Stickers, and Other Printables
|Tips To Tackle Tricky
Sibling Fighting, Backtalk,
and Yelling-It Must Be Summer!
The call came early; the voice on the
other end of the line was frantic.
"My kids are making me crazy," my sister said. "How am I supposed to get any
work done with their constant fighting, yelling and arguing?"
I listened and shared stories of my own kids: backtalk, whining, complaining,
It's usually around this time that I get a surge
of phone calls from friends and neighbors, all of whom are wonderful parents,
but who begin to doubt their sanity as the lazy days of summer pass. If you have
kids, you know the drill: boredom, complaining, sibling arguments, sassiness,
yelling. What's a parent to do? Below are some tips to help make your summer and
your family a little more manageable.
Have a family meeting. You can also meet
one-on-one with each of your children if necessary. Make it clear that
bossiness, yelling, and fighting will have a consequence, which in our house
means picking out an extra chore from the jar. Extra chores also go to those
who whine, complain, talk back and hit. There's nothing like dog-poop pick
up duty to make a 12 year old reconsider talking back! Here's a twist we use
in our house: extra points go up on the white board for those caught being
good. Good behavior includes using manners, not arguing about chores,
talking nicely to siblings, and doing something without being asked. After
25 points we all go out for ice cream.
Don't overbook. If your family is anything
like ours, the entire school year is a constant flurry of activities:
sports, piano, homework, chores. For us, summer is about taking it easy, as
much for the kids as for me. Of course you want your kids to do some fun
activities, but if you are constantly driving and feeling anxious, you are
doing too much. Remember that allowing your kids down time to read, ride
bikes, use their imaginations, or just be lazy is a very important part of
If you work, plan one fun activity a week you
can do with your kids. If you work full time and pick your kids up in the
evening, usually everyone is hot, tired, and probably a little crabby. To
work around this issue, try to plan one activity each week the whole family
can enjoy. Examples can be take-out dinner and a picnic at a park, an
evening trip to the pool, a movie night or game night, or going out for ice
cream after dinner. This way everyone has something fun to look forward to,
and you can use this as leverage if your kids start acting up.
Plan time away from your kids. Even if you
work full time, you still need to re-energize your battery. All parents need
a night out with each other, even if it is for one hour to take a walk. If
you are a stay-at-home parent try hard to schedule a few hours one day a
week with a baby sitter to just get out of your house and away from your
kids. There are usually a whole gaggle of middle school girls who would love
to earn a few dollars to play with your kids!
One-on-one time. Lastly, our family has a long
standing tradition where each child has a special day or evening to spend
alone with us. My kids call it ?mommy and me day? (or daddy when it's his
turn). Whether you have one child or five, it is very important for your
kids to spend some one-on-one time alone with you. It doesn't have to be a
big ordeal-go out for lunch, see a movie together, take a hike, or go
swimming. Kids feel energized by the time that they have your full
By following these rules, we've been able to tone
down the summer squabbling in our house to bearable levels ? and believe it or
not, lately I've been catching my kids having fun together and even (gasp!)
Since the invention of summer vacation, kids have been making their parents
crazy. But even though it can be trying at times, summer is a great opportunity
for your children's brains and bodies to relax. It's a time to try new
activities, declare some independence from parents, learn a new skill, play and
just be a kid.
(And if all else fails, remember: school is only a few months away!)
(Sibling Fighting, Backtalk, and Yelling-It
Must Be Summer reprinted with permission from
by Joan Simeo Munson, Ph.D.
Joan Simeo Munson has a Ph.D. in Counseling
Psychology and is the co-author of the forthcoming 50 Plus One Great Life
Lessons to Teach Your Children. Over the years, Dr. Munson has worked with
incarcerated individuals, families, adolescents, and college students in a
variety of settings, including county and city jails, community mental health
centers, university counseling centers, and hospitals. She also has a background
in individual, group, and couples counseling. Dr. Munson received her Ph.D. from
The University of Denver, her Master of Arts degree in Community Counseling from
George Washington University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from
the University of Illinois. Dr. Munson lives in the Boulder area with her
husband and three energetic children, ages 12, 10, and 7.
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