The other night my husband and I overheard two of our daughters arguing.
My 7 year old said: Evette, why didn’t you want to play with me?Evette (age 4) replied: I didn’t want to play with you because you kept pushing me, and I didn’t like that.
7yo: I’m sorry I pushed you. I was just playing.
4yo: It’s okay.
My husband turned to me with an expression of bemusement on his face and said, “Did they just work that out by themselves?” We were shocked.
This situation with my girls does not happen very often. Usually there is crying, screaming, and door slamming, but they are learning how to fight more effectively.
Before I was a parent, I had visions of my sweet children always helping each other, always playing together, and never fighting. There was never going to be contention in my home. I was very judgy of other families. Those who had contention in their homes with their children were not parenting “right“. There was not enough hugging, praising, teaching, family nights, scripture study, etc. going on in those homes and that’s why those children fought. I never stopped to consider that parents as amazing as Adam and Eve had children who fought.
Soon after I had children of my own, I was hit with a hard dose of reality. I was stunned to learn that children have their own opinions and personalities and yes they DO fight. Who knew?!
Now I know better. Fighting is normal among siblings, and in my opinion, it is healthy too. Fighting with siblings is a safe training ground for future relationships. Fighting with siblings is also a safe environment in which kids can test boundaries and express individuality. However, it is only a safe environment if you teach them HOW to fight.