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