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Children - arghhh, bloody children fighting!!

(25 Posts)
fancyacoffee Thu 24-Mar-16 17:33:01

DS is 7, DD is 11. They fight like tom and gerry ALL DAY LONG - pushing, hitting, pinching, shouting, screaming. About anything - noisy eating, who has the biggest corn on the cob, going into each others rooms, taking up too much room on the sofa, whether the sky is dark grey/light grey. I am NOT handling it well atall. My patience is extremely low and I end up screaming at them, stamping my foot, literally begging, i have cried openly in front of them recently whilst begging them to stop. I suspect I am the probable cause of their behaviour - if I have low tolerance, how can they be expected to be calm etc etc. I am lost and really need to hear from anyone with kids who just don't get on, what changes can I make, what coping strategies can i adopt, how can i get them to be in the same room without it causing near murder. Please help!!!

fancyacoffee Thu 24-Mar-16 17:33:56

Meant to say - AIBU to think they are a living nightmare or is this fairly normal???

CakeNinja Thu 24-Mar-16 17:45:51

This is not normal in my house at all.
As I type, all DC are taking it in turns on the Wii to choose the next racecourse of or something like that (I'm sorting washing/MNing upstairs!).
They are 12,11 and 4 and in general, all spend time nicely in each other's company.
There are occasional grumbles but nothing like what you've described.
That must be exhausting, I don't think that would make for a peaceful household at all.

I'm not sure I can offer any advice but you do have my sympathy, it must be draining flowers

Artandco Thu 24-Mar-16 17:49:09

Not here either. They are 5 and 6. They bicker occasionally but generally get on very well. We live in a flat so no screaming/ shouting is allowed full stop

WorraLiberty Thu 24-Mar-16 17:56:45

Maybe it's just me and DH but we came down like a ton of bricks on any of our 3, for any kind of violence. I mean really early on when they were very young, and we never relented on the punishments.

Our reasoning was, if we couldn't control it when they were young, we would have no chance when they were strapping teenagers (which they now are).

All I can suggest is punishments that actually affect them and never relent.

arethereanyleftatall Thu 24-Mar-16 17:58:32

I hate it too, yanbu.
My strategy is - if they fight, the second they start, they both have to go in to their own bedrooms to play.

Bizarrely it gets me more peace, as they always end up getting immersed with sonething in their bedroom!

CherryBlossom321 Thu 24-Mar-16 18:01:41

As hard as it is (I have snapped on occasions), you do need to take a see breath and stay calm. That level of disharmony is not normal in my house either, because it isn't tolerated. Have a talk to them about what behaviour is not acceptable and what will happen (consequences) if they do it. Then follow through every single time. Shouting, crying, losing your shit will achieve nothing outside of showing them that it's an acceptable way to behave. I did a couple of behaviour management courses through my local children's centre a few years ago which were really helpful. There are also books if you do an amazon search. What do you need? Is it possible you're depressed/ anxious? Would counselling help?

CherryBlossom321 Thu 24-Mar-16 18:03:13

*deep breath, not see.

akkakk Thu 24-Mar-16 18:05:21

you need to find a non-confrontational / non-emotive time to reset expectations of behaviour. Sit down with them and speak quietly and non-emotively (pretend you are their school teacher). Set out the new rules, they are old enough to understand and obey - presumably they are not like this at school?

Make the rules very simple
Give simple / direct consequences
Ask them to think about what starts it / why it happens
Work with them to find options to help diffuse situations (e.g. does the older one need private space, but the younger invades that space? - Give the older one space, but make it clear that outside that space they are in the family etc. - same with possessions, make sure that there are some that are 'theirs' which they don't have to share, but others are family ones...
Ask them to think about how they can recognise when a situation may escalate, and how they can help stop that happening.
Maybe find a keyword which anyone can use to diffuse the situation / (in older days it would have been 'pax' but maybe something else now?)
Refer to school - e.g. this wouldn't happen at school / at school there are rules so that everyone can enjoy the playground etc. we need the same in the family...

and then you need to model it into the future...
- stop it when it happens
- impose sanctions swiftly and fairly
- be non-emotive (has that been said before?! smile )
- be impartial / the adult / etc.

they are children they need fair simple clear boundaries

HolaVida Thu 24-Mar-16 18:13:09

I'm actually LOL-ing at some of these posts. No offence to CakeNinja, but it's probably not actually that helpful to hear that other families have a much easier time of it, ha ha, I actually thought you were joking when I started reading about how peaceable your life was!!

My 3 are older than yours fancyacoffee, and the big two, temperamentally, have been set against each other from birth. The little two get on better, but they're more similar.
I agree with all that akkakk says - part of the battle is how powerless you feel in the midst of it all. I enjoyed reading 'Mom, Jason's breathing on me' back when they were younger - it talked about only intervening when you could sense that you were losing your cool. i.e. ignore as much as you can but don't let yourself get angry before you intervene - be aware of your own reactions in the midst of it.

