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Does all the sibling bickering drive you crazy? Here’s exactly what you can do so you don’t lose your mind AND so you can teach them how to treat each other with more kindness.
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Alright you guys we are talking about bickering and I mean of the sibling variety, although I suppose if you have adults in your life that are recurring too, you can apply the same things, but. I’m talking about kids in your house bickering. I saw a post in Catholic, large family that Facebook group. About bickering. And I thought, yeah, that is totally a difficult thing. Particularly the more kids that you have, but. What happens is as moms, we just are like, Ugh, bickering and. Like drives us bananas and we’re very reactive to it. And we think it shouldn’t be happening at all. And so we never make steps to. Deal with it, train the kids, come up with some rules or boundaries. We just think it’s this thing that happens that we can’t control and we think it shouldn’t be happening. And so we have a lot of. Usually anger. About it or annoyance or frustration. And so. Step number one. You think the kids shouldn’t be doing this? And we talked about this so many times on this podcast, but you need to hear it all the time. Right now, your brain really thinks. They shouldn’t do that. They shouldn’t bigger. They should know better.
But is that true? Like, why should they know better their children? You can think of five things right now that you know better and you’re doing anyway.
Right. Like eating all the chocolates or watching that reality television show that maybe isn’t like the best thing for your soul. Right or being snippy with your husband. Like just imagine if I had a clipboard in your living room and when you were snippy with your husband, I was like, listen, Listen, Donna, you should know better. Why are you doing that? All the adults should be nice. Their husbands all the time.
And of course that’s true, right? Like in a perfect world, all of us would be living in harmony, speaking to each other with charity. But we’re humans and we’re tired and this world is so overstimulating.
And so no. It is unreasonable to expect that your children are not going to bitter bicker. If that’s the only thing you do. Is in your mind stop thinking that they shouldn’t be doing that. Your life will already get better. You don’t have to do any of the other things. I’m going to tell you in this episode, you just see them bickering.
You can, you can react however you want. But your reaction will be better if you don’t think they shouldn’t be doing this.
Okay. And. And again, like, let’s just think about toddlers. When a toddler is learning how to crawl and begins crawling. Like on a couch and then standing up on the tippy top of the couch to reach like a bookshelf that’s behind the couch. We don’t think. That toddler should know better and should know not to do that. We’re just like, oh yeah, they’re doing that. That’s what toddlers do.
And I’m going to intervene. And make sure that kid is safe. And that’s how I think about big bickering. Is I think, oh, I’m going to intervene and help keep their souls safe. They need some virtue training here.
And I’m so glad. That I get to teach them in my house before they go out into the world.
And so that’s exactly what I do. I just go, oh, it sounds like you guys are having a hard time right now.
I, and then I’m going to give you a couple strategies. And things that I do. But before I get into that, just hang with me for this. And really soak it up. If you stop thinking. My girls shouldn’t be fighting. My boys shouldn’t be bickering. The kid should all just be generous and share, right? Like those thoughts just bleed to so much frustration. Anger, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, sometimes shame and guilt like, oh, but if I was a good mom, they wouldn’t picker.
There is not a mom on this planet. Who wouldn’t tell you. Oh my goodness. A sibling fights drive me nuts.
’cause they all do it.
They all do it.
And so just sit with that for a minute. Like you are not a bad mom.
That is just a completely normal human behavior. It doesn’t mean we have to let it happen. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement for you talking to them. About bickering. But the fact that it happens, isn’t a problem.
That’s just, it’s just a normal part of training these kids up.
Okay, so we’re going to set down. Guilt and shame and resistance. We’re going to walk into the room.
And. I’m going to see my girls. Arguing over art supplies. Uh, like just really my, my oldest blesser just thinks everything is hers. She thinks everything is her stuff. I bought new colored pencils. She’d be like, those are my colored pencils. And then she would like Dane to let the other girls use them. And this all happens when I’m not even in the room. And then I come back and I’m like, No, no. I just bought those colored pencils for the family. They’re not yours. And you do not get to dictate or regulate. The colored pencil use for the other girls. Okay. And listen, I use this and I’m laughing because it’s silly, but I just want to validate for all the parents. It is not silly when we have to deal with this 10 times a day. And it feels ridiculous. Okay. And so. When I encounter something like this, let’s just stick with colored pencils for right now. And then we’ll pick more of a charged example later. ’cause usually the colored pencil thing. They’re just like me and my roommate kind of like needling each other, but there’s not screaming or crying, you know, it’s just like a low level bickering, but it is annoying to me.
And so first I would come in and be like, Hey, whoa, it sounds like we have some crumpled hearts. I say that phrase a lot. It sounds like we have some crumbled hearts. Going on. And because I know it’s not just. In this scenario, like my oldest daughter, like they’re both have crumpled hearts. And so I come in with love and softness, and this is what I think it looks like to be the peace center of your home as a mom, like, whoa. What’s going on here. Okay. So have some crumbled hearts. I also think the best of them. Okay. When we think the best of someone, this is true for your husband too. We just assume we’re like, these are great humans and they’re so nice and they know how to be nice to each other. So something’s up. And I go in with curiosity like, whoa, are we tired? Are we hungry?
