Monday, July 14, 2008

Plea for help

I've mentioned before that I was raised as the only kid at home. Then God knew my abilities and gave me two children who really like each other. 90% of the time Ben and Sarah get along great and are the bestest of friends. Issues of sibling rivalry, tattling and bickering are as foreign to me as the social issues faced by people in New Guinea. But now, through the twists that can occur in life, I live in a home that faces these issues. We have four good kids and I think that issues of tattling, hitting, and frustration are "normal" ones. But, I am not equipped with the experience to deal with these things. So, I put out this plea to you for help...

~What do you do when your children just won't stop arguing?
~What do you do to stop the tattling?
~What is an appropriate punishment if one child hits another who was bugging them?
~How should you handle it if the child that was hit, hits back?
~How do you teach children to be kind to someone that they don't necessarily "like?"
~How should I respond to snotty, attitude filled apologies?

I've tried the "logical" answers to all of these questions. We've been punishing left and right, and you know it isn't working so well. Are there any creative tricks that you've used? That your parents used? Maybe, I'm asking for a miracle. Maybe, patience is the answer, but again that is something that I'm not very well equipped with. Is it so crazy to just hope for a "trick" that will make 4 children act harmoniously and love each other ever second of the day?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is "off the record" in response to your request. God knows, I'm no expert!
I'm wondering, if you didn't make yourself available as a "referee" 24/7, would the kids deal with their own issues in a less demanding and disruptive way? Why don't you create a specific period of the day when they each get 5 minutes of your time, in consecutive order, to tattle, air their grievances, and otherwise avail themselves of your referee status. NOTHING IN BETWEEN OR UNSCHEDULED. If you designate the time to start at 6:00 PM, simply refuse to deal with it at any other time. They will have to resolve -- or avoid -- disputes until their "air time." During their designated time they can tattle or bellyache as needed, but only for five uninterrupted minutes (a kitchen timer would be great), and no rebuttals -- just straight presentations. You could even take each of them aside to a private area. Once you have gathered all the information, you can leisurely and thoughtfully consider all aspects and then dole out appropriate consequences as needed. But by then you will have already weeded it out to the basic and most important stories that they want/need to present. My guess is that if it is organized in such a fashion it may take a lot of the "fun" out of the immediate drama that they now become engaged in. Who knows, they may even find something better to do with their time if they know it's not going to draw your attention until it's all cooled off anyway.
Just a thought....
PS If blood appears, you may have to alter your response time a little bit!?