Member question:

My girls don’t like it when one of them tells the other that they were doing “this” or “that”. Literally it could be a true statement, whatever it is but they don’t like the other one saying it to them. They are constantly fighting and saying “stop it, stop it, stop it” and then this ends with them both screaming at each other and then it’s a screeching match for who can be loudest. All of this was happening while I was giving my husband a quarantine haircut so there wasn’t much I could do but threaten to take away technology tomorrow. How do I help this situation when it happens? Which is often lately. Thanks!


Rachel’s response:

I’d address this using the Joint Problem Solving strategy.
This where you

1.) Set a limit (“We need to change how we respond to each other when someone tells us something we don’t like.”)

2.) Ask them why it might be hard to follow that limit. The goal in this step is to just listen because a.) it helps them release Yuck and b.) it can give you an idea of why they’re NOT doing what they’re supposed to in the first place. Often this is an issue of missing tools. (They don’t know what else to say when they’re upset, they don’t know how to deal with the Yuck.)

3.) Together, come up with a plan for how they can follow the limit. They will likely need tools to help them. (What SHOULD they say instead of getting upset? How can they remember to say that thing instead of being mean?)

4.) Ask them to tell you what YOU should do if they don’t follow the plan. That way, they have some input into what will happen and you know exactly what to do in the moment.

5.) Find a time to revisit — maybe in 2 or 3 days.

Here’s a video about it if you haven’t heard me talk about it before:

If you’re having a hard time with Joint Problem Solving, you can do all of this (make the plan, give them tools to follow the plan, and decide what you’ll do if they don’t follow it) yourself, but things go much better when kids are involved with the process!