Are we down to our last three colored pencils and I didn’t know.
Like, if someone have hugging all of the blues and it’s really just, it’s not about all of them. It’s just about the blues. Like when we go in with curiosity and we assume the best of them, I think these are great kids. Then we get better information. When we come in and we squash them and we point fingers, which is really just about you feeling bad about you. Right. You’re like, oh no, I’ve raised terrible humans. And then we kind of go in with this assumption that they’re terrible humans. And then as a reaction, we go, you know, that you shouldn’t be doing that. I remember, I remember. I have done that. Okay. Not saying that I’m always dislike. Lovely life coaching. Mary Poppins, mom. Okay. But. Most of the time I am now. ’cause I know. That when I assume the best of them and come in with curiosity. We have the best shot at resolving the situation. Okay. And so I’m usually looking for, are we tired? Are we hungry? Is someone feeling left out.
And sometimes it’s like left out of what’s going on. Sometimes it’s, I’ve got a kid who just feels left out of the family for a little bit. Or her sister had a series of like fun, wonderful things. And she’s just feeling kind of hurt. So we don’t know, we do know that there’s crumbled hearts. And this is true of you too. My friend. When you bicker with your husband, it’s because your heart is crumbled.
And so we just want to go, oh, am I tired? Am I hungry? To my feelings get hurt. What’s going on. So I come in with softness. I try to resolve the situation. I usually ask them not to talk or to talk one at a time. Cause usually, you know, They’re knee-jerk reaction is to all start talking and telling me how terrible everything is. And I’d be like, oh, too many voices. Take a deep breath. And I’ll model it for them. Okay. We’re all going to take a deep breath.
And I’ll say it’s hard to think clearly when we’re not calm. So let’s see if we can get our bodies calm first.
I love you. Let’s figure out what’s going on.
She took my color pens on. And then sometimes it ratchets up again. I’m like, oh, let’s take a deep breath.
And then sometimes I’ll just ask them basic questions to feel out what’s going on. And then they’re going to tell me about the colored pencils, because they think that that’s the problem. And every once in a while, that is actually the problem.
But a lot of times it’s, I’ll be like you also though, kind of sound tired. Like you had a big day yesterday. Do you think maybe you just want to rest or do you think maybe we’ve been together for too long? Sometimes if they’ve just been together all day, I’m like, I think maybe just separate rooms is what we need right now.
But your level of problem solving. It’s so much bigger when you’re calm and we think the best of the kids. I’m going to just like, oh, this is just a temporary thing or having a bad day, something like that.
Okay. So we come in with softness and curiosity. We assume the best of them. We start gathering data.
And then you can kind of decide what you’re going to do. Do we need a consequence here? Do we need some training? The training might be, Hey, lovely oldest child. I love you. Those were not your colored pencils though. I bought those for the family. And I know that she’s very particular about her things and she likes to keep them very orderly and nice. And so I might even suggest. Would you like to use some of your money to buy colored pencils that are for you? I’m going to put your name on that. Because she may not know that colored pencils are like $4. And she may be tickled pink. To spend $4. Um, colored pencils just for her that she keeps in a different place than the general art drawer.
Right. So that’s an option too. Because I’ve I’ve want to validate for her. Yeah. It feels frustrating to have little kids around. Not that her sisters are a little, but they’re a little less particular with the things and maybe they break them and maybe, you know, who knows what the deal is, but I just wanna be like, yeah, that is frustrating.
And now that you’re getting older, We can give you more autonomy and more independence, but we have to do it with charity and love.
And then sometimes in that moment, but sometimes not, I will talk to them about speaking to each other in a charitable way. Like, Hey. We don’t have to be friends. We don’t have to agree. But God calls us to speak charitably to each other. And that means without sharpness and meanness. And exasperations in our voice. And I really want them to leave my house, knowing that, that we can talk to people who are different than us who have totally different ideas. And we can still treat them well, like a human being.
And so I’ll also validate for them like, Hey, this isn’t like, you. And I labeled them. Right? Like you are kind, you are generous.
So maybe we’re just tired. Maybe we’re hungry. Maybe we’ve been together too long.
And then sometimes if it’s bad. Okay. So let’s go to a, like a worst example and there’s like a lot more energy emotions, crying, screaming, something like that. Um, I might just remove some of the children immediately. Like you need to go to your room and calm down. We’re going to talk about this later.
Like when, if the, if the emotional state is so heightened, nobody’s. W thinking of the rational mind. So then I would separate them. Everybody would calm down. They’d probably speak to them individually and then I would bring them back together.
And pretty rarely do I force them to do things together, but I might suggest. One-on-one with them. Like, Hey, it might be nice if later today or tomorrow. You played a game with her or did something to repair? You don’t have to, but if you want to.
