There is help for situations like these, no matter what the age. Just think about it, doesn't it DRAIN YOUR ENERGY? I know it drained mine when my two boys fought. Those of you who've learned the Love and Logic® techniques might recall "Energy Drain". Remember it? It's SUPER useful! It works best on kids ages 2 - 12 but, if used right, can help for any age of bickering children. It promotes the idea that you don't have to decide who is at fault since BOTH are draining your energy.
Here's how it works:
Step 1 - When your kids start fighting, no need to figure out who started it, just say or enthusiastically exclaim: "Wow, this is really draining my energy! Why don't you two figure out how you're going to put energy back in me?"
Step 2 - If they don't know what to do, assign them something. Look for ideas on my website if you need them. (There's a link above by that cute picture. Click on it!)
Step 3 - When they put your energy back, awesome! Give them hugs.
Step 4 - If they resist, be prepared to continue being drained until they put energy back. Remember to start all of these with EMPATHY.
-- "Gee, my energy is too drained to cook dinner tonight. I'll just sit here and read a book until you two figure out how to put my energy back".
-- "Gosh, I'd love to drive you to practice but my energy is still drained. I'll be happy to take you two when it's put back." Be polite and warn the coach or teacher that your children might be late or not make their practice.
-- "This is so sad, I really don't have energy to have your friends over this afternoon to go to the park. Maybe you two can figure out how to put my energy back somehow."
Sometimes you have to wait until you get home to do SOMETHING about the energy drain that happen in public places. The trick in such situations is to make sure you let those siblings know that SOMETHING will have to be done.
By using Energy Drains you are letting your children know that their poor decision to not work out their issues is THEIR problem, not yours to solve for them. When kids fight, it's a shared problem for BOTH of them so let them both have the consequence.
If you'd like to download your own copy of the Energy Drain list please go to the Parent Resources tab on this website. It's there for you!