So, the benefit of the weed-pulling has waned a bit, and I found myself needing to find a better way to deal with the kids' squabbles. Part of the problem is that they don't have as many full-on brawls now (which is good, and I attribute that to the weed pulling consequence) so it is hard to "punish" them both together. Now we just have more of the pestering and annoying each other, and then the coming and crying to a not-very-sympathetic mother. I've been telling them, essentially, to get over it and try not to get so bothered by these things. That doesn't seem to work. (In retrospect, and with the insight I'm gleaning from Siblings Without Rivalry, I can't believe I expected it to work at all. I know that my feelings don't improve when they aren't at least acknowledged as valid. I think I forget that my kids are human just like me sometimes.
Anyways, on the homeschool board I frequent, there was a thread about sibling squabbles and a couple people recommended the above-mentioned book. I got it last night from the library. It's great. I didn't realize at first that it is by the authors of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, which I read years ago and thought was excellent (I think I'm going to reread it after I finish the Siblings one. Also, last night david and I read in Matthew 5 the verses about how the new law is not an eye for an eye, etc. So this morning during devotional I gave a lesson abut those verses and likened feeling angry to pooping. I said that both things are a normal part of life, and talked about how even babies experience those things, but they don't know what to do about it, so they just let it out. As we get older, we learn that we can't just poop wherever we are. Also as we get older, we can learn appropriate ways to deal with our angry feelings. I demonstrated expressing in appropriate words ("I am so angry/frustrated by this" but no name-calling), with appropriate actions (hitting a pillow or jumping up and down), or drawing a picture/writing out words. It seemed to sink in with the kids, and I'm sure we'll all need reminders, but David is going to make a sign that we'll hang up, so that will help too. I'm happy to feel like I have some new tools to use, though. There are a a couple other thoughts I want to share, but I'm tired of typing 1-handed.