Connie K. Grier shares tips on how parents can support their kids in mending sibling squabbles.
Well, it was bound to happen. It happens in the best of families, and although it’s not an event that parents walk through the streets with their heads held high after, it should also not be an event that causes us undue stress, or horror…especially when it comes to our sons.
My WonderTwinz had a disagreement.
This was not just a “Can you please stop talking over me” or “Get out, I have to use it” type of disagreement. This one carried a little more weight, and a lot more frustration and hurt.Hurt for them…Frustration for me.
When there are long periods of peace between the boys, I suppose I am somehow lulled into a state of permanent contentment, where an argument is the last thing on either one of their minds. Considering my sons are 15 that is probably one of the more irrational delusions that I have allowed myself to believe on my parenting journey…lol.
How did I respond initially? I imagined the next two summer months filled with bickering and unpleasantness if I did not nip this in the bud…right NOW! I let them know in no uncertain terms that their summer would not be “cool” if our home was full of hot air. I was not in my calmest state when sharing this warning, and after I calmed down a bit, I took three steps to remove myself from the situation, and support the boys in mending fences.
1. “TAG” IN A PARTNER
Just like in wrestling, support when you feel like you might explode can ultimately lead to a positive outcome for the team. Whether the partner is their parent, or another parent/adult that you trust and your child has a relationship with. Young people find it easier to listen to other perspectives and share their thoughts in calms surroundings (Difficult Conversations for Young Adults)
2. Encourage a Sincere Apology…But Do NOT Force a Reconciliation
After the dust had a chance to settle, I encouraged Son 2 to go over and apologize sincerely to Son 1. Son 1 was not ready to accept his brother’s apology. When Son 1 walked away from Son 2 as he began today “I’m sorry “, I shared that I appreciated Son 2’s effort, but Son 1 may need a bit more time to come around. I remember a time when I might have said “you’d better accept his apology” to my son. I’ve grown since then to understand that even with family, forcing acceptance is wrong. I can demand that they are respectful of each other, mad or no, but truly accepting an apology is moved by the heart and I don’t want them to have a surface level relationship.
3. Provide a Change of Scenery
Take a walk, take a drive, and take the siblings away from the scene of the “scream”. Allow them to calm down, breathe and come back to the table after having a bit of space.