Nature is such a powerful phenomenon that we cannot change or suppress it. I often remind myself that kids have to be seen as nature’s expression. If the volcano erupts and we try to stop it, a catastrophe will occur. Kids are like trees. If trees are planted too close to each other and grow in the shade, there will be no place for them to grow and thrive. If trees are planted too far apart, they will be devastated by winds and storms.
Disagreements and fights between kids are very common. Kids often fight because they don’t have the skills to sort out disagreements. Temperament, environment, age and social skills are the things that influence kids’ fights. When children develop stronger social skills, they fight less.
One of the biggest misconceptions of parents is the belief that they educate kids only when they behave inappropriately. The way parents react when their child misbehaves is considered parenting. However, raising kids is an ongoing process that takes place in the family, and all other environments like kindergarten, or school.
ONE OF THE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR KIDS PSYCHOLOGISTS: WHAT TO DO WHEN MY KIDS ARE FIGHTING?
The first and most important thing for parents is not to feel ashamed. Don’t be afraid of what others will think when your kid is screaming or fighting. Usually, parents feel ashamed and start to criticize, humiliate their kids. Then our own kid becomes our enemy. By doing so, we tell kids that they are bad. As they become grown up, they are accompanied by this belief that they are actually bad. Try to stay calm without expressing any special emotions. Catch yourself when anger arises, tell yourself STOP and talk to your kid in a calm tone. This way is really working, and it’s very effective. When you do this 60 times, the 69th time it will become your habit.
REASONS WHY KIDS FIGHT
- Does not have the skills to manage and express their feelings in a socially acceptable way.
- Lack of language skills.
- Seeing such behavior in the environment and copying it.
For example, for a frustrated child with limited vocabulary and limited social skills, a bite or a blow to a game friend who refuses to share a toy, seems completely normal. Kids fight without thinking about the consequences.
WHAT TO DO?
Stop the child’s behavior.
Focus on the affected kid.
Say in a calm, but firm tone: “I see that you are angry, frustrated, but the other kid is in pain and feels hurt.” Instead of telling him “you can’t fight”, tell him “you can touch gently, if you want to say something, you can use words or ask for my help”.
If necessary, gently remove the child from the environment so that you can help him calm down. Show the kid how to deal with anger, sadness, frustration in socially appropriate ways.
WHAT TO AVOID?
If we use physical force as punishment, the kid will be upset. This begs the question: why are parents allowed to beat and the child is not? Physical punishment can even increase your child’s aggression. Kids learn more about behavior from what they see their parents do, than from what they say.
THE MOST IMPORTANT
Help your child learn to manage his big emotions in positive ways. It is useless to criticize a child’s behavior or what he has done wrong. The comments about what he did wrong don’t help your kid feel safe.
You need to figure out and understand the child’s feelings that encourage such behavior if you want to stop your kid from fighting. Parents and kids don’t have to think they are bad. This will not solve the problem.