Monday, October 09, 2006

Stop the MADNESS!

As I sit here tonight in my incredibly quiet hotel room, I can't help but miss the chaos of home. Most mothers I know would kill for a night away from the kids. And don't get me wrong, I do enjoy my occasional overnight business trips. It's cool to order in food, indulge in some wine and just relax. That is if I was capable of relaxing. The wine definitely helps, but I still long for the noisiness of home.

Recently, one of the things that's been keeping our household high on the volume level is the incessant fighting/arguing/hitting/pinching/biting/unsharing amongst Grace and Alex. I know that sibling rivalry is a normal part of life. I've done research on ideas on handling it. One of the things I've found in my research is that many, many, many experts claim sibling rivalry occurs out of jealousy out of attention given by parents. Maybe I'm not seeing myself as a parent accurately, but I give my children equal attention. I don't feel in the least bit that their arguing is over gaining my attention. I try hard to have atleast a half hour of alone time with each of my children each day. If anything, I think their arguing comes from getting each other's attention. And what's strange is that Alex starts most of the fighting.

Grace and Alex are almost four years apart while Alex and Eva are only 22 months apart. Alex, the middle child and only boy, dotes on the attention Grace pays to him. However, Grace is at the age that she enjoys her alone time. She loves to read, write and loves Disney Channel shows like Hannah Montana and Zack and Cody. Alex loves to destroy, run and any cartoons. Their interests have taken a different path. Oftentimes Grace views Alex's entertainment ideas as "babyish" and will vocalize it. However, Alex doesn't understand Grace's views on enjoyment. Yet, they both long for each others attention. Thus the constant fighting.

If we can go 15 minutes in our house with out some sort of arguing, we count our blessings. More often than not, when they are yelling, I end up yelling. I know that's not the answer and they are only learning that it's okay to yell when things don't go your way. I've been working on that on a daily basis. I try to remind myself to take deep breaths and find a creative way to get them to work together. A lot of times, I simply tell them to work it out. If they can't work it out in the next two minutes, I solve the problem by taking away, turning off, or remove both of them from the situation. I also have been trying to compliment them when they do play well together. They are so sweet and beautiful when they take the time to get along. Plus the whole household is happier. When they have been particularly nasty to each other, I have them sit by each other and say three things they love about each other before they can get up and move to the next activity (usually lunch or riding bikes---something they both love).

But no matter how hard I try, the fighting still continues. And I don't always respond the way I should. (Hi, I have 3 children, a full-time job and a hubby whose work schedule is CRAZY). I am open to any ideas anyone may have to minimize the yelling, screaming, arguing and fighting that goes on in our home. I'd appreciate any feedback.

The bottom line is that I know their arguing is normal and a part of growing up. I also know and witness on a daily basis the true, undying love they have for each other. Grace would do anything to protect her brother, and Alex would never let anyone hurt Grace. Their love for each other is unique and refreshing. I just wish I would see more of it.