WT 058: Why Is Everything a Fight?

Do you feel like everything from dinner time to sibling interaction is a fight with your little ones? I know you feel alone, but you are far from it. Every mom goes through these seasons. On today's episode Karen is diving into stubborn kids, dinner time, discipline and even sibling bickering.

Question 1: Karen, I am having a hard time with my stubborn little girl. She is two years of age, and everything is a battle. What can help, to stop making everything from being a fight? Karen’s Answer: It sounds like she wants control, so give her some things to control, just not you. Instead of saying, “Do this!” Give her choices, “ For breakfast, which do you want eggs or pancakes?” Let her decide and own some of her life. Kelsey and Abby were my two strong willed children. Choices worked for them, and sometimes I just had to say, I’m sorry you are not happy with mom right now, but those are your choices, take it or leave it.” I had to learn not to get drawn into a power struggle. Pick your battles, not everything is worth the fight. If you say the sky is blue, and she says it’s red, just shrug your shoulders and say, “Hmm, that’s cool how you see red.” And leave it.

Question 2:  Dinnertime is chaotic in my household. I am trying to feed the younger kids while teaching manners to the older ones. Not to mention the kids who refuse to eat what mommy cooked. Any tips?

Karen’s Answer: I’m strict about this topic, so get ready.  You cook, if  your children don’t eat, then no snacks, no dessert until breakfast. I think teaching manners is good before you ever get to the table, and then at the table, they can practice the manners.  It’s a process. 

Decide what you want your meal time experience to look like, then work towards that end. Envision it in your mind, first.

Question 3: I am in need of some creative discipline for the child that laughs (literally) in the face if everything we've tried thus far: Time outs, spanks, taking away things she likes. The only thing that is remotely successful is to remove her brother or other people from her. She's a happy child that likes being with other people.

Karen’s Answer: Do what works, so if removing her works, there is your answer. Even if she is laughing, I would keep on with your punishment. Her laughing could be smoke and mirrors to get you to cave. None of my kids ever laughed, but Abby did tell me one time that I would forget to punish her when we got home. Rest assured I did not forget that day. Listen, I was a pretty strict mom.  Most of the time it was me against four, so I had to be strict or get completely run over.  I didn’t put up with much, AND my children still love me!

Question 4: My kids fight with each other about everything little thing. Does this ever stop? How do I teach them the importance of getting along with siblings?

Karen’s Answer: I would reward them when they do get along, and have consequences when they don’t.   I used to tell Kelsey she could not play with her friends until she started treating Emily like she was a friend. I also would make the kids do projects together, like cleaning out the garage, basement, etc. Keep at it, don’t get discouraged.  

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