Practically Speaking Mom: Intentional Mom, Strong Family

208 Sibling Strife - Help for the Pestering Child & the Tattle Tale

November 13, 2023 Val Harrison, The Practically Speaking MOM Season 4 Episode 208
Practically Speaking Mom: Intentional Mom, Strong Family
208 Sibling Strife - Help for the Pestering Child & the Tattle Tale
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If you have multiple children at your house, you probably have experienced one sibling intentionally irritating another sibling, maybe pestering them, causing them unhappiness on purpose, possibly even bullying. What do we do about this? We're going to talk about it today in episode 208, right here on the Practically Speaking Mom Podcast. It's the place for intentional moms to build a strong family. I'm Val Harrison, your mom friend for the journey. 
Ever felt overwhelmed when your kids come to you with stories of sibling irritations, and you're unsure of how to handle it? Buckle up, as we bring you an enlightening episode dedicated to handling sibling bullying and pestering. Find strategies to help the child who is doing the pestering, and strategies to help the one who is being pestered. Get to the heart of these sibling dynamics, helping you decode the stories your kids bring to you, without labeling them as tattlers.
Our exploration doesn't stop there; we tap into the five Rs - reflection, regret, repentance, refinement, and restoration for your CHILD, powerful tools to help your children understand their actions toward their siblings. We put the spotlight on the kids who might be causing disharmony, identifying the root cause of their behavior to channel their energy positively and build better habits.

Prepare for a power-packed journey of building stronger families.

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"May the Words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord, my Roc...

val harrison:

THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS CREATED AUTOMATICALLY AND WAS NOT EDITED FOR ACCURACY. If you have multiple children at your house, you probably have experienced one sibling intentionally irritating another sibling, maybe pestering them, causing them unhappiness on purpose, possibly even bullying. What do we do about this? We're going to talk about it today, right here on the Practically Speaking Mom Podcast. It's the place for intentional moms to build a strong family. I'm Val Harrison, your mom friend for the journey. Let's go. You're listening to the Practically Speaking Mom Podcast. I'm Val Harrison, mom to seven. Five of them are grown and two are still at home. I'm also a mother-in-law and a grandma too.

val harrison:

God has given me a passion for encouraging and equipping moms in this worthy journey of motherhood. For the past 20 years, at parenting events and moms groups, I've been privileged to meet many moms who are doing their best to be intentional in loving their kids, preparing them for life and loving the Lord too. It's my honor to bring you tools for the journey every week. You can find lots more resources on my website PracticallySpeakingMomcom. Intentional moms. Let's get started with building stronger families right now. Well, I first want to acknowledge how hard this type of problem is to solve for us parents, because it usually happens when we're not in the room or when we're not looking. In fact, this is the child that knows you're not there or waits until you're not looking before they act against a sibling, causing irritation, pestering, maybe even trying to get under their skin enough to get them to go tell on them so that mom will say, now don't be a tattletale. Or just causing the opposite of peace, causing stress, causing chaos. What is going on with this child that is doing that? Before we jump into what we do about the pestering child, I want to talk for a moment about the one that is being pestered. Your brother picks on sister and she screams and you come in and you say what is going on and we don't know. Is it really that sister is manipulating the situation and wants to make it seem like brother was the one causing the problem, because she's the one complaining. So those things can be so tricky. Let's start by saying that when things are tricky like that, it means that you're going to have to be in the room more, you're going to have to be extra observant until we get to the bottom of who's doing what and what motives are going on. It also is very important when there's these situations where you don't really know who's to blame and you don't know what the motives are, that when you do find them in a situation where it is obvious at those moments you got to take big action, then you know, take advantage of the times when you do know so that hopefully you can make an impact. Then that will affect these other times where you don't know. So I just wanted to throw those two things in there real quick.

val harrison:

