The Scenario: Your two sons, ages eight and ten, usually get along just fine. But lately, whenever you have to discipline one, the other tells you it’s not fair. Sometimes, they’ve been so convincing that you’ve not addressed the problem. You’ve explained and explained why they need to stay out of the disciplining of their brother, but they won’t listen. What can you do?
The Solution: Step one is to stop explaining. They’re not listening, and they’re not going to listen or agree with your rationalization of why interfering is wrong. Step two is to realize that you’ve given the boys reason to think you don’t mean what you say. So they have come to the conclusion that if one interferes with a punishment of the other, chances are good you’ll back down.
Step three is to do something to fix the problem once and for all. The next time you’re about to punish one and the other interrupts to plead his case that you’re “not being fair,” respond with: “You’re right. I’m not. So now you both will receive the punishment since you interfered.” Then follow through with punishing both of them. That will stop the interfering soon.
Excerpted from Ending Sibling Rivalry: Moving Your Kids From War to Peace, available in October. Posted with permission of
Beacon Hill Press of . Kansas City