‘Vague bickering. Brace yourself, it starts. ‘I’m telling mommy!’ They stampede like elephants, each screaming over the other.’: Mom talks sibling rivalry, ‘Remember they really do love each other’

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“Vague bickering.

Brace yourself. It starts.

‘I’m telling mommy!’

And then it’s like a stampede of elephants. Each trying to scream over the other and each trying to squash me first, and their approach is to FREAKING attack!

‘Guys, guys, guys… GUYS! Just stop for one moment!!!! Please for the love of all that is holyyyy…’

By this point, my Fight and Flight responses are in overdrive. I’m honestly instinctually ready to flee the home or drop kick one of them (neither of which I can rationally do!).

The other problem with sibling rivalry is that it sets off our Mama Bear Response too. If someone else was shouting at our kids like that, or lashing out or calling them ‘IDEEEEOOOOT!’, we would be enraged and ready to defeat the offender on the battlefield. Honestly, in seconds, my sword is DRAWN.

But when that offender is another of your sweet (think positive) offspring, then your Mama Bear instincts are dizzily chasing their own tail.

So what do we do?

Well first of all, stop taking it so seriously. Because honestly, we all know that in ten minutes they’ll be happily playing like best friends again, giving you whiplash.

Second of all, try and intercede early on. There seems to be a sweet spot with kids arguing, and if you get involved at juuuust the right moment (after they’ve had chance to fix it themselves, but before they have turned into stampeding elephants) you can often de-escalate the situation.

Make sure everyone feels heard.

If they’re arguing, calm the situation…even when that’s hard. Ask them to join you elsewhere to chat (because removing everyone from the situation can be an instant calm down). Make them a drink of water while you chat (again it’s a pause button), and then listen to each child in turn.

Try to take turns with who goes first, so that they feel equally heard.

Ask them how they feel the situation needs to be fixed, label the emotions so each can hear how THEY feel and how the OTHER child feels too.

Mostly just slooooow things right down.

And take some time for yourself. Have a hot brew, or hide in a cupboard with chocolate. Pour that glass of wine or lock the bathroom door (no judgment here, I have a secret chocolate stash!). Whatever it takes. The kids don’t get it, but I know your head feels like it’s going to POP like a balloon.

Solidarity Mama, you’ve got this.

And remember, they do love each other. Really.”

Courtesy of Nic Bescoby

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Nic Bescoby. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more from Nic Bescoby:

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‘Give me a high five!’ She didn’t want to. He leaned in close to my daughter. ‘Are you looking forward to Christmas?’ Uncomfortable, she refused to acknowledge him.’: Mom stresses importance of children’s comfort, ‘I want her to know no means NO’

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