*Caution, affiliate links ahead…Don’t worry, I’ll use the money for something practical, like wine…. or a pony!
As you can imagine, with 6 kids we have A LOT of fighting, seriously, most mornings at our house play out like an episode of Dr. Phil. Drama, accusations, betrayal and if I’m really lucky we devolve into Jerry Springer, complete with hair pulling and an audience cheering them on. What do I do on these glorious mornings when I wake up to another sibling squabble? I grab a cup of coffee and a bowl of popcorn and take advantage of my ringside seats to the fight of the century.
Here’s the thing, it drives us crazy when our kids fight, it’s annoying, heartbreaking and enough to drive us to drink heavily, but they are actually gaining so much from their fights. I just don’t have the heart to step in, they are learning so much! I know you are thinking that this momma has finally lost it, 6 kids have driven her to speak nonsense, but bear with me, I promise I’m going somewhere with this. Next time your kids are ready to rumble, instead of breaking it up, let them fight and watch how it plays out….you can send them outside, or to another room, but let’em argue it out. As they navigate daily conflicts, they will learn valuable lessons about negotiation, conflict resolution, empathy and compromise. Kids that are allowed to work out their conflicts learn to replace aggression with assertiveness and develop emotionally intelligent communication skills.
Conflict is a healthy part of any relationship, but learning how to handle that conflict is an art that even some adults have yet to master. Model good conflict resolution skills for your kids. When you and your husband fight, model how to empathize, negotiate and compromise. Don’t try to hide your fighting from them, as long you are both respectful towards each other, it actually does them good to see how adults handle conflict. Kids are sponges and they absorb everything around them, if you model healthy conflict resolution, they will carry that over into their squabbles.
There will be situations that will call for your involment, if there is any type of bullying, degrading, or physical violence (this happens very rarely with my kids, but it has happened) I will absolutely step in and help them work out their issue. They need to understand that that type of behavior will not be tolerated and will never resolve an arguement.
The bottom line is that there will always be conflict, always. So, to quote Rafiki, my favorite Lion King character “You can either run from it, or learn from it” help your kids learn from it, let them bicker and let them learn that they are capable of resolving their differences.