So, back to the question of 'when do I get involved?' I decided to do a little research on this one. I read several articles but took some copious notes off of three specific articles. The number one rule on each list was:
* DO NOT GET INVOLVED*
Every single one of those articles followed up the number one rule with "unless there is a threat of physical harm." Each article pointed out that it takes two kids to have a problem and when you dig down to the core of the matter you tend to find that both parties are at fault. I can say from my own personal experience as referee that this is almost always the case; I end up sending both kids to their room for time-out or laying down a natural consequence for both. With that being said, it would make my life alot easier by not having to play either 'Magnum PI' or 'Judge Brittany' and simply offer my support in the kids' skills and ability to work through the problem on their own with the statement, "I know you two can work out the problem together. I believe you can do it." By intervening incessantly we rob them of the opportunity to discover and fine-tune their communication and problem-solving skills. If the situation takes a step to the wild side, I'll happily tap myself in and send each one to their corner for a breather.
It was interesting to read that when kids bicker and tattle it is often a sign that they are needing some attention from mom or dad. I guess it goes back to the old adage that any attention - bad or good - is attention. A little something to consider. There are several more points to delve into regarding facillitating a more peaceful atmosphere in the home when it comes to sibling rivalry which I'll be discussing in Part II.
In the interim, is there any tried and true method that has worked for minimizing sibling squabbles in your home?