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Your 8-year-old now
When it comes to breaking up quarrels between siblings, here are several replies parents often automatically blurt out – to little effect. Don't ask:
- Haven't you been told to quit that bickering? (Yes, they have. So what?)
- Who started it? (You'll never find out.)
- What did I just tell you? (That's not the issue here.)
- Why can't you just get along? (Ditto.)
Better: Don't intervene immediately. Let the kids see if they can work it out by themselves. If they can't, step in to suggest that they try. If they still can't, offer to help.
First, help them define the real issue. It's not "who started it" but what they're trying to achieve (doing something first, righting a perceived wrong). Encourage them to try to figure out possible solutions. Then agree on a plan.
Once kids learn the basic steps to problem solving, they're more likely to turn to those steps first – rather than raise their voices ever louder until you step in to resolve the situation for them.
Your life now
Looking for a fun family activity? Plant a garden or terrarium with your child. Kids this age love to watch plants grow.
They can help choose the plants at a nursery, plant them, then water and maintain them. Visit the library to choose books about gardening. Look online to learn more about the specific plants you've chosen and how to help them thrive.
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