12 Strategies to Squelch Sibling Squabbling

Question: Hi Jennifer, Could I ask you for some parenting advice about dealing with sibling squabbling? This is a new problem I am just starting to have in the last few weeks. The girls are just bickering constantly. It’s like they can’t be in the same room together without fighting. It’s just non-stop pettiness…

“She said I did a bad job on my chore.”
“She keeps moving my paper into her box.”
“I have more grapes than you do.”
“She glared at me.”
“I’m glad I didn’t get your chore.” etc etc etc etc.

I alternate between feeling like I need to referee each incident to deal with the problem-causer and try to teach good manners and virtue (We don’t say things to hurt others. We use a nice voice to talk to others. God wants us to be kind, etc.) and being overwhelmed and telling them I don’t want to hear about their bickering and they need to work it out (which they do not seem to have any ability to do). Any advice would be much appreciated!

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Apparently I don’t take pictures of my children when they are squabbling, only when they are having angelic moments. So on this post we will picture angelic moments while we talk about squabbling.

Answer: As I’m sure you’ve realized, there isn’t a fix-it-all answer to this question. Squabbling between siblings is just an inherent part of mothering. There are, however, various approaches that can be taken at various times. I will list my ideas here in no particular order.

1.) You gotta nip it in the bud. (We don’t normally turn to Barney Fife for parenting advice, but in this case, he’s on to something.) This is probably the most effective approach, but the caveat is that it requires mom’s attention and listening ear, and the children need to be playing where mom can hear them. As soon as mom hears the first child mis-step in their behavior, she nips it. Continue reading “12 Strategies to Squelch Sibling Squabbling”

When the Plan Changes (and a special request)

“What??!! But I thought…”

I’m sure you, like me, could easily complete that sentence. Moments like these have become pretty familiar to the world as a whole lately.

The plan has changed. And you’re standing there with your mouth hanging open, at least on the inside. Here comes this major change of plan, and nobody has bothered to ask you for your thoughts or permission. Or me. Continue reading “When the Plan Changes (and a special request)”

Guest Post: Dear Young Mom I Saw in Target Yesterday

I am happy to bring you another guest post by my sister-in-law Esther. She is married to my brother Matthew, and they are raising four sweet and adorable little people who are currently ages 7 (Ger), 5 (Ellie), 3 (Adaline), and 18 months (Naomi, or “Mimi” as she is affectionately called). Esther wrote this over three years ago, before Adaline was born.

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Esther wearing Ellie.

Dear Young Mom I Saw In Target Yesterday;

I don’t go to Target very often. In fact, this was the first time I had been to the Target in this area. But I had some gift cards for the store and had determined to use them toward a new infant car seat for our soon-to-arrive third baby.

While I was looking at car seats I heard your infant cry in the next aisle. I knew he couldn’t be very big from his cry. While selecting a car seat, I heard him cry a couple more times. Continue reading “Guest Post: Dear Young Mom I Saw in Target Yesterday”

I don’t mean to disagree with my husband

Steve said these are arrows, not dominoes.

At Joshua’s high school graduation, as I envisioned each child reaching this same milestone in quick succession, I remarked that the “dominoes were beginning to fall.” Steve replied, “Not dominoes. Arrows. Today the arrows are beginning to fly!”

edit4I know he’s right, of course. They ARE arrows and it’s super exciting to watch them fly.

But I have to be honest, it sure does seem like dominoes at times. All of a sudden, I find myself looking around and thinking, “Where is everyone? Is this everyone I’m supposed to have?” Continue reading “I don’t mean to disagree with my husband”

What we all can do about ‘What is going on in Virginia’

You may have heard President Trump’s remarks at the recent March for Life in Washington, D.C.

At one point during that historic speech, in reference to some radical pro-death statements made by Governor Northam, President Trump asked the question in a somber tone, “What is going on in Virginia? What is going on?”

The Virginia legislature is currently having a heyday with pro-death policies.

I never cease to be amazed at how the pro-life cause is labeled by the media as “anti-abortion” and the pro-death cause is labeled as “pro-choice.” Let’s be clear: this IS about life vs. death. It is not complicated. Let’s get our terminology straight.

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Precious beyond words… my niece Anne.

