With 6 children in 6 years I suppose I have to expect a little banter, the odd fall out and a bit of possessiveness over toys. But when I signed up to 6 (OK not quite the right phrase) I really didn’t know what I was letting myself in for. As babies and toddlers the squabbles were mischievous and even endearing at times but underneath
it all there was no doubt they adored one another. Tears and howls of “mummy” one minute were laughter and play again the next. Some days were a joy and I can happily recount them playing for hours imaginary games, with soldiers and army teams, in dressing up clothes together or with friends. Happy days! Equally I remember feeling exasperated, permanently mediating and apologising to other parents for my children as they laid into one another with a thump, punch, scratch or bite. Disgraceful behaviour with much shouting and time out on the naughty step imposed from me, or a real talking to from Daddy (worse).
I believed at the time that they would grow through this stage, that the playful squabbles would reduce and sensible polite young people would emerge. Either I was mad to imagine this or Nick and I have gone horribly wrong along the way somewhere with our parenting style!
Am I the Original Shouty Mummy?
I still have days when I feel I am endlessly nagging and shouting at one or another. Days when they just seem to team up and decide whose turn it is to goad me next. I can’t tell you how many times I wake up and say to myself, today I am going to be really patient with my children and understand and encourage them more. Then it all goes wrong even before they are even dressed for school!
Whose fault is it anyway?
If I am honest, when things kick off there is usually a reason. Addressing the problem is always better than just shouting, but I am human too and it doesn’t always happen.
Thank goodness for space!
Having the farm is my salvation. To me, the children are just like puppies. When they all become unreasonable or start play fighting in the house they all find themselves marched outside. A healthy run around and calm is restored. I have space to think and they have space to run off some pent up adrenalin. If I didn’t have the farm I would definitely make a point of taking them to a park or something for at least half an hour a day. They often do this after school as well. Once everyone has calmed down I can assess what is behind the behaviour. Invariably it is one of the following, all of which are easy enough to sort but not always easy to identify at the time!
Top causes of sibling fighting in our home
Tired children – Too many late nights from after school activities etc leaving them prone to pick at one another.
Hungry – It is close to dinner time and Mummy is running late for any number of reasons! This seams to affect children so much more than adults.
Lack of exercise or change of scene– I find indoor play at school on wet days the top culprit here.
Finally me being tired! If I am tired then a playful squabble which is nothing serious can be blown out of proportion by me. Then I find myself shouting at them when it is really me who needs the time out!
How do you cope?
I would love to hear your thoughts, is it just my kids? How do you diffuse fractious fighting?
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.