Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What to do when your kids constantly fight...

Watching my four children grow up, my husband and I would notice certain allegiances would form from time to time.  For instance, when my youngest daughter was in preschool she would follow her slightly older brother around and do kind things for him.  She used to sneak into his room when he got up and make his bed!  She would laugh at everything he said.  He was her hero and her best friend.  

Fast forward to their middle school years.  They had a hard time speaking to one another. Everything she said, he would argue with or correct.  They seemed to have nothing in common, and it was hard to believe they ever got along.

There were other times when my oldest daughter and second oldest daughter would gang up on the younger ones or avoid them at all costs, but times when the middle two children would form an alliance. Sometimes it was difficult to predict who of the four were getting along.  

The one consistent message that my husband and I delivered over and over was that our children treat us and their siblings with respect.  It was not okay to call each other names or hit or fight with each other.  Did my children follow these rules?  NO--Not always!  Were these rules difficult to enforce?  Yes!  

No one ever said being a good parent is easy.  It's not.  Effective parenting takes work.  But it pays off.  Now that my children are grown, they actually like each other.  They reach out and call one another.  They enjoy each other's company and look to each other for advice and support.  They look forward to the time they spend together and seek out ways to see each other.  They celebrate each other's successes and are always willing to offer support if someone is going through difficulties.

It's very important that you set the standards for the behavior you want from your children. Don't allow them to bully and fight with you or their siblings. Expect more from them.  And when the going gets tough--persevere.  This is the secret to growing a close knit family.  

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