Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Brothers, bickering, and my sanity (or lackthereof)

Pop Quiz!!  Your kids are bickering, picking on each other, and fighting....again. They're 7 and almost 4.  Do you:

A. Ignore them and let them work it out.
B. Force them into separate areas to think about their actions, then apologize to each other.
C. Dish out some consequences, such as lost video games or TV shows.
D. Yell.
E.  All of the above.
F. Other (please explain below)

No, really....I'm asking you, what do you do??  Any of those?  All of them? 

I've tried all of those at one point or another, but I have no idea how effective I've been.

The boys have had their little tiffs for quite some time now, but they were just that....tiffs.  "I want the spiderman!  NO I want the spiderman!"  That kind of thing that ends quickly. But now, we've moved beyond just tiffs to the next level....I would categorize some of them as actual battles.  To be honest, the physical stuff is slightly less annoying to me than the verbal...the physical stuff tends to end quickly.  But the verbal?  Sheesh, those two can GO AT IT.  The bickering, the name calling, the whining about each other.  He's touching me.  I don't like the way he's looking at me.  He's cheating at this game. I don't want him to sit beside me.  I want that cup that he has.  No, that's not how you do it, you have to do it my way! You got to pick the game last time, it's MY turn!

image courtesy of

And boy, do they both know how to play it up.  Jake calls Liam a name, Liam kicks him...they both come running with their sob stories of who did what. So, tattling and crying, which is also super annoying to me.  They know exactly how to push each others' buttons and they aren't hesitant to do it at every chance they get.

I think part of what has changed is Liam's sense of self and independence.  Before, he was perfectly content to do whatever Jake wanted him to do, and he was more than happy to be bossed around, just as long as he was included in Jake's plans.  But in the past few months, I've noticed that he doesn't always want to go along with Jake....and man does that get under Jake's skin! 

My strategy lately is to try and ignore them as best I can.  I have yet to determine if this is making things better or worse. 

And yet, the funny/ironic thing about all of this is that if given the choice, they will always choose to play with each other.  It's mind-boggling to me.  Cute and touching yes, but also confusing!  If they're bickering away, I will often suggest that they go to different areas to cool off and that maybe they just need some time to themselves.  You would think that kids who were just at each others' throats would jump at the opportunity to have a break...but no!  Instead, I'm met with "Mom, no!  That's unfair!  We want to play with each other!"  I'm sorry, what?  What am I missing here?  You just told your brother to get away from you! 

The flip side to this is that when they are getting along, they are truly best friends.  They can set up these amazing scenes with their superheroes or ninja turtles, and just have a blast with each other for a long time. I know that they really do love each other, and consider the other one of their best friends....and I try to keep that in mind during the other times, when I'm pulling them off of each other and someone is yelling about wanting the other one to go away. 

And if given the choice, they would want to have a sleepover every.single.night. 

So seriously, if you have any suggestions....leave them in the comments!!  Until I find that magical solution, I shall....

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