July 09, 2014

What do you do when your kids fight?

My kids fight.  
They have a love/annoyed relationship which I feel is not ideal, but natural.
I'm 36 years old and it's hard for me to not get annoyed by a house full of kids sometimes.

Obviously, the best way to handle fighting kids is to keep them busy and distracted.  A trip to the library calms my home.
Swimming, playing at the park, taking a walk outside-- busy kids are happy kids.

I'm also a firm believer in the sorry seat.  (Sending both kids to a bench until they calm down, say what they did that was wrong, how they'll change next time, tell each other that they love each other, and hug.)

I believe that despite your best efforts, your kids will fight.  And, like mine, they might call each other naughty words.  Eve's current cuss of choice is "Poopoodiarrheaface."  Lovely.  My bigger kids lean towards saying "I hate her" to me as they are tattling and trying to ensure I severely punish their offending sibling.

I'm not a big fan of punishment.  I prefer teaching.  

When my children speak naughty, I prefer a shocked gasp from mother to any angry rebuke.  I TRY not to fight fighting with fighting.  It's so easy for us to be so hypocritical as mothers as we scream at our kids telling them not to scream at each other.  It isn't hard for me to stay calm, most of the time it's hard for me not to laugh.  

We have the understanding that it IS hard to control your emotions.  Sometimes when you are angry you say things you regret later.  It is ok to be upset, but not ok to say unkind words like "I hate you" and "Poopoodiarrheaface".  

If one of my kids calls someone a bad name, I have them write 20 things they love about that same person...
For the younger kids, 20 just means a lot.  I don't count things-- I look for a change of heart.
I firmly believe that we should be abundantly forgiving.  I also believe that when children DO wrong, they need to DO right to make things better.  Kids are smart- they learn quickly to control their tongue when they know they will have to work later to make up for it.

Having them write a letter also gives them something to do that isn't fighting.  Win-win.  The key to teaching, not punishing, is a mother's attitude.  Which is hard to explain in a blog. 

When Lily said she hated Leah I looked at her and smiled.  "Oh No!" I said.  She knew what her words meant she had to do.  I had announced the plan very seriously at dinner a few days prior. 

I gave her some time to cool down.  Maybe separated them, hugged them, let my calmness seep into their souls.  Then, I happily got out some paper and a pencil and acted like this was a fun project.  "Hurry and write your 20 things and you can all go play."  Or, "Write quickly, it's almost time for Popsicles."

I love these love notes.
Love them.
"I love Leah because she loves me."

You might not want to take my advice, because my children are still naughty.
But, it feels good.  It feels right.
I think my children do love each other- even if there are moments that they really do act like little poopy heads.

Life, with children, is good.


Ryan Roberson said...

I don't know what u are talking about your kids r amazing

Rachel said...

Thank you! I need so much help on loving, patient mothering.

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