Verbal Fireworks

fireworks against night sky

I’ve been noticing lately the power of words, especially the spoken word. All 4 boys are demonstrating an ability to seriously get under each others’ skin, just by using their words.

Having 2 sets of twins can make for some fascinating interactions. We have a couple of competing dynamics: children who’ve lived their lives with someone else the same size always in their space; that leads to a lot of competition especially among boys. Alternatively, if a boy suddenly finds his twin being bothered or harassed in any way he can switch into defensive mode and fast.

All that to say that the verbal sparring that goes on some days can get pretty dramatic. The one thing I keep saying (over and over and over) is “One of you has to be the first one to stop.” Up till now, I haven’t gotten very far with that. They get along for a while, then something crops up, an insult is hurled and the fireworks commence.

I’m hoping that their increasing maturity will work in all our favor. I’ve had more success lately with talking the issue through with boys. Perhaps it’s all my practice asking Love and Logic questions, but I find that I’m able to get a lot more communication going if I question them through the possibilities, and give them some time to think out the answers themselves.

This morning Captain Earthquake and The Manager were really getting under each other’s skin. The Manager found me to let me know that he’d been “called a name-call”. Both boys were standing there, so I asked if they’d noticed that there was a lot of arguing going on. Both said no. I responded with “Well, I notice there’s a lot of arguing, and that’s a problem.” (thanks to Stu for The Problem is the Problem technique). They looked at me with big eyes and nodded. Next I wondered out loud if boys who were arguing were happy boys or sad boys. The Captain said “sad”. Then I asked if they wanted to be happy boys or sad boys. Both agreed that they wanted to be happy.

I was able to follow that up with, “Well, what do you think would work to make the arguing go away?” And they both said “Say sorry!” in unison. I saw hints of smiles, so I looked at them with a straight face and said “Yes, and now you have to give him a BIG wet sloppy kiss!!!” Which grossed them both out and they laughed hard before wandering off to play more cheerfully.

Hopefully we can keep working through things and get along better and better all the time, saving fireworks for the 4th of July.

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Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their children to get along.

Photo courtesy of K2D2vaca via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Mary December 27, 2007, 8:55 am

    Do you have more responses to arguments with love and logic. I read it but didn’t get all of it. what worked when they were younger does not seem to work as well. I know we’re supposed to let them work it out but what about when they begin hitting…..or it’s just driving me crazy to hear. At the same time, I remember fighting with my sister and pulling hair but we were best friends in high school and even shared a locker …..by choice! Is it just natural for siblings to fight and how much do you let it get “worked out” and how far do you intervene or when do you start giving consequences. I would love different feedback from people!

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