First, but let's look at the child who keeps being pestered or being bullied. You know they are in a situation where they there's no solution for them. They're a kid. They are often smaller than the one who's doing the pestering. They have no way of overcoming this situation except through mom or dad. So when they come and talk to you, it's so important that you not just scold them for tattling. Yes, we don't want to create an environment where tattling happens, because when they do come and talk to you like that, you're still just getting one side of the story. They're not really getting the information. So when a child comes to me and starts wanting to tell their side, then I remind them you are required to bring your sibling. Did you tell your sibling that they're required to come with you, that you're going to talk to mom and then they'll say yes or no. If they say yes, I did tell them and they chose not to come. Well, I'm going to confirm that, but then I'm going to listen to the testimony of the one who came because the other one chose to not be there for it. Now, if they did forget, they need to go back and tell the other one come on, we need to go talk to mom and then we get to hear both testimonies. So that's the first step. That's really important when you're getting to the bottom of the situations where you weren't present and I know that can't work all the time because some kids aren't old enough to talk about their thoughts and all of that kind of thing but you really do want to instill in them that when they want to come talk to you about something which it's great that they do don't discourage your kids coming and talking to you.

val harrison:

Just yesterday my freshman she reluctantly brought up something. She overheard a conversation between rich and I and she she officially brought it up and was like hey, what was going on there? You know, like she had some questions and I was so glad she did. My initial reaction on the inside was feeling a little bit defensive by what she was asking, but I knew that the more important thing was that she was coming to me, that she is talking about what's going on inside of her and that is awesome.

val harrison:

Our entire lives we want to not harbor things inside and let them boil over and seep out in other ways. We want to work through things. Everybody in life needs someone that they can come to, that they can work through their life stuff with, and we are to be the one for these kids. You know, as they get older, we want to teach them how to do that in a healthy friend, a healthy mentor, teaching them accountability and picking someone who is going to spur them on to good deeds and challenge them to growth, not make them feel good and however they're already being. That's not the goal there either.

val harrison:

But I just want to point out do not automatically jump on your kid for tattling. Just teach them a better way. They tattle because they care about justice, and justice does matter. If we do not provide justice for our kids, you know, in this situation where the one keeps pestering the other, if we don't ever do something about it, the one who's being pestered pretty soon is going to learn to do that too, because their way of peace and communication and going to the person who's capable of creating justice. If that doesn't work, then they are going to find alternative measures and that is usually just to become a bully also, and I've seen that happen in many families where the oldest one begins to bully and it just trickles down throughout the kids. So please take this seriously and get a handle on it as soon as you can.

val harrison:

Don't look away from bad behavior and ignore it, because it's going to rub off on those other kids and it's also being harbored in the heart of the one who is offending. When we offend someone else, it creates all of this negative stuff inside of us because we were not designed to be that way, to be destructive to other people. We were not designed for that, and so it creates all this dissonance inside of us when we do that and we want to help our kiddos clean out that dissonance we want to help them to learn to reflect on what they've done, learn to repent about what they've done, learn to regret. You know people want to say shame is bad, and it is. Shame isn't healthy, but some amount of regret is very healthy, and I mentioned that other times with you guys but teach them to reflect on what happened, regret, refine, you know, let's identify what can help us do things differently next time.

val harrison:

And then the final step is restore. How do we go back and mend with the person we've offended? If you would like to learn more about those five steps, the five Rs, go back and listen to episodes 68 and 69. I actually address this most of the time from the angle of the mistaking parents. When we parents make a mistake, what should we do? We should reflect, we should regret, we should repent, we should refine, we should restore, we should do all of those things. But we also need to be teaching these same strategies to our kids, because that's what we're designed to do. God did put in us a natural system for handling our mistakes, and when we handle them well, the amazing thing is that that relationship can be bonded more after the incident than before if we mistake well. So let's teach our kids to do that too.

val harrison:

Okay, now let's back up. Just let's focus on the child who is doing the pestering, the irritating, the manipulating, the trying to get under the skin of the other sibling. What do we do about this? Well, it's really important always and you're going to feel like I'm a broken record on this but we've got to get to the root. What is the root cause of this? And often there's more than one route. There is more than one reason why they're doing this. Let's see if we can identify some of those. Now. The four main routes that things usually stem from are physical, spiritual, mental or social. One or more of those four areas is where we're going to tend to find the problem in our kids, whatever the issue is, not just when it comes to pestering and irritating others, but any kind of issue. We get to the root by looking at those four areas.

val harrison:

