Getting along is a challenge, even for adults. It is not very realistic to assume that your children should get along from a young age, share and play for extended periods of time without disturbing you. Nor should you expect them to know how to manage their anger and frustrations. But today you can start teaching them.
Print out some PEACEFUL FAMILY RULES:
- I speak to my siblings at all times with respect and good manners.
- We resolve our differences and seek solutions to our conflicts by mutual agreement. (If the discussion starts to escalate, my parents will intervene).
- I say NO and express my disagreements with good manners.
- I accept when they say NO or express disagreement. (It is acceptable to be sad, angry and frustrated, but in no case is it acceptable to insult, hit, or assault a sibling).
Explain the rules in detail to your kids. Dedicate the necessary time to deepen and practice each and every one of them. Use your creativity to talk about them, and never forget to set a good example.
Take action the moment that they break one of these rules:
- Separate them before the conflict escalates, for a time that you see fit. Act calmly and patiently, always setting a good example: using good manners and showing understanding and respect towards the children.
- Avoid asking them what happened.
- Avoid taking sides. If you are not clear on what happened, it is better not to give any verdicts. You can be wrong. It you witness what happened, or if you see that is is more serious, do not ask and act accordingly. Your objective is not to find culprits, but to show that you are not going to let them be together when they are not able to get along together in a peaceful manner.
- Invite them to reach an agreement, if the issue allows. Help them by guiding their reasoning. If your children are very young, protect them and offer them a solution.
Each conflict is an opportunity for your children to understand that things are not always going to be the way they like them and that sometimes they have to adapt to others. Each conflict provides you with an opportunity to teach them how to socialize in a polite way and to set their own limits without the need to hit, yell or get angry.