Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

If I lose my mind while Jason is gone, it will be from one cause. The fighting.

I must be doing something wrong here. My kids fight and argue constantly. It starts when they wake up in the morning and continues until they fall asleep at night. It is a never-ending source of stress for me because I'm always breaking them up or redirecting them to play separately. Ask anyone who has ever spoken to me on the phone. My kids are loud!

I know that sibling rivalry is normal, but this is a little ridiculous!

We have one main instigator in the house, although he is certainly not the only one who can get a fight brewing. But he enjoys teasing and picking on his brothers and sisters until they snap. He probably just needs my constant attention but unfortunately that's something I don't have to give right now. Or ever, actually.

I remember my brother and I fighting constantly when we were growing up. We lived together until I was in high school and we almost killed each other several times. We can each remember different incidences when we were at each others' throats. I thought maybe it was the age difference (4 years.) Or maybe because we are opposite genders.

But I can't figure it out because M and J are less than 2 years apart and they used to play so well together. Now they fight for a good portion of each day. They do sit down and build things together or play outside with each other. Inevitably Joshua will come to me crying because Matthew has hit him or teased him. I think the girls have even learned this from them now, although they do fight much less than the boys.
What do you all think? What amount of sibling rivalry is "normal?" What ways have you found to reduce the amount of fighting between your children? I need to calm the chaos in this house!

And yes, if you were wondering, Matthew is definitely my spirited child. He's a handful for sure, even by himself. My mom thinks that sending Matthew to public school and homeschooling the other kids would solve everything. I'm not open to that option. But if you can think of something else that might help, try me!
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