I have 2 sons, 13 and 15. They fight all the time! It’s not just a punch here, and a shove there; it escalates to a down and out brawl. My older son tells me I favor the younger. I try to be fair, but my older son just likes to “pick, pick, pick” at the younger one, and my younger son has a quick fire temper. He just can’t ignore the “picking.” He retaliates.
When they both tell me how a fight started, they each have a different story. Whom do I believe?
How can I stop the fighting, and how can I make them respect me again?
The stress of these daily fights is affecting my health. It can’t be good for them either.
Next time a fight occurs, have each of them write down his version of how the fight started and then come up with a solution to prevent it from occuring again.
After handing you their little assignment, have the brothers read the other’s paper out loud. This will help each understand the other brother’s feelings. The brothers are not “released” until they come to an agreement on how to prevent a future incident. However, each brother can only say what he, himself, will do (or refrain from doing) in the future. (See solving circles in the book.)
Regarding respect for you, inform the boys that they lose respect for themselves when they do not respect you. Then, stop telling them what to do or not do. Instead, elicit a behavior or future procedure by asking reflective questions, e.g., “What would a responsible person do in this situation?” Have them write down their responses, show them to you, and then they file them when necessary for future reference.