Fighting Fair- How to handle those ever-endearing sibling fights
Have you ever looked at your kids and wondered where they came from? They must have come from alien parents because I know that I didn’t teach them to talk to each other that way! While sibling rivalry can be a very “normal” thing, it can be extremely frustrating for us adults. The whole “he is looking at me”, “stop touching me” fights while endearing to some parents, can become flat-out annoying to deal with on an everyday basis, while in car rides and any other time your darling kids are fighting for attention. My poor kids got the “short-end of the stick” when they were born to a therapist mommy. Of course, I am a professional, I have all types of training and education right? Yeah, but let me tell you how all of that training goes right out the door the minute I opened my mouth with my kids. I am the proud mommy of two boys who have a three years difference in age and an even more expansive difference in personality.
So what does the therapist mommy do? I researched techniques and spoke to other moms who were going through the same thing, much like you are probably doing right now! I found a few techniques that looked good on paper…then when I actually tried them…complete failure. Well, didn’t that make me feel good! Here I was a professional woman (probably just like you) and I couldn’t figure out how to keep myself from strangling my kids (figuratively speaking, of course). So I keep on trying and here is what I found to work for me.
When my kids started the ever-loving debate over who started what, I simply set them both down on separate chairs or separate ends of the sofa and made them figure out who did what and apologize for it. If one was accusing the other, I did not get involved. They had to work through it (in a civilized way)…together. They were “grouped” together until they figured it out. This worked well because they learned accountability for themselves and within the sibling relationship-learning how to protect and respond to each other’s needs. They also learned that there were no favorites and they could not “split” me.
While no parent is perfect, especially this one here, we have to learn to seek out support when we need it. What works for one family may or may not work for another. That is why family and individual counseling cannot be a “cookie-cutter” service. One of the best things that I did, as a young mother, was to find people in my life that could steer me in the right direction, support me and validate me when I thought that I was the worst parent ever.
If you believe that you could use extra support, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Peak Professional Group, LLC is committed to providing innovative services to our parents in a way that you know you are being heard and understood. Call us today for a FREE 15 minute telephone consultation. (919) 335-3105.
As a mental health counselor and mother of two teenage boys, I have heard it all…literally..
I hear way too many personal things about my kids, their friends, girlfriends (or lack of) and at times, have thought about secretly murdering the extremely annoying cows and sheep in Mine Craft (just kidding). I almost feel bad for my kids, I mean, they have a mother who is always looking deeper into what they say, how they say it and what they do!
On a serious note, many of my parents ask me about parenting teenagers: What are the right amount of boundaries? How do I talk to my teen about sex, drugs and peer pressure without getting the notorious rolling of the eyes and ” I’m fine, MOM” comments? What about their future? How do I, as a parent, talk to them about their futures?
If there is one thing that I have learned this is it: Teens want to talk about themselves. Human beings love to be the center of attention. If given the right environment and a trustworthy recipient, teens enjoy discussing their lives. As an addendum, teens like talking about what THEY like. Talking about their family arguments or school problems does not interest them. Their friends, their dreams and goals, their feelings, and their frustrations are the favorite topics for discussion. Find ways to understand what it is that they like (listen to their music- or Google it!- Honestly some of the music is realllllllyyyyyy interesting). On a side note- now I sound like my mother….rrrrrrr.
Learn their “lingo” but know that if you actually start to use it, they will likely laugh in your face, call you old or just roll their eyes. We learn their “lingo” so that we don’t look like confused “old farts” when they DO actually talk to us. Ask them what “new” words actually mean. For example, BAE means BEFORE ANYONE ELSE and if often used to describe a potential girlfriend. To be honest, I learned about this word from my 14 year old but was so excited when I got to use the word with one of my teenage clients. I actually felt kinda “cool”, well maybe that IS taking it a bit far but I was able to engage her in a conversation and that is the point, right? Listen to mainstream radio stations or Pandora to get an idea of who is who in the music world, meet their friends and always, always set the tone for good communication skills between you and your teen. It is NOT easy to do this but it is worth the “battle”. Let them fly solo just a little bit and like a mother hen, always be there to gather them back up.
For your FREE guide to Parenting Teens, click the link below: If you feel like you still need more help with these difficult tween and teen issues, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you!
Samantha Mahon, M.S.,NCC,LPC
Samantha is a proactive and practical parenting expert. She is a Board Certified Counselor and she uses her knowledge of psychotherapy combined with her own personal and professional experiences to bring you the real-life options as parents.