In which family are there no arguments? Children's fights can be exasperating for parents, who are not always very clear about how we should act when faced with conflicts between siblings. And it is that, not only is it necessary for the little ones to stop fighting, but we must seek sincere forgiveness between them, an effective reconciliation that puts a true end to the discussion and that reinforces their relationship. Riqui Muñoz, father of 5 children, teacher and family counselor, proposes the shared game techniqueto get it.
If parents are very attentive to the way in which children react and relate to their siblings, we can realize that there are different types of fights. Among them, two are worth highlighting:
- When children self-manage the fight. In this case, a conflict appears between the brothers and they themselves are able to find a solution to the fight.
- When one of the children goes to the parents to manage the fight. Children are not capable of reaching any common ground, so one of them (or both) end up demanding the parents' mediation.
Although the ideal would be that all the fights were managed by the children themselves, realistically the second type of fights are the most frequent. However, they pose a dilemma for parents, who want to find the fairest solution for all parties in conflict. How should we act then? This father and teacher proposes what we could call the shared game technique.
This way of acting before the fights of the brothers has two clear objectives. On the one hand, quell the conflict between the children, but also seek reconciliation between the two.
To do this, imagine a situation in which two brothers start to fight because they cannot agree on something: in a game, in what is seen on television, at lunch ... The step by step could be something like this:
1. The conflict between the two breaks out and neither of them seems to be willing to give up their position. Faced with the impossibility of reaching an agreement, one of them decides to go to the father or mother so that he or she can find a solution (and if possible, in their favor).
2. The father or mother who has just been in the middle of this fight, must listen to that son who is asking for help.
3. Once this first son has finished making his point, the father or mother should call the other person involved in the conflict. It is time for him to explain his point of view. We cannot forget that the one who claims the attention of the father or mother in the first place is not always the one who is right. It is important to listen to both parties.
4. Once both have raised their point of view (and now that they will be somewhat calmer) it is the moment to find the real reason for anger. To do this, we must ask both why the fight. We must let them negotiate, but we must guide the conversation, asking the necessary questions, so that they reach a common ground.
5. Once we all understand the focus of the fight, it is time to apologize to the affected party. It is important that children ask for a sincere forgiveness, a forgiveness of a hug and a kiss.
6. It seems that at this point the situation is resolved but, in reality, the most important point remains: that the children spend some time together after the fight. The best way for sibling reconciliation to be effective is by encouraging them to go play together after the fight. We can find them a shared game, encourage them to watch a movie together, to do a craft together, to read a story to each other ... In short, to spend some time together.
Many of the fights that happen between brothers they are due to jealousy. These, in addition to being completely normal, are good and understandable in certain situations, such as the arrival of a new brother.
The problem of jealousy comes when parents try to ignore them, hoping that they will go on alone or that the child will change his attitude over time. In fact, our reaction has to be the opposite: perceiving that our children are jealous of some of their siblings should set off an alarm signal in us. It is at that moment that we must begin to act to help them understand how they feel, the reasons behind that feeling and think about what we could do to accompany them.
To do this, it is best to sit down with the child to talk about what it is that makes them feel jealous. Creating a relaxed atmosphere and having a calm and confident talk will help the little ones feel more comfortable to open up their feelings.
There are children, however, who do not get to verbalize that they feel jealous. In these cases, it is important that parents observe possible changes in their behavior. Sometimes, they are gestures as simple as biting their sleeve, staring, having certain regressions ... All of this should encourage us to have a conversation with them to understand what is happening to them.
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