Ah the sounds of summer - splashing in the pool, fireworks popping in the sky, and the bloodcurdling screams of “MOM!” piercing the air. We look forward to summer break all year. It’s a time when activities are at a minimum, the weather is nicer (in most parts) and there is no homework. All of these things allow us to take a deep breath, relax and slow down. However, that relaxing, easy feeling may only last a short time before the unfamiliar, long days of togetherness start to wear on everyone. Those relaxed, calm days of summer soon become peppered with arguments, unrest and lots of hurt feelings.
What’s a parent to do? How do you combat the sibling squabbles and restore peace in the kingdom? First you need to get to the root of the problem and to do so I’ve created a fun quiz.
How would you best answer these questions:
1. Your morning has been fairly peaceful, the kids have been playing video games together for about an hour when you hear a bloodcurdling cry! What happens next:
a. The kids seek you out to be the referee
b. One sib is “Acting like The Boss”
c. One got bored and tried to quit
d. Nothing, everyone knows better than to interrupt Mama’s “Coffee time”
2. You plan a family day out of the house, how do you decide what to do?
a. You don't, no one will ever agree so you only plan individual outings
b. The oldest always decides, it’s just easier that way
c. Everyone puts an idea in a hat, you pick one and pray
d. Mother always knows best and decides
3. Which describes your role when you are at home with your kids?
a. Talk show host
b. Hostage negotiator
d. Real Housewife of Your City
4. The sibling dynamics in our house are most like:
a. Batman & The Joker
b. Gru & the Minions
c. Bart & Lisa Simpson
d. Cinderella & the Evil Stepmother
5. What song best describes a typical summer day?
a. Happy, Pharrell
b. Sabotage, Beastie Boys
c. Bored to Death, Blink 182
d. Cruel Summer, Bananarama
If you answered mostly “A’s”, the root of your children’s squabble is around their differing personalities. We all have a story about a co-worker or classmate where no matter how hard we tried, we could never get along with them. As much as we might not want to admit it, there is a chance your children have personalities that struggle to see things eye to eye.
If you answered mostly “B’s”, you are living with “The Boss”. The Boss has a natural tendency for order and rules, so chances are without the normal routine of the school year, they are feeling a little out of sync. As a result, they try to take charge and bring order by telling everyone else what to do.
If you answered mostly “C’s”, you are battling the perennial classic summer “I’m Bored” attitude. Think about it, everyday kids are told where to go, what to do, how to act and what to eat. Being able to make their own decisions is foreign to them. It can feel uncomfortable and overwhelming, so lashing out at a sibling may seem like their only option.
If you answered mostly “D’s”, I hate to break it to you, but You are playing a major role in your children’s squabbles. You may feel like you have to step in to resolve conflicts, or protect the sibling that’s always the victim, but in the long run your interference is not helping the long term resolution.
Now what? There is so much more to this topic than could ever fit in one blog post, so I created “6 Days to Summer S.A.N.I.T.Y.” Click on this link, enter your email and take the quiz online. You’ll get your first email within 24 hours. The good news is, if you start implementing these ideas today, you'll be one step closer to keeping the sibling squabbles in your house at a minimum.
Many of us love the phrase, “The days are long, but the years are short”. Why allow sibling squabbles to make the days even longer than they already are? The solution is closer than you think and isn’t hard to implement once you know where to start. Start today and get back to the calm, relaxed days of summer.
I want to hear from you – what do you think about the sources of Sibling Squabbles? Leave a comment or come on over to the Facebook page to share your thoughts.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.