I heard that too familiar sound again…boys bickering in the living room.
Chances are you’ve heard it, too.
And what’s the fighting about?
Probably something that’s not too important in your world, but it’s obviously at the top of a boy’s list.
Summer is so nice – having no school schedule, time together. But sometimes that can lead to too much togetherness. Toes get stepped on, tempers flare, brothers bicker.
What to do? Here are some of my favorite strategies.
- “Divide and Conquer.” Just get them doing something different—apart for a few minutes. Change the focus.
- More Mom Time. If you look and listen closely, you may be able to figure out that one of the boys just needs a little more Mom Time. Sit down and play cars with him, read a book, do something with just one for a minute.
- Time to Talk. You may just need to talk it out. Let the boys have a say; try to find out what’s really going on. They’ll feel better that they had a hearing, and you may learn something new! Teach them a new negotiating skill. Rock Paper Scissors is a big hit at our house. Once in a while, I even hear our adult sons say, “Okay, let’s settle this. Rock Paper Scissors.” It’s kind of like flipping a coin, but much more fun. And for some fun, you can even learn the game by pitting yourself against a computer here.
But it’s important to remember that all our boys’ experiences are training for the larger picture of life. These are teachable moments that can help our boys learn about conflict management. They’ll need those lessons long after they step out from under our roof.
Proverbs 17:17 tells us, “A friend loves at all time, and a brother is born for adversity.” I know that’s what I want – brothers that will be there for each other in good times and bad. But that doesn’t happen magically; we have to train them toward that.
Don’t give up, Mom. We all endure those times of sibling rivalry, and they can light a mom’s angst if we’re not careful.
Instead, take a moment. Delve a bit deeper.
De-escalate by talking, playing, teaching.
Turn them into teachable moments, and you’ll all be happier.