Q: My kids are 5 (girl) and 9(boy). She is precocious and bates her brother regularly. She is an extrovert sometimes to the extreme. He is quiet, generally calm, and keeps things inside, always trying to please. He gets frustrated, yells, cries and will even push or hit her when she needles him. Then he feels badly and apologizes.
I’ve read about “Do Not Disturb The Family Peace” and love it. How would I make this effective for my kids so that it’s fair to both? With just 3 tickets, they could end up losing all of them and it really wouldn’t be his fault—she is difficult!
A: Before we tackle how Do Not Disturb the Family Peace (DNDFP), let’s start with how you’re contributing to the sibling conflict. Yes, I know, they are the ones fighting, but by your own words, you are assigning blame squarely on your daughter—and absolving your son of any serious contribution, as in “they could end up losing all of them and it really wouldn’t be his fault…she is difficult!”
For DNDFP to work—and believe me, it really does!—you have to stop putting your son in the “victim” camp and your daughter in the “aggressor/villain” camp. They both have a hand in the fighting, no matter how “difficult” one of them might be.
Helping your son learn how to react to a “difficult” person is one of the greatest lessons in life–and he’s learning it at home at a young age. Just think about how many difficult people you’ve encountered–a teacher, classmate, co-worker, boss, etc. Difficult people are all around us, and we can’t avoid them. What we can do is help our children learn how to deal with them in a way that’s kind and firm.
So back to your question! The way DNDFP works is that you have nothing to do with its execution other than directing one of the kids to take a ticket (or taking it yourself). You write the top two or three things they argue/fight about (for example, when I had this up for my kids, it was no hurting each other, keep the noise level down, and no tattling), give them together three tickets each morning, then don’t try to figure out what happened–just tell them they disturbed the family peace and it’s a ticket. For more on DNDFP, click here.
Yes, they will likely blow through the tickets in short order—then they’re confined to their rooms for the rest of the day and put to bed directly after supper. Remember, your kids are caught in a vicious pattern of fighting that’s only going to get worse. They need help to get off the merry-go-round, and this will help them.