This summer, my girls, like many siblings who are in close quarters for many hours on end, fight a decent amount, and at times it escalates into crying and screaming, “She hurt me!” “She took my stuff!”, “She won’t leave me alone!” etc. I just love it. (Not!)
Learning the skill of conflict resolution is incredibly important and takes a lot of practice on behalf of the children and a lot of teaching on behalf of the parents. And this can get even trickier when parents weren’t raised with the skills themselves. The good news though is that new tools can be learned.
One tool we use regularly is the use of a “code word” which is used to let the other know person that they really mean STOP.
When I first decided to use this technique my process went something like this: I sat down with the girls and told them I was really tired of their fighting and that I didn’t want to be in the role of referee. I told them I had a tool for them to use and asked if they’d be interested in hearing about it. They said yes, so I suggested they develop a code word to let the other know when to stop. They liked the idea and agreed to try it, and to respect it, and then, for some reason, the girls wanted to use the word Tacos! So when one of them screams TACOS! The other has to respect it and immediately stop what they are doing. 🙂
It works very well (their buy in into the process is key), teaches them about mutual respect and boundaries and, it is REALLY funny hearing them regularly scream TACOS!!
Recently, my husband and I developed a code word for our fights as well. Our word isn’t Tacos, but I think maybe it should be. Talk about changing the mood, right?!
Hope it helps!
p.s. I am offering free Positive Discipline Intro classes on August 19th and 27th and the next class series starts on September 8. Please see my new website for more information.