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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My older boys are close in age. They're 20 months apart (almost 6 boy and 4 yo twin boys). The twins are the ones we're having the biggest problem with, but they pinch each other until they bleed. They're lower arms look all cut up because they pinch so hard. That has become their default way of dealing with things, along with saying "well then I don't love you" if a brother took a toy, if they don't get the seat at the table they want (they fight over who gets table legs, about half the time we can convince them to share and have two boys sit at one end of the table and one at the other), if they brought me something I asked for and another one wanted to do it...

We really try to stay out of the sibling stuff and just let them work it out. Ever since the twins started preschool with a pincher though, they pinch and it's getting a lot worse. It used to be 2-4 times a week, now it's many times a day. We've tried redirection, extra hugs, talking about how feeling angry is okay, but hurting someone isn't. We brainstorm ideas of what to do when angry. I know if I can think of possible "problem" scenarios in my head, I can plan a response better. I thought they might benefit from that too, but as soon as something happens, no amount of talking or intervention helps. Sitting back means someone is going to be really hurt. They're starting to push now too and it's getting out of hand. I really don't know what to do. We've also tried the playful parenting thing and pretended to be a love bug and we chase them or let them chase us but give gentle bites (which are hugs/kisses). This causes lots of laughter and they get really into it, but shortly after they are back at it again. Please help. We're completely at a loss!
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Off to seperate areas until they both calm down ( not TO, but they can't be in the same space). then talk to them about what started it and what they can do differently next time.
The "letting them work it out" thing- we tried that when the kids were 8/6/3 and the 8 yo pulled the 3 yo's elbow out of it's socket and we ended up in the ER. This simply does NOT work for some combinations of kids.
 

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"Letting them work it out" only applies to verbal disagreements, and even then -- you should intervene if it gets loud. When they are hurting each other, damaging things, or interfering with the quality of life for the people around them...... you should most definately intervene and separate.

It sounds like you have done enough talking, explaining, and providing alternatives. From this point forward, I would only act -- with as little talk as you can get away with. Separate them. Tell them they should let you know when they can handle playing again, without hurting. Or set a timer for a reasonable "cool down period."

Personally, I'm comfortable with TO for hitting/hurting behaviors. IMO, its logical. I used to say, "If you are hurting people, then you need a short break from people. Let me know when you are ready to use talking for fixing problems, and then you can join us again."

I think its Barbara Coloroso who uses the phrase, "You hit, you sit."
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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Originally Posted by mamaduck View Post
It sounds like you have done enough talking, explaining, and providing alternatives. From this point forward, I would only act -- with as little talk as you can get away with. Separate them. Tell them they should let you know when they can handle playing again, without hurting. Or set a timer for a reasonable "cool down period."

Personally, I'm comfortable with TO for hitting/hurting behaviors. IMO, its logical. I used to say, "If you are hurting people, then you need a short break from people. Let me know when you are ready to use talking for fixing problems, and then you can join us again."
Thanks! I think this makes sense.
 

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ok, I have the same problem, can I ask something? What if you physically can't separate them? When I'm alone I am just not able to separate them. They won't stay if I tell them to, and they are very strong so I can barely hold them apart, but actually getting them to go in different rooms or parts of the house? No way. Plus my older ds is scared to be in any room that I'm not in. He has some wierd fear issues. They are always fighting, what do I do?
 

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This may or may not be popular, but it works for us:
Separate rooms. And yes, I HAVE held the door shut. One gets the bedroom and the other sits in a chair. Hurting your sister/brother is not acceptable, you need to be apart for awhile.

Usually it's about 5 minutes or so, nothing insane. And when the time is up we discuss it. No hurting your siblings. It is not acceptable, do not do it again.

It took some time to get the hang of this but now they know we mean business when we tell them to go to their room. We will discuss it in a few minutes, for now you need a break.
 

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I would agree that if cildren are hurting each other like that, you physically separate them. (And before that, try to anticipate the meltdowns as best you can). I would pick up the smallest child (the one you can easily pick up) and intervene. I don't think it's ever ok to allow children to 'work it out' if it means they are hitting/hurting/drawing blood etc. And I don't even think it's always right to 'let them work it out' if there are big power plays going on in different age siblings. Working it out someties needs an adult's guidance.

"There is no hitting, no hurting in this house. Everyone in this family needs to feel and be safe" would be my mantra . Breaking this cycle is going to take a lot of intervention on the adult's part. But one can't have children drawing blood from each other.

