Do you have the expectation your children should always get along with each other?
If so, why?
- Is it because you feel discomfort when they don’t get along?
- Do you believe everyone in the house should be peaceful?
- Are you afraid they’ll hate each other as adults?
- Are you disowning a part of yourself who struggles with conflict?
Lots of inquiries around sibling conflicts.
I grew up with a sister 2 years older and we fought like cats and dogs until she left for college.
I can still see us in the hall of our old house, me with my long fingernails wildly scratching her as hard as I could and her intensely banging on my head full of brush rollers. OUCH! Looking back I can laugh at the scene and yet at the time it was not funny. Thankfully, we survived and as an adult, I love my sister.
Do you expect your kids to learn how to deal with conflict without engaging in it?
The actual fighting is the symptom, not the cause. As we are able to tolerate our discomfort and see with fresh eyes how our children are struggling with managing BIG feelings we can show up to support them in powerful ways.
The first step though is to recognize what BIG feelings are being triggered inside you. SafeSeat time again.
You may want to do some pre-fighting practice to get in touch with what comes up for you so you don’t act out with your children.
Otherwise, you may spend your time trying to STOP the fighting instead of supporting them in moving through the BIG feelings without attacking their sibling.
What most parents report is they feel powerless and they identify with the victim position since as a child they often felt this way.
Instead of sitting with those feelings of powerless and offering kindness they often act POWERFULLY and teach their children to do exactly what they want them to STOP.
Our children watch us to see how we handle feelings of powerless and when we compensate by acting powerfully they do also.
What would it be like to welcome those tender feelings of powerless as an adult?
Imagine seeing and hearing the vulnerable one in you who needed understanding instead of being yelled at or punished.
See if this week you are open to sitting with the tender “young” one in you who got in trouble for acting out when what she really needed was kindness and understanding.
Next week we’ll talk about how to support your children from an adult perspective.
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