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Breastfeeding - Handling Criticism
Feelings about how to parent seem to shift with every generation. A new way of parenting, sometimes called attachment parenting, has emerged and it challenges many of the rigid teachings of our mother's generation. Although breastfeeding is on...

Children's Discipline: How To Resolve Divorce Parenting Differences?
Did you know that inconsistency on matters of discipline gives double messages, produces anxiety and can be very confusing to your children? Children need to know where they stand in their behaviors. It is therefore critical for parents to...

MORAL ARMOR'S Irrational Parenting, Part I
"If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is “God is crying.” And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is, “Probably because of something you did.”"—Jack Handey My view on parenting holds...

Parenting Failure? - It May Not Be All It Seems!
I'll never forget my first lesson in a glider. I'd been interested in gliding, or soaring as it's known in the USA, for some time - and now the big day had arrived. As I approached the airfield the words of some 'friends' came back to haunt me....

Two-Year Olds: The Original Freedom Fighters
We call him the Buddha Napoleon. Anyone who's ever lived with a two year old knows exactly what I'm talking about. He's this amazing blend of cosmic beauty, love, and peace while simultaneously making it crystal clear that he's the grand dictator of...

 
Sibling Rivalry: The Magic Secret That Stops It Instantly

It's a familiar scene: Kids screaming at each other,
complaining that, "He got a bigger piece of pie," or "She
got to stay up an hour later last night."

When sibling rivalry rears its ugly head, what do you do?

Try to reason with the kids? Scream, threaten or punish
them? Ignore it and run for cover?

None of these methods is very effective for very long.

But I've discovered a tactic that works every time. It
really is guaranteed to end sibling battles, almost
instantaneously. The only downside is it requires a bit of
patience on your part.

The trick is understanding that it doesn't matter what the
kids are arguing about, the real battle is for your
attention.

Really. They could be screaming at the top of their lungs
over who gets to play with a certain toy. They could be
red-faced and foaming at the mouth over who got to sit in
the favorite chair. It doesn't matter what they're arguing
about. What they're really saying is, "Mom, I want more of
your attention. I want to know you love me."

Understand this, and you're 80 percent of the way to
resolving all sibling battles.

So here's how to resolve the battles: Try to catch them
before the argument escalates to the point where one or both
kids need to be reprimanded.

If you can't do that, wait for the next time. There always
is a next time, isn't there?

Next, make it clear that you aren't taking sides.

Now try to discern which child is feeling the need for
attention most. It will typically be the child who started
it, though that's not always easy to figure out.

Turn to that child first and say, "Look, I can see you're
upset. I'm wondering if maybe you need some more attention
from me. Can I give you a hug?" (Or rub your back or throw
the football around or whatever you do when you give your
kids attention.)

When that child is calm, repeat with the other child(ren).

Your goal is to let your kids know that:

1) You understand they need your attention; and

2) You accept them; and

3) You aren't going to judge them for needing or wanting
your love.

Depending on how old the kids are and how long the rivalry
has lasted, you may hear a little sarcasm. But I promise
you, there's a soft vulnerability underneath those barbs. If
you can ignore the sarcasm and keep offering more attention,
you'll be amazed how quickly the arguments disappear.

Giving them attention doesn't mean you have to be at their
beck and call for the rest of the day. It may mean you


give
them hugs and kisses. It may mean sitting and talking with
them. Or it may just mean sitting quietly and playing a
game of their choice for a few minutes.

When They Both Want Your Attention at Once

It helps if you warn them that you'll have to take turns
giving each child individual attention. I handle this in a
really straightforward way.

I just say something like, "Listen, I can see you both want
my attention now. And honestly, you both deserve it.
(That's the best line I've come up with yet!)

I really want to give both of you the attention you deserve,
but I'm only human. So how about if I sit over here and
talk with you first, then I'll play a game with you...and so
on."

This also works really well when there's a new baby in the
house. Obviously, if you're in the middle of feeding,
changing or bathing the baby, you can't give the older
one(s) the attention they want.

So just say as sympathetically as possible, "You know what?
I bet you want a hug right now, don't you?" Or, "Could you
use some mommy time?" Or, "Does it seem to you like the
baby is getting all my attention?"

Then say, "You deserve my attention, too. And I want to
give it to you. Right now, I can't because I have to feed
the baby. But as soon as I'm finished I'm going to...[give
you a great big hug, play Candy Land with you, etc.]

Is This Really Guaranteed to Work?

Yes, but, of course, you have to put it into practice.

I am the first to admit that when I'm tired, hungry, cranky
or PMSish (or worse, postpartumish!), I just can't bother
with this trick. I mean, geez, even Barney would get PMS if
he were a woman (and not a make-believe character)! So
don't expect the battles to stop instantaneously and never
arise again.

Plus, when the kids are tired and cranky, it doesn't matter
how much attention you give them, they're not going to
respond to anything but food and sleep. Understand that,
too.

The reason this trick is guaranteed to work because it's
based on understanding that the root of all sibling rivalry
is a battle for your attention. Even if you do nothing
other than understand that, and accept that all kids need
attention (probably more than you have to give), you're 80%
of the way there.

About the Author

Stephanie Gallagher is the author of several parenting
books and creator of "Mommy Merry Go Round," the
hilarious new online movie that's taking the motherhood
community by storm! See it today at
http://www.mommymerrygoround.com

 

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www.bbc.co.uk
 
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Information regarding parenthood and parenting. Find the meanings of Baby names and useful articles on parenting.
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