Siblings fighting

Yolandi - posted on 02/18/2016 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I need your urgent help and advice please!!! We have 2 boys, 7 years and 3 years old. The fight about everything and I mean EVERYTHING! The youngest I guess had to start defending himself from very young growing up with an older brother but his brother on the other hand is also now defending himself against his little brother that hits him (and us). The little one screams for everything, hits every one, yet he is more loving than the oldest. The oldest keeps pestering him and visa versa, what brotherly exercises can they do to start getting along, they can't even sit next to each other without a fight, HELP PLEASE, I feel all I do after work is scream and spank them because they drive us crazy!!!

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Sarah - posted on 02/18/2016

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When you scream and hit out of frustration, then that is how they learn to express their frustration as well.
I have four kids, and I know that the constant squabbling and bickering can be maddening. I used some of these tricks when mine were a bit older, but you can try them. First, keep in mind they actually do love each other and want to be around each other and someday will be great friends.
If my elder was bossing the younger; I'd say, "oh, Molly you appear to be in charge of Emma, so you may (fix her lunch, fold her laundry, make her bed, etc") pick one task and let the bossy one carry it out. If you don't want him to do something for the other child, you can make the boss do the bossed chores.
When my kids got really loud, I sent them outside ( even in the cold, dark winter evenings) and made them shout "I love you!" back and forth from far sides of the yard. Embarrassing and for them and usually, I'd simply have to warn them of the activity and they'd quit.
When they are both pushing each others buttons, just pick, pick, picking I'd "quarantine" them. They could not be in the others company for anywhere from an hour to a full day. By the end of the quarantine, they usually were eager to get along. I also sometimes "fined" the offender, usually for physical fighting. Having to surrender your allowance to the victim of your crime is painful.
To create a more peaceful home, remember that kids fight most when bored, tired, hungry and frustrated. Keep them busy, give them each lots of individual attention and praise. Assign cooperative tasks, but you assign the duties; for example "boys please set the table, older boy will set the plates, younger boy can do the silverware" then praise the job well done and how they did it together. Do not compare them to each other; "your brother is being so good, why can't you" is going to ignite the fire. Finally empathize with them; "Your brother broke your toy today, you must feel frustrated" or "I know it can be hard to have your younger brother copy you, but he admires you and wants to be like you" Those small affirmations that they are ok despite the bickering can really help.

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Sarah - posted on 02/18/2016

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this is a duplicate post
Polly from the other thread advised:
What works best for us and our 3 kids is positive reinforcement. Kids will do anything for their parents' attention... even if it's negative attention. Try - and I know this sounds impossible - to ignore the bad behaviour and reward good behaviour.
Conflict is very common between siblings... that's what sibling rivalry is all about. I know you must be tired at the end of a work day, and the last thing you want to hear is your kids screaming at each other, but the kids need to see you modelling a positive, calm attitude. Try to distract them by having them help you make dinner or get to their homework.
We also try our best to have one-on-one time on the weekends with each kids... which is difficult for us because we are out-numbered!
As far as the hitting goes, with all due respect, if you spank your kids, you're only teaching them that hurting someone is the only way to get them to do what you want and that really makes no sense at all. Screaming at your kids also tells them that you've lost control of the situation... and that's what your kids are trying to do... to get control of the situation.

Raye - posted on 02/18/2016

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Screaming and spanking rarely works for very long. You need to have clear rules and consistent consequences. Start taking away privileges. No TV, video games, etc. until they can act nice. You're the parent and you need to be watching them and making them behave. Hitting should definitely not be allowed, and should be dealt with immediately by removing the child to a place where he cannot bother anyone else and has no distractions from sitting and thinking about what he's done. If they can't share and play together, they are separated to play by themselves. They don't need to "get along", just not fight.

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