I love that my kids are only 18 months apart because they enjoy the same toys, games and activities and play so well together. Their closeness in age also means they fight really well together, specifically screaming, name-calling, punching, and hitting.
I've learned from other moms in Tween Titans that often this does not stop when they are older; the yelling and hitting just escalates to the next super-frustrating level.
Help for sibling rivalry is a common question on CafeMom, as are the typical remedies: time-outs, withdrawal of privileges, etc. One mom in a recent Tween Titans post said her friend actually duct tapes her two children back-to-back and makes them do things cooperatively for a few hours.
Not sure what CPS would say about that, but some of these other creative solutions from moms in the group seem like they actually might work. Embarrassment seems to be a theme ...
- I let my daughters, 13 and 11, go at it until it's over, and if it gets too rough, I tell them to take it outside in the backyard. But I want to add that neither of them has ever seriously hurt the other.
- I have used written rules with set consequences (from Family Rules) for about a month and a half and it does seem to be better. They don't yell near as much, the hitting (when I am right there) is way down, and the name-calling has all but stopped.
- My kids get work for fighting with each other. We have a job jar. I also make them do nice things for each other, and depending on the infraction, they might get to pick what the other does for them or we decide.
- They write apology letters to each other, or an essay about why they should be respectful or about their particular offense.
- I make my 13 year old and 11 year old sit down and write 25 reasons why they love their sibling. It kills them to do it, but what they write is hilarious. One time my son wrote, "I love my sister because she laughs like a dude." My daughter wrote, "I love my brother because he makes me smile even when we're getting yelled at."
- My 10 year old twin girls were always fighting in the car. I make them hold hands and kiss each other at red lights. Even the threat of this makes them stop fighting and keep their hands off each other. I pull the car over when they refuse to hold hands.
- My husband has threatened to make our son and daughter stand by the road and hug each other LOL!
What creative punishments have you doled out to get your tweens and teens to call a truce?
"I Wish the Baby Were Dead"
Girl Fight: Sister Who Can't Get Along