Anyway...I have had two separate topics on my mind all day & still haven't quite decided which one to write on tonight. Both topics are issues that I am dealing with right now, although certainly not for the first time!
Let's go with.....
Me (to hubby), "Which topic should I write about?"
Hubby (always so helpful), "Whatever you feel inspired to write about."
Ok, how about (DRUM ROLL, PLEASE):
Yes, we do actually have kids who argue, fuss, fight & bicker. They are bossy, and sassy, too. Ugh. I am a person who truly shies away from conflict. Hate it. Absolutely HATE it. I am equally adverse to bickering & general ugliness. I don't like loud words. So, when my kids get into these sorts of moods, it is like <fingernails on a chalkboard> to me, & I deal with it accordingly.
My kiddos were so excited (and so was I) that today was a day off of school (teacher training). A day with absolutely nothing on the schedule. So, we slept in a bit & then had breakfast (biscuits, gravy & sausage). From the time two of my kiddos got up until we sat down at the table (about 45 minutes), they were at each other's throats. Ugly words, mean actions...the works. I cautioned them several times...but they just didn't believe me. Normally, they sit next to each other at the table....and, when they came to the table, they pushed themselves as far away from each other as possible. This is where I stepped in. I moved them closer....much, much closer. Almost touching, actually. Then, after thanking the Lord for our food & praying for the attitudes at the table, I dropped the bomb on the two peace-breakers: They would be spending the ENTIRE day TOGETHER. No reading (yes, a punishment for my kiddos), no electronics, not even any Adventures in Odyssey. They had the choice of either sitting & staring at each other all day or playing---nicely--together.
I warned them that, should I hear any harsh words at any point in the day, I would tie their arms to each other. Yes, I would do that...I have, in fact. Amazingly, they were pretty kind all day long.
Now, do I think that there will be no ugliness tomorrow?
Nope. I'm not naive.
Will I force them to be together?
Yes I will.
I do not believe brothers & sisters should fight. They should be friends!!! After all, we all have to learn to deal with & appropriately handle other people throughout our entire lives. The home is where we start that learning process. Rubbing shoulders day in & day out can really start to wear on attitudes. Maybe one has a headache. Or had a bad day at school. Or is 'hormonal'. In my book, none of these are justification for treating others badly. I tell my kiddos (large & small) that we all have to handle our emotions, physical discomforts, disappointments and still treat others the same way we wish to be treated by them (See: Golden Rule in the Holy Bible).
I have found through the years that, when we allow an undercurrent of frustration to continue between kids, maybe chalking it up to 'a stage', it affects our whole family. If brother picks on sister, sister sasses back, brother pesters again, sister cries....Mom & Dad get stressed...Mom yells at another kid...that kid is upset & gripes at a sibling....well, you can see where it goes & it's not good.
As with any other behavior we wish to instill in our kiddos, teaching them to manage their attitudes & treatment of others takes time and training.
If your kids don't get along, then I would recommend that you create situations that require them to work together. Maybe doing a joint chore or playing something together such as a game. One time won't cut it. You will need to have them be together-a lot. Supervised togetherness. Nip any bickering in the bud. Provide consequences of ugly words or fighting. Gush compliments at politeness & considering each other.
This kind of training can be done at any age. Well, maybe not an infant...but you get it.
The key is that YOU are there...maybe in the background, but YOU are constantly monitoring the situation for glitches so that you may quickly step in while the fuses are still hot & redirect.
God put each person in our families to help each one of us with an area in our life. The family home is the ideal place to be tried. This is just as true for children as adults.
Teaching our children to get along when they are young will go miles towards helping them handle others in their adult lives.
DISCLAIMER: Yes, I have 'off' days too. Yes, I yell at the kids. Yes, I have to apologize. Yes, I am not perfect. Just so ya know! :0)