S/O fighting fighting...How would you handle this - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 4 Old 06-04-2008, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I really like the idea of trying to let the kids sovle their problems with eachother. I have always been involved in the fighting when they fight and I would like to step back a little. Here is something that happens a lot that I am not sure how to handle. Please help..

DD is 4. She has the type of personality that enjoys getting a reaction from her brother. When I do have her sit down to take breaks she laughs. If I take something from her as a consequence, she laughs. Apparently, her dad was the same way as a child.

DS is 6. He is very sensitive to every little emotion. Always has been. He tries to use his words but he does get angry fast.

I never label them like this when they can hear me. I am just explaining their personalities.

So here is the problem. I sat them down and explained to both of them that the only person we can control is ourselves. I said if someone is doing something(dancing, singing too loud, ect.) and you don't like it you can change where you are or ignore it. Well, dd finds this as a way to annoy ds whenever possible. Example:
DS- Playing with airplanes in his own area
DD- Walks up and starts dancing around him
DS- Asks nicely "Alyx that is in my space could you move"
DS- Moves planes to new area
DD- Follows him
DS- Says nicely" This is my space please leave"
DD- Laughs and keeps dancing in his space
DS- starts to get angry and eventually yells
DD- Laughs or hits or takes his toys
I end up always having to step in and say Alyx I heard Owens words, you are in his space please leave. Or I set up her own special dancing area but she wants to be harassing Owen.. Or if hitting happens I say you hit you sit and she sits and laughs. If I take a toy she laughs.
I am at a loss at how to deal with her and get the point across. I have tried just about everything but spanking and that will never happen. So sorry this is so long but any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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#2 of 4 Old 06-04-2008, 04:27 PM
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In this particular situation if you're hearing him try ask and you see him trying to leave, and the little one is still bothering him, could you step in before he gets really frustrated and just distract the little one (without calling attention to how she's in his space and he's asked her to stop)? Not just a special area to dance, but something completely different? Ask her to come help you with something? Read a book? I have a 4 year old, and she does need more "help" in respecting other people's space but at the same time I don't want to be taking sides (which is how they perceive it, I think, when I say "dd, ds asked you for some space"--and regardless, reminding her to give him space can lead to a new power struggle, between me and her....). So I find that if I can just distract her with something, that helps my other kids get the space they need without taking sides. And then I can address the whole "space" issue with just the little one. And, I've noticed the other kids now have started to add "distract the 4 year old" to their repertoire of coping strategies. So now they ask, then move, then sometimes try to distract her ("little sister, why don't you play with this over there where there's room?"), and sometimes this works.

And then, could you later (a few minutes later? as soon as you get her away?) remind her how important it is to give people their space when they ask? About how if feels to DS when he's asking for space and she doesn't leave him alone? Just kind of casually? I find that the more calm and casual I am about it all, the less worked up and frustrated I am, the less these annoying things go on. So I'd say something like "remember, it's important to give people their space when they ask." And then just drop it, for the moment. I find that it's easy to get sucked into lecturing and/or arguing with my 4 year old, and that only makes it all worse. Also, my little one likes to go for the reaction from her siblings (and from me), so to get her to stop we can make our reactions boring (this is hard for kids to do, but we adults can model that--and this is also where distracting her comes in handy, it prevents her from getting that reaction from siblings that she's looking for by just removing her from the situation).
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#3 of 4 Old 06-04-2008, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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sledg- You know I completly forgot about the distracting stategy. I use it with my 8 month old and I used it when dd was little. I didn't even think to use it now. Not only does it distract her but it gives her some of my attention, which is something I know she really needs right now. It is so nice to get outside views. Thank you!
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#4 of 4 Old 06-04-2008, 07:00 PM
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What a great suggestion! I find that I forget about distraction as well. I'm guilty of longing for the day when they can play together a bit more and I can get my things done. So it becomes easy to fall into trying to figure out how to make that happen rather than doing what is probably best in the situation.

I remember when I was a kid and I would frequently bug my older sister. I think I really wanted her attention and I didn't know how to get it. I really didn't understand at all her desire to be alone to do her things. If my mom had stepped in a distracted me that would have been great. I remember being labeled as a "brat" and a "pest" by my whole family and that certainly didn't help.

Great suggestion, Sledg.
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