Monday through Friday, after my kids get home from school, my house is filled with mostly joyful noise... until it’s not. Before I know it, my children's giggles quickly turn to screams of "Mom! Mom!" and I'm filled with the instinct to run and hide. I try to leave my kids to their own devices, because I truly believe they need to learn to resolve conflict on their own. But every now and then, duty calls and I have to intervene. In the end, and even when it's exhausting, there are times when you have to pay attention to sibling arguments.
My rules for getting involved in sibling arguments are pretty simple, and require answers to the following questions: Is somebody hurt? Do they legitimately need my help? Are they being destructive, disruptive, or unsafe? If the answer is "yes" to any or all of the above, I definitely get involved. After all, they're kids and from time to time adult supervision is required. So if they come to me and they need help settling an argument, I will oblige. Do they always agree with my rulings? Nope, but if anything that's just an additional incentive for them to figure things out on their own.
Unless they actually require my assistance, my kids are on their own. Tattling to mom or having me break up every disagreement won’t teach them how to fight their own battles, or help them resolve their arguments peacefully. But sometimes assistance is required, especially in the following circumstances: