Even if your children are the best of friends they will inevitably argue fight and blame each other at times. Even the best parent doesn’t always know who is telling the truth and who did what. So what do you do in this situation? Blame the oldest? Blame the youngest? You can probably justify each. According to Marriage and Family Therapist David Gaesser of Pittsford, NY, you have five choices: blame both, blame neither, blame one or the other, or, quite simply, you rotate the blame.
Assuming you don’t know what happened and are not sure if your child is telling the truth than if you blame both you are probably going to get a lot of anger from the one who did not do said behavior. If you choose to blame neither then one (or more) is getting away with whatever was done. If you have no idea who did what and you always choose the side of one child and the other will eventually start to notice the unfairness. Realistically it probably won’t take long for resentment to stew and it will become a destructive cycle.
By rotating the blame, you choose which one is going to get in trouble for this time and the next time you have no idea who did what, choose the other. This will teach the children that when they create commotion, the caregiver is not going to make assumptions or judgements or take sides. Instead, the caregiver is going to do the best he/she can to find facts and whey they can’t–and sometimes you won’t– rotate the blame.
*If you are having problems with sibling rivalry-we can help through private coaching sessions. We also highly recommend the book: Siblings Without Rivalry: How to help your children live together so you can live too By: Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish