When I notice that the boys start to get aggressive in the middle of play time, I would tell them firmly to play nice with each other. They know very well that if they cannot find a way to share or take turns, then mummy would take their toys away and nobody gets to play. On good days, one of them would relent and things go on nicely, other days, each would insist on his stand and they would break into a fight and I would have to intervene. *inner self screams in frustration*
Upon questioning, my 5yo would be able to narrate to me what had happened if I didn't witness the entire situation unfold. He's more expressive and eloquent so I could get the picture rather clearly from what he said. But I would always ask my 3yo to verify what his Brother had said, so each has a chance to air his grievances. My main intention is to always get each boy to take responsibility for his actions and words. It's hardly ever only one child's fault. It takes two hands to clap and two kids to fight.
Very often, I encourage my 5yo to walk away from the fight if his brother tries to be violent towards him.
Most importantly, my purpose is to instil in my children that as a family, we should never fight among ourselves. I've told my oldest Son that he is bigger and stronger than his younger Brother and he could easily defeat his Brother physically. This might not hold true as the boys grow older but the emphasis is to not fight within our family. I've also told my oldest son that if he ever sees someone else bully his younger Brother, he should either shout for help or fight the bully with all his might. Just as I would give all my might to fight off someone to protect the 3 of them, I told my oldest son that he also needs to protect his younger siblings.
Even as we stop our children from fighting each other or use the same methods to discipline all of them, there could be very distinct lessons to be learned by each of them. There is always a need to adjust the lesson according to the child's age, maturity, and receptivity. The lesson for both my boys would be that they should not fight with each other because we are a family. The lesson for my older son would be to control his emotions and have the courage to walk away even when his little Brother taunts him. I strongly believe this is not a sign of weakness. In fact, the person who yields to the taunts and reacts likewise would have succumbed and failed in standing up for his own principles. The lesson for my younger son is to learn that our hands are used for expressing love and violence is not tolerated and resorting to violence is definitely not the way to get what he wants.
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