So is there something physical going on with this child? Are they feeling irritated inside? So they're just spreading their irritation? Are they feeling tired, thirsty, hungry, hot, cold? They don't feel well. They've been cooped up for too long. They need to burn some energy. They're dealing with something frustrating, like they've worked on these math problems a whole bunch of times and it's just getting so frustrating because they can't understand it or they keep missing it, or it's just really hard for them, and so they're building up all this aggression inside and they need to get it out. We need to help them identify what physical issue it is and then help them find a new way to handle it. Let's solve the physical issue If it's.

val harrison:

Let's say they are getting frustrated about math, well, you know, can they run in place for 10 seconds? Can they do 20 jumping jacks? Can they run around the perimeter of the house and come back? You know, can we get some energy out that way? Is there a bouncing ball they can sit on like an exercise ball or maybe one of those small trampolines?

val harrison:

So one thing that I did with this was especially important for the boys, but somewhat for the girls as well, and maybe I mentioned this before, I don't know, but I just took a little jar and I took popsicle sticks and wrote different physical activities on the popsicle sticks and I put it in the jar and they would draw one out and that's the activity that they would do. And this was either between each subject of school because I home school or it was every so many minutes. Some kids need a physical break every 15 minutes. They need a physical use, some energy time every 15 minutes. This keeps them at optimum attitude and optimum learning as well when they get these breaks. So helping to figure out what amount of time does my child need before they have another physical break? So just filling up that jar and throughout the day you want your kiddo to do all the popsicle sticks in the jar, perhaps, you know, maybe that is the goal or that's a little way for them to see a goal for them to see, hey, I'm getting this accomplished. So maybe they didn't feel success at math but they can feel success that they just got that popsicle stick done. So those would be some physical things.

val harrison:

Now the next one I want to talk about is mental, which you know. Mental. It really had a lot to do with the math thing that I just said. But let's look at another angle of mental that also overlaps with physical and that is the neuro pathways that our brain has created. Every time we do something, we are creating some neuro pathways in our brain about that motion. So if our kids are used to taking their aggression feelings and taking it out on a sibling, they've got some neuro pathways going on there. They are forming habits about that. The more times they do it, the deeper those pathways are meaning, the harder it's going to be to make the change.

val harrison:

So you're going to have to tell them now, as soon as you start feeling irritated. Next time you come to me and I'm going to help you through it. Maybe they need their back rubbed, maybe they're back scratched. You know what helps them to calm down. You know I already told you that one of the best things for aggravation is to just get physical energy out. But maybe they need some ways to learn how to calm themselves down. So you help them calm down and then you help them learn how to calm down and ask them where in your body are you feeling the irritation? You know, and then help them calm that part of their body down. Is it in their feet? Is it in their hands? How do they tend to pester? Do they tend to pester by stomping on somebody's foot or kicking somebody's stuff, or by hitting or by biting? Like, where is the aggression in their body? And let's help them get a new narrow pathway.

val harrison:

The other aspect of this and I mentioned it I'll come back to what I was going to say in a second because I want to keep going through these four main routes. So is it a social route? Like, do they feel a lack of justice for themselves? And so they're creating a situation where someone else is experiencing a lack of justice or has someone mistreated them in some way? Are they? Do? They have some wrong self perceptions, paradigms of themselves, causing them to act out in negative ways because they've got negative labels on themselves? And then, spiritually, this this one is big like, even if it's not a spiritual root cause initially for their bad behavior.

val harrison:

If we don't help them work this stuff out of their heart, then it starts being harbored in their heart and they do start behaving out of a heart that is, I mean you could say, has sin in it. Sin is a decision to go against God's ways, and God's ways are goodness and love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and gentleness and self control. These are God's ways and when we intentionally choose to go against them, that is an act of sin which creates separation between us and God. We feel the separation. I want to deal with this, but let's keep going with the spiritual aspect of it. When we repent to God and say God, clean out of my heart this aspect of me where I want to irritate or hurt someone please take this from me. Well, when we have chosen to live a life for God, when we see him as our creator and redeemer and we want Christ to be the Lord of our life. When we just make that instant decision, we immediately have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, and the Holy Spirit builds fruit in us, and that is. The fruit of the Spirit is what I just mentioned love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control, this fruit of the Spirit growing us by the Spirit's help. And so, with our kids, let's help them to get in the habit of enlisting God's help, saying God, I give you permission to remove this from me and to grow in me instead. The good fruit that blesses others and blesses myself and blesses you, blesses your kingdom. So, learning to equip our kids with what they need to spiritually succeed as well.

