.netmums.com/parenting-sup...he-best-part-2
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#3 of 6 Old 08-28-2014, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by tadamsmar View Post
How are you reacting to their fighting?

Are they ever nice or civil with each other? If so you can "catch them doing good" and give them positive attention, say something to show you noticed specifically what they did.

You can use a kindness chart:

http://www.netmums.com/parenting-sup...he-best-part-2
I do make a point of praising my son (and daughter) when they are being nice to each other. When my son is being mean, I tell him it's not acceptable behavior in our family. But usually he just won't listen -- he'll grin and 10 seconds later, he's doing it again. I have to resort to a time out (upstairs or outside). I don't like time-outs, but he is often just relentless.


Thanks for the praise chart link. It's a good idea.

Globetrotting mama to DS (9) and DD (6)
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#4 of 6 Old 08-29-2014, 07:41 AM
 
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I admit I haven't read it yet, though it's sitting on my shelf, but I have seen Siblings Without Rivalry come highly recommended. I've read the other book by the authors (How to Talk so Kids Will Listen) and LOVED it, it has been so unbelievably helpful. There are lots of comics showing different ways to respond to certain situations. DS won't have a sibling until February, so I have until then to read SWR!


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#5 of 6 Old 08-29-2014, 07:13 PM
 
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My kids fight, but I'm not sure that all fighting is necessarily sibling rivalry. In our case, I think a lot of it is an extension of the worst of my son's behavior with other kids because it's his sister and he knows she can't stop being his sister like a friend can stop being a friend.
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#6 of 6 Old 09-01-2014, 09:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wagamama View Post
I do make a point of praising my son (and daughter) when they are being nice to each other. When my son is being mean, I tell him it's not acceptable behavior in our family. But usually he just won't listen -- he'll grin and 10 seconds later, he's doing it again. I have to resort to a time out (upstairs or outside). I don't like time-outs, but he is often just relentless.


Thanks for the praise chart link. It's a good idea.
Telling him it's not acceptable behavior can be counterproductive, particularly after you have done it 2 or 3 times already. Showing attention to and interest in a behavior tends to reinforce it so it happens again. The grinning and doing it again is evidence that your response is reinforcing the behavior. And, since he has heard it before, it's not informative to him. It's typically better to respond to good behavior by talking about why it is good than to respond to bad behavior by talking about why it's bad.

The best response to mean behavior is to take action. Or, if it's harmless, pretend to ignore.

In some situations you can take your daughter away for a few minutes and leave him where he is rather than use timeout. Sometimes that may be best.
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