Dang, parenting is a challenge sometimes, huh?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mamabohl View Post
ok, I have the same problem, can I ask something? What if you physically can't separate them? When I'm alone I am just not able to separate them. They won't stay if I tell them to, and they are very strong so I can barely hold them apart, but actually getting them to go in different rooms or parts of the house? No way. Plus my older ds is scared to be in any room that I'm not in. He has some wierd fear issues. They are always fighting, what do I do?
I was able to separate mine when they were that age, even though they were big. And I can put on a very no-nonsense demeanor when I want to. Plus, my DH would have had some very serious talks with them if this were an issue. In fact, I probably would have called him home from work over this, if I couldn't get control.

You know what though, another tactic you can try -- you can send them out to the lawn. You can tell them that fighting in the house is not okay, and they can either cut it out or take it outside. Its a risky tact to try -- but my guess is that they will cut it out.
 

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As an only child I really struggle with the sibling issues among my children. Most of my tactics have been learned from books and through these boards. I've found that I need to be a little more firm than my GD ideal when it comes to violence. My oldest dc (4.5 yo) gets a timeout now when she hits her younger brother or sister. In fact, she's gotten to the point where she'll hit or scratch them then turn to me and say "I know, I know, I have to go cool down." She actually puts herself on a timeout.
The good part about that is she also can determine when she's ready to interact with them again in a calmer manner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
I would agree that if cildren are hurting each other like that, you physically separate them. (And before that, try to anticipate the meltdowns as best you can). I would pick up the smallest child (the one you can easily pick up) and intervene. I don't think it's ever ok to allow children to 'work it out' if it means they are hitting/hurting/drawing blood etc. And I don't even think it's always right to 'let them work it out' if there are big power plays going on in different age siblings. Working it out someties needs an adult's guidance.

"There is no hitting, no hurting in this house. Everyone in this family needs to feel and be safe" would be my mantra . Breaking this cycle is going to take a lot of intervention on the adult's part. But one can't have children drawing blood from each other.

Dang, parenting is a challenge sometimes, huh?
In case we're not on the same page, I should clarify that we aren't trying to let them work this out on their own.
I just meant that I posted months and months ago about them taking toys and annoying each other and I didn't know what to do and the advice was basically to stay out of it and let them sort things out. When it escalates to hurting each other though, we definitely do intervene. What we're doing just isn't effective though.

I just had a chance to put this to the test. I don't know where else to put them because they won't stay on the couch/loveseat/kitchen chairs. They share a bedroom and I won't let them use our older son's room because he's been asking for privacy and I think it's reasonable to tell them that if big brother doesn't invite them in his room, to respect that. So I don't feel it's fair for me to use his room when I need a space. Anyway, we have stairs that are an open stairway with 7 stairs up, a landing and then 7 more stairs and the same thing going down to the basement. I put one on each landing and used the mantra above along with Mamaduck's advice. I said "You're hurting your brother so you need a break from him right now. We don't hurt in our family. We all deserve to feel safe with our family." One of them cried and kicked the wall (so I asked him to stop and he didn't, so I told him he may not kick with shoes and took his shoes off
). The other sat down and taunted the other one saying "ha ha ha ha ha, you don't have any shoes!"
: After they were both quiet for a minute, I went back and asked if he's ready to be kind and show his feelings with words instead of hurting, gave him a hug and that was it.

Is the landing bad? It feels very "timeout'ish" and punitive. I told them it was their calm down place. I was thinking that maybe we should have a "calm down basket" or something with a book, small puzzle or something like that. What do you guys think?

I really feel like I suck at this so much. I will say that I'm pretty proud of myself for not yelling (which I'm trying so hard to overcome) because that's usually my first thing to go to.

Oh, and what about words? When they say stuff (like "you're bad" or "I don't love you") to hurt each other? Do I ignore that? Do I say something to the one it was said to like "Well I sure do love you!"? Do I tell the one that said it that it's unkind? I've been ignoring the words because I figure they don't really mean it, they're just mad and that's the maddest/meanest thing they can think of. But like the pinching, it's happening a lot too. Maybe I should say "It sounds like you're really upset that he took the car." but then what?
 

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Sounds like the landing was a good thing.

As for words, I keep repeating, "We do not hate each other in this family. You will not speak that way to your brother/sister."
 

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There is a book I really liked when my oldest 3 were tiny. I learned about it from Mothering mag. It's called (a title that's not so loving lol) When Your Child Drives You Crazy. I am not going to pretend it's a 'consensual' type tome that some TLC or RU MDCers might adore, but it does respectfully and lovingly help a parent who chooses a less radical form of parenting find kind and loving words that can get us through certain tricky situations with small children. The author is Eda LeShan (who also wrote the brilliant Let Them Eat Cake), and she was honored on the back page of Mothering Mag a couple of years ago as a Living Treasure (although she has since died).

There is a lot of wisdom in this book, and I would also recommend Siblings Without Rivalry to give some good words to say when sibs get into it.
 
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