For most of us, our kids have been out of school for about a month now. What does that mean? It means our kids are probably fighting with one another, a. lot. Because this is a problem we all deal with, summer break or not, let’s take the next few posts and talk about our kids fighting.
First, kids are not always going to get along. We can’t expect perfection. It doesn’t exist, so let that notion go right now. :)
Second… a few “usually true” statements.
- Children who are closer in age and the same gender are more likely to argue and fight.
- Two -Four year olds have a conflict every ten minutes.
- Three-Seven year olds have a conflict 3-4 times an hour.
Remember, young children don’t have the maturity to solve problems, they are too impulsive. Cut them some slack.
When do kids fight the most? Between five and eleven.
-5 year olds are always trying to care for and tend to younger siblings.
-6 year olds struggle with compromise and are overbearing. They are also competitive and their favorite saying is “it’s not fair.” I think our son said that 1 billion times when he was 6.
-7 year olds are less aggressive and more protective of younger siblings.
-8 year olds argue and are not very good at forgiving. 8 is when kids usually start asking for “private time” away from younger siblings. At the same time, they always want to tag along with older siblings. Ironic.
-9 year olds are looking for peer acceptance and want space. Be sure to give it to them. They really need it. They also need to have time with their friends, without younger siblings. They also love to tattle tale and tell you “who started it.”
-10 year olds start to get along better with their siblings.
-11 year olds like to tease.
-12 year olds start to mature and this is usually when you start to see big improvements in the arguing and fighting department.
-13 year olds want to be friends with their siblings and arguments are usually over items that are borrowed or things that get ruined.
Keeping a good perspective is really helpful when we are trying to “endure” our kids fighting. Remember, kids are constantly learning and figuring out. They are trying to navigate the unknown. They have zero experience and are doing the best they can with very little understanding of how emotions work.
Relationships take experience, maturity and patience on our part. For example, when our son was 6, he was so competitive it started to cause many arguments. He was competitive about every.single. thing. It was silly. Understanding that that was part of his development and that it would pass was very helpful. We were patient, waited it out and sure enough, it took care of itself.
Once we have a better understanding of how our kids are developing, it is time to try and figure out why they are fighting.
1. Do their personalities or priorities clash? Different genders usually have different priorities. Our son thinks army men, legos and mystery books are priorities. Our daughter’s priorities are pink, purple, playing house and American Girl Dolls. Most of their arguments are because they can’t agree on what they should do together.
2. Do you and your spouse fight? Your kids are just mimicking what they see.
3. Do they not have any time alone? Kids need alone time. Every day.
4. Do your kids get to express their feelings? If they don’t feel like anyone is listening to them, they will get frustrated. The frustration will build up and they will explode. Is is usually a sibling that gets hit with the explosion.
5. Are there stresses at home? Marital problems, money problems, sickness, stress? Kids respond to stress by loosing patience and fighting. They don’t have enough life experience to know other ways to deal with it.
6. Could it be that your kids are just too young to express how they feel? They are not old enough to solve the problems. This can be especially true when it comes to toddlers who don’t have the language skills necessary to communicate yet. Out of frustration they fight us and their siblings.
Over the next week or so, take some time to watch your kids when they are fighting and arguing. See if you can pinpoint the root of the problem.
While you are at it, spend a few extra minutes with each of your children also. The extra one-on-one time will make a world of difference.
In Part 2 of Sibling Fighting, we will talk about what we can do as parents to help with all the arguing and fighting.
Do your kids fight? Is that a trick question?
What do your kids fight about the most?