3 year old fight club.

We've been going through a lot of changes in the E household lately. We've worked on potty training, we've started a new speech therapy and now we've entered a new stage of toddlerhood- 3 year old fight club. Up until this point, the boys have never been very physical with each other. They fight over toys but not fight each other. There's been chasing, pulling, tugging but no hitting and kicking. 

Right now, it's not too physical. They're really testing this new thing they've learned they can do; use their body to somehow hurt or cause pain to someone else. Their fights usually include an instigator, with a half hearted hit/push/kick. The other brother may come back with his own hit or may just cry/feign pain because it hurt his feelings. Because I mean, how could my brother do that to me?? 

Julian, surprisingly, seems to be the instigator lately. (He's usually the one to avoid conflict...and he's making me want to slam my head repeatedly on a hard surface pushing my boundaries lately, too.) Yesterday he'd take Isaiah's car and hide it on purpose, just to watch Isaiah get completely pissed off. Sometimes he'll push his brother for no reason and watch what happens. I'm really seeing him test his boundaries with Isaiah.

I prefer to stand back and watch them work it out. One will end up leaving the other alone and they go back to their business. I think it's healthy for them to explore these boundaries and learn how to resolve this kind of conflict on their own. I know they're only 3, but they get it. They have their own way of making things right. I step in when it starts getting out of control or someone is really mad/looks like he really wants to hulk out.

After every major conflict I also talk to them about how we love our brother, not hurt him. I demonstrate a "nice" touch by rubbing an arm or a back. I make them hug it out. I know they're going to fight each other, I think that's just something brothers do when they're this age. I'm hoping by modeling some good behavior, and letting them work it out, we can get through this stage without any major lifelong trauma. 

What about you seasoned mamas? How did you handle it when your kids started hitting either you or each other? 

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