My kids used to fight when they were younger. They would fight
over clothes, a missing toy, one brushing the others’ shoulder, and many other
things. It was, of course, all normal sibling issues.
When they fought and became loud, I noticed that all I wanted was for the fighting to stop immediately. I noticed that every time I got annoyed, ruffled, and joined them in the aggravation and negativity, the arguments escalated.
Something in me felt triggered by the noise and the arguing. As
a child, there was a lot of this going on in my home – usually between my
mother and me. I hated it. With my own children, I did not want to experience
this same type of anger, arguing and negativity. So, as I was triggered, I
would try to immediately shut down the argument, usually by raising my voice
What I learned is that as time went on, not reacting was the best choice. As soon as we join our children in that reactive state and become agitated along with them, we fail to bring calm reasoning to the situation. When we don’t react or engage in the situation, the situation becomes diffused on its own without our control. Our children need to learn how to move through these challenges themselves. Many times their actions are meant to get a reaction out of us. Giving this type of attention only brings more fuel to the situation and creates a continued need for our kids to look for our attention in a negative way.
When I put this into practice after making this realization, the
chaos usually simmered down. I typically would say “I am not getting involved,
you are both very capable of discussing this” or “this is between you and your
sister and I know you can figure it out.” I tried to share my confidence in
them. These responses would often frustrate my children, as they wanted me to
mediate the situation and have someone be “in trouble.” However, most of the
time, these responses led them to both go to their rooms and cool down, and
then return to each other and figure it out.