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Kids Epically Failed

I've been listening to the bickering between my two kids, 9 and 6, increase every day. Just now i finally had enough of it and called them to me to yell at them, yet again, about all the fighting with each other they do.

Instead of yelling, I thought of having them say something nice about the other. My daughter's (6) ideas: He does Taekwondo with me. He goes to church with me. My son's (9) ideas: She loves me. She's nice to me.


So then I made them face each other and say just one nice thing about the other that did not involve "I" or "me". They STILL struggled.

I feel like I've failed somehow.

Answer Question

Asked by Rosehawk at 12:00 AM on Jul. 8, 2013 in General Parenting

Level 40 (116,661 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • Oh don't feel that you have failed!! My DD is 9 & DS is 6... Same problem!! It drives me nuts some days!!

    Answer by Crafty26 at 12:04 AM on Jul. 8, 2013

  • Thanx Crafty. I see all their cousins getting along like best friends, and all I hear from MINE is the arguing, bickering, fighting, and all that. Gets me down in the dumps some days. The thing that hurts the most is that they couldn't come up with anything nice to say to the other that didn't involve themselves.

    Comment by Rosehawk (original poster) at 12:08 AM on Jul. 8, 2013

  • I don't think that's failing Rose... that sounds pretty normal to me.

    Answer by m-avi at 12:14 AM on Jul. 8, 2013

  • My younger sister and I fought ALL THE TIME! My mom finally came up with the best punishment EVER! She made us sit on the couch hugging each other until we stopped fighting. We HATED it. We always started out hating each other, but ended up playing and having fun. Hug it out.

    The new take on it is this...I LOVE IT!



    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 12:14 AM on Jul. 8, 2013

  • It's not your fault... It's there age. They are still pretty egocentric at this age. You don't see how the cousins fight when you aren't around... its just part of sibling-hood. I remember my grand mother getting so annoyed at my brother and I for the same things... But we are good friends now... When it really counts. Don't be do hard on yourself!!

    Answer by Crafty26 at 12:15 AM on Jul. 8, 2013

  • You haven't failed, and neither have your kids. It's summer, it's hot, they're sick of being around each other every day, and probably bored. Mine are five and seventeen and doing the same damn thing. I think your way of handling the bickering was a good one, and if you do it often, eventually it may make them think about why they care about each other. The thing is, especially a six-year-old, may not have the cognitive ability to think of why she loves someone beyond how he interacts with her or relates to her. And your son is special needs, isn't he?

    Besides, siblings fight, but just let one of those cousins pick on either of hem, and I bet the other one will be right there in defense overdrive!

    Answer by Ballad at 12:19 AM on Jul. 8, 2013

  • No failure here. You see the cousins getting along when YOU see them. That doesn't mean they always get along. My brother and I could fool every aunt and uncle in the family... and we had a lot of aunts and uncles! But at home? Let me just tell you, my brother got his first shiner from ME. And he knew how to push all my buttons too. That said, we had each other's backs against all comers.

    Answer by gdiamante at 2:31 AM on Jul. 8, 2013

  • You haven't failed. They're still at that age where the only nice things about someone else are the things that someone does for them. The fact that they at least came up with something shows that they do recognize that their sibling can be nice. That's not a failure.

    And as for their cousins - my kids drive me nuts when we're home, but when we're out with other people, they can often be the best behaved children I've ever seen (I swear, sometimes I think aliens replaced them while I was driving or something!). So when you see the cousins, that's probably what's happening - you're seeing their best behavior, but at home, Mom and Dad are probably tearing their own hair out wishing the kids would just stop fighting already! lol

    Answer by wendythewriter at 7:27 AM on Jul. 8, 2013

  • Bet you felt good not yelling at them to stop fighting!
    It sounds like you're wishing they felt a connection & deep appreciation for each other, in spite of having conflicts, & could articulate it. I can understand it could feel unsettling to see them struggling to come up with anything to appreciate about someone who is sharing their life so intimately!
    I think it means that the "negative" was likely at the front of both their minds. Even being put in a position to come up with "positives" under negative pressure is still a stress, and still conflictual. Mom wasn't happy! They "had" to do this. That is some degree of stress, and it is hard to be expansive & really THINK (connect flexibly) when stressed.
    It's true their antagonism & egocentrism IS normal (rather than some fault or problem) but it IS possible to relate to kids in ways that don't promote adversarial dynamics.
    Have you seen the book "Siblings Without Rivalry"?

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:40 AM on Jul. 8, 2013

  • @SB, I've done the hugging on the couch thing. Didn't work all that well. I've considered that shirt idea a few times.

    @Ballad, yeah, he's been diagnosed with Asperger's, with the caveat that his intelligence is compensating for a lot of the social issues most kids with autism face.

    @gd, true. They both have come to the protection of each other, more than once. About a year ago, my son was more than willing to take on 4 boys older and bigger than him to protect her.

    @girlwithC, Yeah, I've heard of that book. Never really thought about picking it up. I might now though.

    Comment by Rosehawk (original poster) at 10:46 AM on Jul. 8, 2013

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