Like, I feel like forcing kids to do that. Doesn’t really help them learn the lesson, which is, I want them to intrinsically feel like they want to repair and make it right with them.
Because you can make any kid be like, sorry, I’m sorry. But that doesn’t really accomplish what I want, which is that they learn. Yeah, when I’m tired and grumpy, I speak unkindly to people sometimes. And I can apologize for that and I can. Do something nice with them. Spend some time with them.
There are lots of ways that kids can do something nice. Like sometimes one of the girls will just be like, oh, I picked up the room on my own. That’s her way of repairing.
The other way. That we bring down bickering in the overall house. Okay. Is you pay attention to the overall stress intention in the house? Okay. ’cause a lot of times you’ll see sibling bickering go up. When parents are arguing, money feels tight. The kids have heard something. That’s making them feel unsafe. And then there’s just this like tension in the house. And then it comes out in sibling bickering because in a funny way, they feel safe doing that. Like they don’t know what to do with this weird energy of feeling like. Unsafe. And so they just like fight with each other because it kind of gets that weird tension out. But in a safe way. Because ultimately they do usually.
Trust their siblings. On a deep level. Even if it’s not about colored pencils.
And so later that would be the next thing that I would consider. So the first thing is like, Hey, Drop your resistance kids bicker totally normal. Then the second thing is like dealing with the kids. Being curious. Problem solving it.
Resolving it issuing consequences if you need to. And then this third thing is just being like, huh? What else is going on for the house?
Right. If there’s just tension in the house, you might need to address some other things that are coming. Like it’s, the symptom is bickering, but it’s not really about that.
And one of the things, because you know, the eight of us are home almost all the time. That we really did was we created pockets in the house where a child could go to be by themselves. And the other children had to respect that. And I mean, like there’s this like tiny space under the stairs. And there’s these different pockets in our house. And if somebody says, Hey, can I go there and be alone? I’ll say yes. And then I kind of acknowledged the other kids, you know, violet is going to go be in that space. Please leave her alone. She just wants some quiet time. Some alone time.
Because if we’re together all the time and you feel like you can’t escape, like you have to be with all these humans all the time. And you feel trapped then? Of course you would have a stress response. And I think bickering is just one of those for kids.
And I don’t know that that’s what’s going on in your house. I’m just saying for us, that’s another thing like that has nothing to do with my husband and I. But sometimes I noticed that if the kids are just together too much, They just need a little bit of space. All the humans need space. If I told you, you had to be in the living room with eight people all the time. You’d go a little crazy too.
But the kids have no independence. They can’t get in the car and leave. So you want to like create space for them if they need that. And the last thing I’ll just say is you’re their mama. You know, if you can get calm and not feel bad about yourself, You know what they need. You know what to try, you know, what to Google, you know, which of your friends you should ask.
I think that the bickering though is so triggering for us, that we’re like angry and then feel that all these emotions and we literally just only ever problem stall from that state.
And so I just want you to come back to calm and she’d be like, I am a great mom.
God chose me. I know what their little hearts need.
Of course they bicker. That’s what all children do? What tools do they need? What’s going on in the house.
And you’re going to see some solutions that you didn’t see before.
And ultimately I do think that having peace in the home should be our goal. And there are so many factors and there’s so much noise.
But it starts with you. It starts with you being the peace center. We’re home. And if you want to learn how to do that. Come join. Catholic mom com. I teach you how to do that.
And if you get confused and you can’t see something clearly. I will coach you. I’ll clean up your brain until you see it clearly. And you’ll go, oh yeah. That is what I want. That is what I need. Here’s what I’m going to do.
I’m just telling you it’s the best money that you could spend. If you knew that it would create peace in your house. You would do it. The only reason we don’t sign up for things is we’re not sure it’s going to work right. We’re like, ah, I don’t know. Maybe I’m not going to do it. And we. I don’t have time. Maybe it’s not going to work. Probably not for me. Cause I’m like the one weirdo that. Can’t learn this or do this.
Let’s just all the brains, all the brains say that.
But I know it will work for you and it doesn’t take that much time, which is crazy.
And I am the product of this, which is I do not scream my kids very much. I go into my mind and I coach myself and I’m like, yup. What are we going to do about it?
And it feels great. It feels great to be a mom who can control her reactions.
And that is, I think. The deep, holy desire for control that we have.
All right. My friends. I love you. Send this episode to someone who has bickering kids, spoiler alert. It’s everyone. Everyone has bickering kids. Or are you guys. I’m praying for you have a blessed day.
All right, my friend, thank you so much for tuning in to the Catholic Mom Com podcast. I’m on a mission to help Catholic moms have more peace. So if this episode inspired you in any way, I would be so grateful if you would share it with a friend. Just hit that share button and send it to someone who could use some encouragement.
And if you want to dive deeper into these tools, come join us in our community at Catholic Mom calm.com. I’m praying for you and for all Catholic moms. Have a blessed day.