Siblings & Big Feelings

Siblings & Big Feelings

Dec 21, 2022

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In this episode, I’m talking about two of your favorite topics - meltdowns (or what I call Big Feeling Cycles) and siblings. 

In more than 10 years as a parenting coach, these come up again and again as things that are the hardest for moms. 

They are the core issues that lead moms to yell, then feel guilty and wind up stuck in a cycle of guilt, resentment, overwhelm and confusion. We want to get out of that cycle and make real improvements in the way our kids behave, manage their emotions and take personal responsibility for their actions. 

Think of this episode as some basic tools for managing meltdowns and sibling fights that you can come back when things feel tough and you need a little reminder. 


Big Feeling Cycles

You might call this a meltdown or a temper tantrum. I like to think of it as a big feeling cycle. And I especially like to call it a cycle because this reminds us that it will end.

It all starts in a moment when your child feels completely overwhelmed. And that overwhelm, whether it’s physical, mental or emotional, shows up in an extreme way like screaming, hitting, throwing, running away, etc. 

They happen when your child doesn't know how to express their feelings in ways that work.

Your role as a parent is to become the observer. When you can see your child’s behavior from a different perspective and understand that it is pain or discomfort that they don’t know how to deal with, you will feel less panicked and it will be easier for you to help them through it.

When you soften your heart, your child will sense that softening and feel more calm.

So, how do we do that? By using the Connection Tool.

  1. Narrate what you are seeing (one simple sentence - just the facts)
  2. Name the emotion that might be driving the behavior (I wonder if you’re feeling…)
  3. Validate their feelings (That makes sense)
  4. What are we going to do next? (This where you can address the behavior and make a plan or set a limit with your kid)

First, we let our kids feel heard and seen. Then, we help them express their big feelings in ways that work. 

This tool can only work when you are calm, but the cool thing is that thinking through the steps will help to calm you down, too. 


Sibling Conflict

If you have more than one child, I’m sure you’ve experienced times where multiple kids are in a big feeling cycle. Or one kid is having big feelings and another is trying to show how much better they are in that moment. Sometimes you are also having big feelings yourself. 

It’s a lot to handle.

The most important thing for you to do in this situation is to get calm. 

Take a pause break.

  1. Stop - stop talking, stop interacting, stop doing anything for a second
  2. Delay your reaction - don’t talk to anybody or take any action
  3. Reset - soothe yourself and calm your nervous system

There are a few different reasons that siblings fight. They might be having big feelings about something (that may or may not have anything to do with their sibling). They might be competing over something like space, possessions or attention. They might just be bored and looking for some quick entertainment (so fun, right?).

I often encourage parents to start by letting the sibling conflict go a little bit longer and see if they can solve the problem themselves. 

Then, if you do need to step in, your role is to guide them through the conflict. You are not the judge, and it is not your job to solve their problems for them. 

Your focus is not on the back story and all the details. It's on the future - you are looking for the path forward.

You can use a combination of the connection tool and limit setting to help the figure out what is next.

There will be sibling conflict in your home. There will be moments when your kids don't listen. And I want you to know that it's okay. It doesn't mean you're a bad mom. It doesn't mean your kids are on a bad track. 

Just get yourself back to that calm place, smile, look at them as a loving observer and find lightness where you can so that you can enjoy yourself and enjoy your kids this holiday season.


You’ll Learn:

  • My favorite tool to decrease the intensity and duration of meltdowns
  • How to take a pause break when you need to calm down
  • Scripts to help guide your kids through conflict




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Using the Connection Tool may feel a little clunky or awkward at the beginning. It doesn’t come naturally, but it does get easier with practice. 

And it will help your kid’s big feeling cycles to be shorter and less intense (who doesn’t want that?).

If you want to learn more about the Connection Tool, how to set limits, what to do with big feelings (yours and your kid’s) and just want to stop yelling and being so reactive, you really should be in this upcoming course that I'm teaching called Raise Emotionally Healthy Kids.

It’s 3 months in a small group, learning and coaching with me live on Zoom. I’m going to walk you through every single tool and concept in my Calm Mama framework - in bite-sized chunks with time for you to ask specific questions about your family. 

The first step is to book a call with me and find out if it’s a great fit for you and your family. Schedule your free call here. 

Ready to stop yelling?

Get the one simple tool you need to stop yelling at your kids, so you finally feel calmer and connect better. 

You'll learn why you yell, how to stop yourself yelling, 40 things to do instead and scripts for what to say to your kid when you yell.


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