I feel like I spend half my life disciplining one or the other. Is there anything I can do to help them get along and stop the conflicts?
In this counseling answer:
•Sit them both down and explain to them that from now on you will not tolerate any bickering.
•Tell them that as young men, you expect them to come to you peacefully and discuss any issue they are having calmly.
•If this cannot be done and they continue with this behavior, tell them you will begin to take away privileges.
•Once they see you are serious and they know the rules-fighting, bickering= a loss, good behavior and using problem-solving skills = a gain, they will soon begin to change insha’Allah.
As salamu alaykum,
Thank you for writing to us. I’m sorry to hear you are going through difficulties with your sons arguing and bickering.
It seems to be the norm at this age. Alhamdulillah, they well behaved in general and cause no problems out of the home.
This shows that they can control their behaviors and that they do have boundaries which they will not cross in public!
At home, they may naturally feel “free” to engage in their emotions when they get tired, bored or irritable.
I would kindly suggest that when they do begin to argue, that you ring a bell, blow a whistle, or something else out of the ordinary to get their attention. They may think it’ funny at first as it will be an unexpected behavior from you, but they will come to learn that it is a warning signal.
The first time you utilize this method, sit them both down and explain to them that from now on you will not tolerate any bickering and that when they start to fight and bicker you will blow the whistle (or whatever you chose).
And once that whistle is blown they have 1 minute to recompose themselves or there will be a loss of a privilege. Tell them that as young men, you expect them to come to you peacefully and discuss any issue they are having calmly.
If this cannot be done and they continue with this behavior, tell them you will begin to take away privileges. As every child is different, only you know what means the most to your boys.
It may be an outing, it may be a favorite game, it may be a play-date or some other activity they like. If they recompose themselves within that minute and do not re-engage in the behavior, they each get one point for effort.
At the end of the week if they reach x amount of points (you decide how many points is acceptable for you) they each will get a reward for non-aggressive behavior.
The point is-if positive behavior gets rewarded, it tends continue-when negative behavior results in losses it should diminish.
Check out this counseling video
Once they see you are serious and they know the rules-fighting, bickering= a loss, good behavior and using problem-solving skills = a gain, they will soon begin to change insha’Allah.
It may take time, consistency and patience on your part sister but if you stick to your plan, within a month you should see the behaviors change.
We wish you the best, please let us know how they are doing.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.