Children argue. As much as parents hate it, as much as we try to look for ways to nip it in the bud, it’s not going away. It’s part of being a kid and having a sibling. If you are hoping to stop your children from arguing altogether, this isn’t the article for you. If, however, what you want some ideas for keeping hold of your sanity and minimizing the annoying squabbles, read on for some practical advice:
See to Your Children’s Health
No, this isn’t a joke. Children who are well-fed and well-rested are less likely to be cranky and pick fights. Just think about how you feel when you’ve gone too long between meals or have been loading up on tasty-but-not so-good-for-you treats. Likewise, consider what lack of sleep does for your mood. Throw lack of exercise in there, too. Adequate physical activity can do wonders not only for a person’s health but also for his disposition.
Minimize or Eliminate Violence as Entertainment
Those TV shows with the mouthy kids who argue with their siblings and talk back to their parents demonstrate the wrong type of behavior. Likewise, violent television shows and video games do little to encourage peaceful resolution of disagreements.
Provide Individual Attention
It can be hard to give each of your children individual attention, but try to spend a little time focused on one child at a time each day. This reinforces how important your children are to you and may reduce petty squabbles caused by jealousy.
Model Good Conflict Resolution
If you and your spouse, friends, and other adults yell at each other in front of your kids, your children will learn that behavior and copy it. It’s never too late to start demonstrating better ways to resolve conflicts.
When fights do break out, don’t become embroiled in screaming matches with your kids. Send them off to separate areas to cool off. Once they’ve calmed down, speak to each of your children separately, giving them a chance to calmly air grievances and helping them figure out how they can better handle the situation in the future.
Teach Your Children How to Vent Anger Appropriately
Often, children just don’t know how to deal with their anger, and ignoring it isn’t the answer. Offer some help in this department. Your child could practice deep-breathing exercises, jog around in the backyard, do some jumping jacks or push-ups, head outside for some fresh air, or write an angry letter and then tear it up.
Don’t ever play favorites or take sides. It’s a mistake to tell one child to be more like the other. Tell your children that you love them equally. If one child begins to feel less loved or held to a stricter standard, you can bet you will have more fights on your hands.
There’s really no reliable way to put an end to all fights in your homeschool. However, you can use the above tips to minimize their frequency and severity.
Have something to add to this list? We want to hear how you stop your children from arguing.