Help for Kid Squabbles

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You’re driving the car and the kids, ages 6 and 7, are bickering with each other again and you’re fed up. You’ve tried numerous times to help them to get along but nothing seems to work. You’d love nothing more than to yell at them.

Do you:

A) Shrug it off, turn up the radio and let them fight it out

B) Pull over and give them a good piece of your mind

C) Get their attention and let them know what the consequences of their fighting will be if they continue

According to Scott Brown, author of How to Negotiate with Kids (Viking), your kids need some coaching from you. It’s critical, Brown says, that you remain calm. “Your self-control is very important since kids take their cues from you.” The best option, Brown suggests, is to remain calm, without shouting, and letting them know when you can be heard, that if they continue fighting, someone’s going to lose a privilege (such as going to a party, playing in a sports’ game, having a treat, etc.). Conflicts are always easier to deal with when everyone is calm, so the first order is to bring calm to your car.

Susan Day is editor of Cincinnati Family Magazine and a mother of four.

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