I have two kids. A girl and a boy. Most of the time they engage in typical sibling behaviours: they play nice, they don't play nice; they laugh and giggle, they yell and scream; they hug, they hit. As the third child of four, I know that this typical behaviour for siblings. I, as their Mom, accept that . . .
BUT sometimes, the bickering and the tattling are just too much for me and I find myself yelling at them, threatening them and taking privileges away (because let's be honest, the DS, TV, games and computers are privileges). When I was growing up, a popular solution my mother had for us was to delegate housechores. And under the watchful eyes of the Korean Mother Death Stare, we vaccumed, dusted, wiped and scrubbed, eventually being allowed to go out and play. The problem I have with this method is that I don't want the kids to grow up thinking housework is a punishment. I feel like everyone should be contributing members of a household and the workings of that household. (Of course sooner or later another conflict would arise and it was a matter of lather, rinse and repeat.)
I also don't want to be one of those parents who steps in every time there's some minor conflict. I am a strong believer of letting kids figure out a way to work things out (to a certain degree) - to find some resolution on their own. As I recently read Big WoW'so post at Rice Daddies about letting kids have a little freedom in their life to be able to make mistakes and learn from them, I also thought about how letting kids learn to deal with each other is sometimes much better than steeping in and "resolving" it every single time.
How many times have we had playdates with someone whose kid is out of control and can't deal with the needs/wants/desires of other children because they've never been given the opportunity? You know what I'm talking about . . . the mother who steps in every time she hears even a little teeny tiny peep out of hte kids about who's going to take their turn next at the slide, the father who buys two $400 buckets of popcorn instead of letting the kids share, etc. (And I'm talking about the kind of behaviour that's outside of the normal toddler "that's mine! law".)
So tell me, how do you deal when you see your kids egaged in childhood conflict?
--Angie in Texas is conflicted about how to deal with conflict.