The reason I have hope is that my siblings and I fought day and night until we all left home when we promptly became (and still are)good friends smile

Hang in there, it's really really tough…...

Fooshufflewickbannanapants Thu 24-Mar-16 18:28:15

Not normal for us either, ours are 16,14,13,11,9 and 3. Usually they get on very well with the very occasional bicker but honestly I can count them on one hand this week (holiday weekend for us) and that's usual for us.

TooAswellAlso Thu 24-Mar-16 18:34:11

I have two boys, 18 months apart, and my GOD they can be like yours OP.

But actually, sitting here thinking about it, the last few weeks we have only had one or two rows.

We still get the checking who has the bigger cake, sideways glance of who has the most lemonade etc, but by the by I think they have finally fucking started getting along.

Ha ha ha ha ha at "I have never tolerated it so it doesn't happen" - maybe you have kids who actually get along? Like I have kids who have always slept 12 hours a night, it's not completely down to my parenting, it's also down to them as children.

Witchend Thu 24-Mar-16 18:39:01

I think it's normal.
Most siblings do have the ability to annoy just by being. It depends on the personality how it's responded to.
For mine hunger, tiredness and sickness followed by a perception of unfairness (real and not) are all big flash points in arguments.

It tends to be a gradual escalation. So 1 sits slightly closer than ideal. 2 says move away in cross tones. 1 refuses. 2 shouts...
(then I give the a sandwich each and they go off together and sit much closer to play something together)

LeanneBattersby Thu 24-Mar-16 18:43:03

Some siblings just do not get along. My oldest two don't. I intervene, punish, impose sanctions, model good behaviour, etc etc until I'm blue in the face, but when it comes down to it they just clash with each other. Hey both get on fine with the youngest.

I try to keep them apart as much as I can when they're going through a phase like this.separate sofas, separate rooms if necessary. Its fucking exhausting though.

SlightlyCrumpled Thu 24-Mar-16 18:44:00

My 3 can absolutely be like this. I don't tolerate it either - doesn't stop them though wink! It's not every day but they definitely have days that they are on each other's nerves from the moment they wake up.

As there is an age gap with mine & DS2 has SN I tend to dive in before it gets out of hand & separate them. Divide & conquer & all that!

Also seeong the problem before it starts almost, speaking to them about expectations before they're at each other.

Gatehouse77 Thu 24-Mar-16 18:45:45

It's so tough!

Like Worra we were very strict when they were younger if anything physical occurred. If they were bickering we'd act as mediator, offer possible solutions if needed, and get them to find a compromise. As they got older I would ignore it unless they involved me. Sometimes I'd say "I think you can work this one out yourselves. Listen to each other and talk, don't shout." Or, they get sent to separate rooms.

Also, 'telling tales' - I was getting vein a different perspective when I did my Montessori training. Rather than see it as one child trying to get another in trouble think of it as one child looking for confirmation that a particular behaviour is unacceptable.

For example...

Child: B just hit me
Parent: That's not nice, I don't like it when my children hit each other, it makes me feel sad. Do you think hitting is the right thing to do?
Child: No, it hurts.
Parent: It does hurt. Would you like to do something with me? (Not always possible, I appreciate)

I found it diffuses the situation and you can refocus their attention on to something more positive. I've used the same technique when doing playground duty, suggesting they should find someone else to play with who won't behave that way.

Disclaimer - it can take time to work! Sometimes the aggrieved child can't accept no one being told off. And, I'm not being self-righteous. There have been plenty of times when I've lost my cool and yelled!

Stripyhoglets Thu 24-Mar-16 18:53:53

Yes. Mine were like this and it was shit. Proper shit. Thanks to everyone who thinks it doesn't happen in their families just because u don't tolerate it, it's not that simple, as neither did I tolerate it, but it didn't stop them. Everyday, they couldn't breath the same air without fighting about it. It destroys you as a family and breaks yr heart as a parent that the people u love the most really hate each other. We stopped going on days out and always holidayed with others such as family as that helped. You can't force children to love/like each other. Some do and some don't. We did divide and conquer and did stuff with a child each for years. We also encouraged use of various electronic babysitters as a means of keeping the peace when we were in the house, arranged lots of separate play dates etc. Just reduced the time together as much as possible. We tried to be scrupulously fair at all times while reinforcing that although they may not be friends, we loved them both and they had to live together. And eventually as the eldest got a social life outside of family once at secondary school - a kind of truce has fallen as eldest said they couldn't be bothered to fight anymore. The turning point for me is that we now have some sensory issues identified for the youngest and tbh eldest is similar so I think that contributed. Hang on in there. Siblings Without Rivalry is a good book and I still use techniques from there when I feel the ceasefire is getting fragile!

PhilPhilConnors Thu 24-Mar-16 18:54:23

My DC fight all the time.
We come down on them like a ton of bricks, makes no difference.
Ds1 has suspected ASD, ds2 has ASD/PDA, both very explosive, neither can tolerate the other.
It's shit most of the time.
When they do get on, they both conspire to wind me up.
Relentless and needs almost constant supervision!

