Somebody on one of the forums that I am a member of posted a question about how to get her two sons to stop fighting. I suggested this:
"My sons are only a year apart and they share a room. They fight a lot and it has come to blows more than once. When they are in one of those fighting moods then we force them to stay away from each other. They tend to fight more when they are bored too. Plus if we tell them that they are not allowed to be around each other, then they actually want to be around each other. My suggestion is to force separation ... sit them down for a family meeting and tell them that you are tired of the contant turmoil in the house and until they can learn to be nice to each other and get along then they won't be allowed to play together or spend time with each other. Find chores that they can do alone. Make them play alone. Make them watch TV in separate rooms. Making them see how lonely it can be without the other one around might help."
I honestly thought that this was a valid suggestion as it has worked for us. Riley and Bryce have had a few really intense fights and I know that if we would have let them "fight it out" then they would have seriously hurt each other. When a 14 year old boy and a 15 year old boy fight it is not a pretty sight. They punch. They kick. They throw things. Sure we could let them "fight it out" and really hurt each other (and probably break some walls and furniture in the process), but what would that teach them? Our society is violent enough as it is ... should we really be allowing our children to beat the crap out of each other when they argue over a toy or who gets to decide what video game to play?
I was shocked at the responses to the question. Really shocked. There were only two of us who answered along the lines of separating the fighters and stopping the fight. The rest said to just leave them alone and let them fight. Children who are mad are not rational. They want to hurt the other person. They can't control their anger.
I posted this in response:
If I have a problem with a coworker, would it be okay for me to go punch her in the face while the boss stands back and watches while we "work it out"? If we don't tolerate that kind of behavior for adults, why would we allow it for our kids ?
If the only way that a child can express their feelings is through physical force then they won't have the coping skills needed to resolve conflicts without hitting, kicking, biting, throwing things, etc. The last thing in the world that we need to be teaching our children is how to be more violent.