We lived in the beautiful Commonwealth for nineteen years. Although we don’t live there anymore, Virginia will always hold a very dear place in our hearts. The reports I’m seeing are making me so sad. Of course we know it’s a battle all across the nation, not just in one state.

Some thoughts on what we can do (no matter where we live): Continue reading “What we all can do about ‘What is going on in Virginia’”

Sanity Saver: 15 Minutes in the Kitchen

The number one sanity saver I have discovered, over my years of trial and error in attempting to raise my crew, is 15 Minutes in the Kitchen.

Raising lots of hungry kids and feeding them three meals a day (and snacks in between), along with all the necessary meal preparations, adds up to one incessantly dirty kitchen. Well, maybe not incessantly dirty, because there are those brief interludes in between the kitchen being cleaned up and somebody being in need of more food. Mama’s kitchen isn’t supposed to be a full-time restaurant, but it does feel that way at times. kitchen7I’ve tried various tactics over the years in trying to keep up with the endless kitchen duties. Continue reading “Sanity Saver: 15 Minutes in the Kitchen”

5 Flavorful Recipe Ideas! (to get you out of that cooking rut)

This weekend we are celebrating another 16th birthday. Somehow it has been sixteen years since Katelyn Noelle made her appearance, and we brought her home on a snowy December morning.

I seem to have a tradition of doing food posts on teenage birthdays, so here’s another one, this time a guest post from my sister Rachel, who is an excellent cook! She has shared five of her favorite, tried and true recipes with us, along with her comments. I have made most of these and they are delicious; quickly devoured by the clan. (I should say *we* have made… since Katie is my right arm in the kitchen these days!) When I made Rachel’s focaccia bread recipe [below] recently, Joshua took one bite and said, “What’s different about this focaccia bread?” I answered, “It’s a new recipe.” He said, “Oh. Well, make this one from now on.”

Author: Rachel Contreras

About Rachel: She is the youngest of my three sisters. She is married to Joey, an engineer, and they make their home up near Lake Michigan. They have three girls, Emma (6), Grace (3), and Anne (almost 3 months). We all adored tiny little Anne over Thanksgiving and I just couldn’t get enough of her sweetness!

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Precious little Anne Harmony

I asked Rachel to tell us a little bit about herself. She replied, “I enjoy cooking, reading, thrifting, and homeschooling. My dislikes include exercising, a messy house, suspenseful movies, and when my kids destroy my bed three minutes after I finish making it.”

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Rachel & Grace

From Rachel: Cooking is one of my favorite things. As a homemaker, I count this as a blessing, since so much of the work of homemaking involves food. I love trying new recipes, and my girls have fun voting on if the new dish should become a regular. Continue reading “5 Flavorful Recipe Ideas! (to get you out of that cooking rut)”

Gift Ideas! Toys our children have loved over the years.

Here are five classic toys that have been well loved and well played with at our house. Maybe this will give you some gift ideas for your younger kiddos, during this portion of the holiday season also known as mom-wracking-her-brain-for-gift-ideas.

1) We’ve had Color & Shape Bingo for a long time. It’s requested over and over by my little ones. An adult can manage about four young children participating in this game. (As you probably know, this cannot be said of many games.) Great learning reinforcement of colors and shapes, and good for short attention spans.Bingo4 Continue reading “Gift Ideas! Toys our children have loved over the years.”

Saying Goodbye to Windy Hill

Moving is beyond exhausting, and when in that weakened frame of mind, you arrive at the moment of saying goodbye to your home of thirteen years, it can be pretty tough. And so, the heart-wrenching moment had come.

As we explored the familiar spaces for the last time, our voices echoed through the now empty rooms.

Our minds went back to when we, so young and naive, first bought the old place, and the farmhouse adventure began. Continue reading “Saying Goodbye to Windy Hill”

Inspiration for the Everyday

 

It’s called a peaceMAKER. Somebody who makes something works at it.
-Dr. Gertz

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“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace.” Luke 2:14
These two conditions are joined together, and none can separate them. Do you want peace? Your highest aim must be the glory of God. Do you seek God’s glory as your highest aim? Then, the inevitable result will be the peace that passeth understanding.
-F. B. Meyer

Continue reading “Inspiration for the Everyday”