What works best is splitting them up, at home, when out on walks, in the car etc. Try to keep them occupied in something that keeps them apart.
Send one to a grandparent's or to a friend's so you can remember that individually they aren't too bad.
Despite what the books may tell you, if they do have a time of getting on, do not butt in to comment on how nicely they are getting on, this will mean instant war against each other, as they will remember that they usually fight and normality will return!

Stripyhoglets Thu 24-Mar-16 19:01:56

OMG philphilconnors - yes! The positive praise reinforcement that just reminds them to fight! We had that too.
When ever they were quiet or getting on I learnt to ignore and relish my happiness secretly!

CakeNinja Thu 24-Mar-16 19:06:15

Laugh all you like Hola, I'm not offended in the least grin
I know which household I'd rather grow up in!

Op asked if that level of chaos was normal for families, I responded that for us, it definitely isn't. They all seem to like each other, like spending time playing with each other, like us as parents, don't shout or hit each other etc, it's just not our norm to live like OP and her DC do. I am happy that they like each other! It makes life nice.

I wasn't posting to be smug, I was just giving my situation.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Thu 24-Mar-16 19:12:33

Erm I don't think OP started this thread for others to brag how perfect their little darlings are and the fact that. Seemingly theyve never had a cross word. Very strange sibling relationship. I must say.
Yes Op might be shit on the floor at the moment, but. It's a bit cruel to rub her nose in it.
You want to brag. Start your own thread.
That is to whoever the cap fits, BTW.
Ive only got the one child, op, but if my lovely mum was here. She could write a book about me and my dsis fighting. Oh we were terrible. We couldn't be in the same room with out screaming and attacking each other.
flowers

Gatehouse77 Thu 24-Mar-16 19:25:08

And if we praised the good behaviour we were accused of favouritism because DD1 rarely got told off as she didn't do what the others were doing.

DS and DD2 are begin to get along with each other. But there were times when DS couldn't walk past DD2 without touching her in some fashion or another - so bleeding frustrating! - and she'd react. He needed to stop being so provocative, she needed to stop reacting as each behaviour perpetuated the other's.

fancyacoffee Thu 24-Mar-16 22:49:16

Really appreciate all of the helpful suggestions here, thank you! i will be pouring over them tomorrow when I have an hour to myself and am planning to come up with a definitive and positive plan of action. We WILL be a positive and harmonious family, we WILL! Main thing, I think, is that I have to remain calm when dealing with them. It all comes down to me and my behaviour. Helpful to hear how your kids are with each other (even the ones that are the best of mates). Thanks so much to all of you xx

corythatwas Thu 24-Mar-16 23:11:55

Trying to think how my parents managed this- 4 siblings with very different personalities, some explosive, some wind-up merchants.

I think it was very much about instant separation at the first hint of getting physical (or too vocal). And staying outwardly very calm (most of the time). The authoritative head teacher voice. It didn't sort any problems straightaway, but it did gradually have an effect.

I think it helped that they seemed so convinced that they had a right to clamp down on it. However much their children might annoy each other, they made it clear that they did not think they had to accept living in a house where fighting and name-calling was going on.

I have tried to fake- muster some of that conviction in my dealings with my own children.

MrsLion Fri 25-Mar-16 00:42:03

My 3 argue a lot. In our case it's not because me and DH argue or shout and they are mirroring our behavior. I can honestly say we've never had an argument in front of the DC.

In general they are very well behaved, 99% of disciplining is around sibling fights.

In our case I think it's because we have 3 very different personalities and 3 very strong personalities. They are also competitive by nature. Which leads to a lot of rivalry. It rarely gets physical these days as we nipped that in the bud early, but there's a lot of verbal arguing.

It is exhausting and depressing sometimes! Day trips, car journeys and quiet days at home descend very quickly into a fight, crying, telling tales, needling each other.

But it's getting better as they get older.

I'm afraid I don't have any expert advice OP, as I've found it hard, but after reading your post this is what I'd suggest for you:

- Stop the shouting and crying. Behave as you want them to, set a good example.
- Be clear and consistent with your expectations of behaviour and always follow through. Have fairly harsh consequences.
DH and I turn the car around and drive back home when a trip turns into warfare in the back seat. Car journeys got much better after a couple of occasions and they realised we would simply not go to parties, trips, treats if they played up in the car.

- Give them lots of attention. I know it's hard if you're busy and things need doing, but dropping everything else and just spending time with them on a game or activity or just talking made a huge difference.

- intervene. Letting them fight it out did not help at all. Stop them, tell them it's unacceptable. Every. Single. Time. It's exhausting, but it drums it into them that arguing is not to happen.

- Time. It felt like we weren't making much progress at all, but as they've got older it's definitely getting better. So sometimes it's just digging deep, taking a deep breath and soldiering on until they can control their emotions and personality traits a bit better.

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