Putting my kids in the same boat (treating them the same when they fight) was actually more peaceful for all of us.
It’s so easy to get caught up in my boys fight and defend my youngest son who’s 3 1/2-years old. I find myself feeling sorry for him and angry at my oldest for hurting him. We all know (especially since I’m the youngest) that the younger child usually provokes the older sibling.
I finally feel comfortable that my youngest son can hold his own—he’s at the size and age where he can defend himself. Therefore, when he antagonizes his older brother and then gets upset with the results, I have faith that they can figure it out and work it out eventually.
The reason this tool has provided more peace in my home is that when I’m not in the middle taking sides and or defending one of them—it is easier on my blood pressure and temper and I don’t flip my lid the same way they just did. Even more amazing is how quickly they resolve their problems when I stay out of it.
When I remind them that I will not be involved and that they can come find me when they’re done; they handle it and problem solve better than I could if I chose to be involved.
By putting my boys in the same boat—I eliminate one of them learning to get attention by being the victim while the other gets lots of training in being the bully.
There’s an activity that we do in the Positive Discipline Parenting classes called The 3B’s (Bear it. Beat it. Boot them Out) that illustrates three way to put kids in the same boat. Beat It—You leave the room while the kids fight and them let them figure it out. Bear It—You stay in the room while they fight and you stay out of it by doing nothing (this one is impossible for me) Boot Them Out—Separate them without taking sides and tell them that when they and you are all calm they can try again. What parents realize after participating in this activity is: When the kids aren’t getting the attention they’re used to from their parents, they’re usually confused and will come together to figure out what’s going on.
This week my boys started fighting and I told them, “It looks like you guys are fighting and I don’t want to be involved.” I let them know that I’d be downstairs and they could let me know when they were done so we could finish our bedtime routine. I also told them, “I hope you can resolve it quickly so that we still have time for books and sharing happiest and saddest times.”
I hadn’t reached the bottom of the stairs when I heard Greyson calmly explaining to Reid: “The reason I took that toy from you and hit you with it was because you weren’t letting me have a turn.” Reid then said, “But I wasn’t done playing with it.” Greyson then said, “How long until I can have a turn?” Reid replied, “Let’s play a game where we can both use it. Greyson then told Reid he was sorry and asked him if he could have a hug?
I honestly couldn’t have been more pleased. I know the results would not have been that good had I been involved. I was so proud and amazed at the same time.
Once again, my boys get to prove to me that when we use these Positive Discipline tools—they really do work!
When you have the courage to “put your children in the same boat,” be sure to use the other Positive Discipline tools of letting them know in advance what you’re going to do and then be brave enough to follow through. At the very least—they’ll be upset and you’ll still be at peace because you weren’t involved. Good luck 😉