How do I get my boys to get along?

Melissa - posted on 05/28/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I have three boys ages 10,8,and 5. The 5 yr old does not get along with his brothers and starts fights with them 24/7. I need some creative ways to get them all to get along, can anyone help me?

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Kimberly - posted on 06/05/2010

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One positive way to handle it...When you have time each day, get them all in the same room. Bring a timer and an idea of a treat they all like. Tell them you are going to set the timer for X minutes (start with an amount you think they can do this for...then increase each day). Say that if they can play together nicely, following your house rules for that amount of time then they can have the treat. Stay with them in the room while the timer is running. Praise all of them (equally if possible) if they are doing well together - sharing, helping each other, using kind words, etc. Try to praise them OFTEN - every minute if possible. Sometimes once they see positive attention for doing what you want them to do they will work harder for that than for negative attention from fighting. Other ideas...Sometimes I realize my kids just need a break from each other. Our play room can be fenced in, so I put one child there. I let another play in the living room, and the oldest will go to her room or outside. After some quiet play time on their own they sometimes will play better together. Structured activities with well-defined roles can help if you have time to plan some. I also made "busy boxes" for each of my kids for times when they're just driving me nuts...they each get their box full of trinkets they don't see very often and play with them until I'm ready to handle them again - works great for when I'm making dinner. Time alone between you and each child can also help fill up their attention bank and reduce the amount of time they're looking for negative attention. This can be doing anything the child enjoys with you - helping you cook, playing a game, reading a book - preferably NOT watching tv/computer.

Remember that no matter what kids will argue, fight, and get into it with each other. I agree that it's better to let them work it out IF you've given them the tools to use to do that. I always step in when I see/hear that a problem is escalating beyond their ability to handle it. One of my friends has several 'conflict resolution' steps that she's taught her kids (basically reflective listening) and if they start to get into it she can just tell them to use their steps and usually they can work it out verbally. I'm hoping I can do this as my kids get older. Meanwhile we just scaffold them with good social skills and praise them when we see them using those skills.

Last thing - does your 5 year old get on well with other kids, just not his brothers? If not you might want to talk to your Dr. and make sure it's just sibling rivalry and not a medical/behavioral issue.

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Judith - posted on 06/11/2010

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Could it be the age? My daughter who is almost 5 (October) is can be one rabble rouser and that's like, most of the time.
I believe he will outgrow it.
Try to remember how thw 1st two were at that same age.

Sunshine - posted on 06/11/2010

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my 2 (18 & 8) share a room & were fighting non stop. I found that when I said "that's enough!" and threatened to remove all fun and make them hold hands (tied together) untill they could get along- all fighting stopped. we have the occasional disagreement, but the non stop stuuf has ended. & yes, I told them they would do ALL activities together- bathroom, swimming, sports, eating. they were shocked and desestated at the thought of missing baseball or swim because it can't be done tied to someone & all their friends would see. as far a s the 5yr old- he's feeling left out & finding a way to be involved- negative attention is still attention. I suggest you find activities he like to do with out his brothers & make specific time for them to include him. get the older two in on it. explain to them that he loves them so much & wants to be with them. Have them come up with things he can join in on/or times he can play with them and tell them you'll keep him occupied the rest of the time. You may find them very agreeable to the new arangement and offering to let him join in on more activities that the required one or 2 /day. You also need to sit him down aone and let him know that you're on to him & that when fights start he will have consequences. tell him how big he is now and that he cannot act like a baby anymore or he will loose big boy privileges. Have fun!!!

Lisa - posted on 06/08/2010

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Lisa Whelchel has a book out called " Creative Correction" that I just love. Check it out, you may find some new ideas there. My children really grew to loathe that book!! If they saw me breaking out that book, their behaviors would immediately change because they knew something "creative" was coming!

Cinda - posted on 06/07/2010

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I would have to agree with the answer about boredom and/or attention getting. It will take more time, but it will be worth it in the long run. Five years old was when we started giving our boys chores to do. Of course, it needs to be age appropriate, but it does help. If you have a chore chart, that is even better. You might also try making sure that each of your boys gets your time, individually. When I say "your time", I mean your devoted time, no interruptions. Maybe that means "date night." It is important for boys to get that from their mommies. :-) (We have three boys, also.) Our youngest is still a baby, but the two older ones go through fighting/quarreling. Depending on the level of words, punches, etc, requires different punishment/consequences: push-ups, laps around the house, cleaning toilets, etc.

Nicki - posted on 06/06/2010

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loveandlogic.com
It has general parenting ideas and techniques that we are finding helpful when wrangling our five. Whenever they start fighting we go to 'uhoh time'. Slowly learning that the behavior they are doing has consequences and that fighting just ends them up alone in their 'room/space'. Takes time, practice and patience, but the stress level around here is starting to decrease. :o) Good Luck!!

Melissa - posted on 06/02/2010

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Thanks Mandy and I do tell them that if they cant get along and find something to do I can find something for them they usually scatter then but not for long and there back at my side arguing it is nice to hear my kids arnt the only ones that fight 75% of the time and play nice with each other about 15% HAHA I dont know it just seems crazy sometimes!

Mandy - posted on 06/01/2010

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Love and Logic has a sibling rivalry CD which is worth listening to. The main take aways are that the kids do need to work it out as long as they are not endangering each other. Another thing I implement with my 3 from the CD is if they have time to fight then they have time to do chores. I usually try to separate those that aren't getting along or put a toy in time out if its causing a disruption. A lot of times, the fighting comes from boredom from my son. As long as he is kept busy then he doesn't have the time to pick on his sisters.

Carla - posted on 05/29/2010

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Kids fight, sweetie. I had 3, and the two younger ones would gang up on the older one, the girls would gang up against the boy, the two older ones would pick on the younger one. I would never have an odd number again lol It takes time, but we are pretty consistent with our grandchildren; when they fight I make the aggressor apologize. We try to figure out what they are fighting over, if it's a toy, the toy goes in 'time out' (very effective). I am constantly telling them they are brother and sister and should love each other, then make them hug. My other grandbabies are two girls, and I do the same thing, make them kiss and hug. Generally they are laughing before the embrace is over, cuz someone's being silly by this time.



I do not subscribe to the 'let them fight it out'. I have seen this have disastrous results. It's difficult to watch them 24/7, but in order to get a handle on what's happening and stop it, that's what you're gonna have to do. Hang on, sweetie!

Alison - posted on 05/28/2010

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Is this about your boys getting along or is it about your 5 year old? I posted awhile back about training your children using scriptures. I got some promising results with my almost 4 year old... it's worth a shot. There's a book entitled "Handbook of Scriptures to Grow On", that looks really helpful (scriptures by theme).

Another thing to look at is how much attention he is getting from all of this. Often, kids are picking fights just to get attention from their parents. Watch how you react to the situation (I advise as little envolvement as possible) and try to up the one on one time with him.

It looks like you've got another little baby in the family and he has lost his spot. In that case, you can pretty much expect him to act up.

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