val harrison:

So we have a prayer that we have been praying lately to help us with this. This is from St Francis of a CC. If you've heard of him. He has multiple famous prayers, but I love this one because this one really points out the opposites that when someone is feeling a lack of peace, we want to give them peace. When they are feeling doubt, we want to give them faith. When they're feeling despair, we want to give them hope when they are in darkness. We want to give them light when they are experiencing sadness. We want to bring them joy. We don't want it to just be about us, so we want to seek more to understand what they need than to just be about ourselves. So here's the prayer, and, okay, this is what we've been praying every morning lately, by the way.

val harrison:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace where there is hatred. Let me so love. So teach your kids about sowing seeds of love, of goodness, of gentleness, of patience, so this and one another. You know, maybe you're not getting that from the other person Well, let's give them so seeds in them of love and goodness, by giving them what we want them to give to us. In fact, this does remind me the one who's being pestered all the time.

val harrison:

Help them experience justice, but then also talk to them about. Pray for your sibling, who keeps doing this to you. Pray for their heart, pray for a change to come in them. And then, even though they're mistreating you yes, come to talk to me about it. Tell them. Mom says, when you mistreat me, we are to go together and talk to her. So I'm telling you now I'm going to talk to mom Are you coming with me so you don't do that step?

val harrison:

Yes, but then also child who keeps being pestered by your brother or sister. You pray for them and you also sow seeds of the opposite in them. So if they're pestering you, you love them, you do for them. So we're not going to pay back people based on how they treat us. We're going to treat them good, no matter what, but we are going to go get help from somebody who can do something about it. We're going to go to safety and we're going to go towards justice, but we're also going to do good anyway and we're going to pray for them, okay, so that's that's what I wanted to add about that other kiddo that is being pestered. We want to be sure that they do not follow suit with their sibling and begin to also be one who intentionally irritates or pesters or bullies. Instead, we want them to become instruments of peace, and so that's what this prayer is about.

val harrison:

So let me get back to the prayer. Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me so love. Where there is injury, let me so pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light where there is sadness, joy. Grant that I might not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love, for it is in giving that we receive.

val harrison:

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life. So what does that mean there for about the dying? Well, for us it means setting aside our self enough to care for another person. That doesn't mean that we participate in mistreating ourselves. As I've said multiple times in this episode, go towards safety and go towards justice, but also go towards sowing the right seeds and other people and praying for them. So we do good and we sow good into them while we pursue safety and justice.

val harrison:

Okay, I want to wrap up with one other thing Now. We've been praying that prayer I just told you by St Francis of CC for several weeks now. But for many years I have used Psalm 1914 as a way to end our mourning prayers, and that verse is may the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer. And so when I pray that with the kids, I just switch it to us instead of me. So I say may the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord, our rock and our redeemer. And so ending the mourning prayer time with that, I hope that that is helpful as you continue to be intentional sources of strength and growth for your children and your family.

val harrison:

Hey, by the way, next time you see a post sharing one of my podcast episodes, could you like it? That helps a lot more people see it and the more who see it, the more who hear it. And I do this podcast who spread some encouragement and to equip some moms in their worthy journey of motherhood. Now, if you wanna really help that post, go far, like it and comment. I am so very thankful for the mamas who do comment on those posts where I'm sharing that week's podcast, because it really helps extend the viewership. How many people see that post. So thanks a bunch to all of you listeners who do that. If you are on Instagram and you see one of my posts, if you could give it a heart, that would be super awesome. Or one of my stories. I usually share my podcast for the week on my stories once in a while post as well. Okay, love y'all. See you next time right here on the Practically Speaking Mom Podcast, the place for intentional moms to build strong families.

Handling Sibling Bullying and Pestering
Addressing Offenses and Identifying Root Causes
Teaching Kids About Peace and Love