Bickering kids driving you nuts? Here are some things to teach your children alternatives to squabbling.
1) Stop-Breathe-Chill - When you are getting angry and want to hit your brother or sister, stop. You canchoose to stop! Now, take five deep, slow breaths. This allows your brain to start working and helps you gain control ofyour emotions. If you still feel angry, do something to relax -listen to music, exercise, or something else that makes you feelbetter. Tell the person you are angry with that you will talkwhen you are calm.
2) Family Meetings - Meet as a famiily weekly to talk aboutproblems and how to solve them. Make sure everyone gets a chanceto speak. Agree on ground rules such as no yelling orname-calling. Be sure to do fun activities, too. Have amovie or game night. While this seems hard to make time for, inthe long run it can make life easier!
3) The "Dignity Stance" - Stand tall, hold your head high, tell yourself it isn't worth fighting about and choose to walk away!
4) Good Listening - Make eye contact. Let the other personfinish what they are saying before you jump in. Repeat what youunderstand the other person heard.
Adapted from Naomi Drew, "The Kids' Guide to Working Out Conflicts: Howto Keep Cool, Stay Safe, and Get Along." Free Spirit Publishing,2004. www.learningpeace.org