How to Help Kids Fight and Make Up

6 Comments May 17, 2012 in Parenting

How do you help your kids start liking each other again after they fight?

In a recent Parenting post (When Kids Fight) I promised to share what my mom did with us when we were young.

Helping your kids make up

My mom was very creative.

She would make us face each other, I think she tied us up with a rope or something (it was not abusive, just saying) with our noses nearly touching. We had to stay like that until we loved each other again.

One day when my own kids were being really nasty to each other I decided to use my mom’s great idea. I didn’t have any rope around so I hunted through my husband’s closet and found a large sweater.

The Sweater

Both of their little heads fit through the neck opening, both sets of arms fit into the sleeves and they faced each other.

How to Help Kids Fight and Make Up - Carla Anne Coroy - two kids in the same sweater

It doesn't take long for squabbling siblings to break down walls in their hearts with laughter when faced with 'The Sweater' discipline!

This kind of treatment only takes about 5 minutes (maybe less), and by that point they are often laughing their heads off. I wouldn’t take the sweater off until they had apologized with a full apology and had given each other a kiss. (They were little children and kisses are fine!)

The Like List and more

On other occasions I would have the kids take turns listing what they liked about each other, until their hearts were soft enough to really love each other again. We always ended with a hug for sure, and a kiss when they were young enough for that.

Sometimes if I didn’t have time to sit and listen to their Lists of Likes and there was no sweater available I’d have them hug each other until they liked each other.

If hugs didn’t work (think seat belts in a van) I’d have them hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes. Again… this usually ends in fits of giggling. I’m okay with that. It means they haven’t let the walls go up in their hearts and I like that.

Once their hearts were soft, and the relationship was restored, if they hadn’t already apologized I would take that time right away to give them the chance to apologize with a true apology and to offer forgiveness.

Incorporating Prayer

Prayer has often been a part of our discipline practice. Not always. But often.

I wish now I had done it more often and from younger. I didn’t think about it until I was older. We almost always prayed to God for forgiveness of their sin when they had been naughty.

But one thing I did too infrequently was to have them pray for each other. I highly recommend it. That is one of the best ways to train your children to bless others – even those who hurt them.

For a mom who is working hard to raise godly kids, it’s not just about getting the fighting to stop. It’s also about building character in the process and making sure relationship is restored before it’s all over.

What about you?

What do you do to help your kids make up after a fight? How was your mom or dad creative when disciplining you?

6 comments so far Uncovering God’s Hope in Everyday Life

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  1. Marlene says:

    We are obviously cousins:) My Dad did the same thing. I think they learned this from their very creative mother-our grandma.
    When my kids were younger I had to be very creative. One thing I did was if there was someone that would start a fight and the other one was doing their best not to engage, the perpetrator would have to do one of the person’s jobs.

    Also if they would fight when we had a sitter, the kids had to pay the babysitter out of their own money.

    • Carla Anne says:

      Marlene, that’s fabulous!! I love the idea of the kids paying for the sitter!!! Why didn’t you tell me this earlier!!?!? :) And yes… our Grandma was very creative and taught her family well!

  2. These are great ideas!!! Will definitely be using them when my kids are a little older :)

  3. Lisa Reynoso says:

    I’ll keep this in mind once my kids are a tad bit older (youngest is 3).

    I heard about two brothers who were fighting, and they were tied together, right arm to left arm, right leg to left leg (the one of the other). They had to go around like that for a certain period of time. They got over it really fast and made up. I wish I knew where I heard that story.

    • Carla Anne says:

      Lisa Reynoso, yes… it sounds like the Mama of your story thinks a lot like I do!! :)

      Welcome to the blog, I hope you find more posts here that you enjoy!
      Carla Anne

  4. Elena Popa says:

    Reading this has brought tears to my eyes and a huge smile to my face. I must try this with my 2 girls. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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