It can be frustrating to listen to your kids fight with each other. These nine tips can help to ease conflict between siblings.
1) Don’t get involved.
Unless there's a danger of physical harm, try not to get involved. If you always get involved, you could create other problems. Your kids may always expect your help and wait for you to come to the rescue.
2) Stop refereeing your kids’ fights.
Don’t become the judge of who’s right or wrong. Firmly state that there is no fighting in the house. Add that there are consequences for their behavior, and both kids will be held responsible for any fighting.
3) Set ground rules for acceptable behavior.
Ground rules can include keeping hands to themselves, no bad words, no name-calling, no yelling, and no door slamming. Solicit input from the kids on the rules, as well as on the consequences when they break them.
4) Not everything is fair and equal.
Tell your children that you’re not just being arbitrary; that you've given the subject of fairness and their concerns a lot of thought. But be straight and tell them that life isn’t fair and equal. As such, one kid just needs more than the other at certain times.
5) Encourage cooperation.
Children often compete for their parents’ approval, love and attention. Encouraging cooperation can help everyone to forget about winners and losers. Work to create a family environment that doesn’t award competition, but cooperation.
6) Have kids resolve the conflict themselves.
Tell them that they need to resolve the conflict on their own. It might take longer for them to sort it out, but they’ll usually come to a solution that they can live with.
7) Hold both kids responsible for their behavior.
In many cases of sibling conflict, both kids are equally responsible for the behavior. Create a rule that if fighting among siblings occurs, everybody goes without electronics, or goes to bed a half hour early. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, or who started the conflict.
) End the conversation.
If the fighting continues even after you've explained why something is, indeed, fair, and allowed the children to have their say, give yourself the last word. End the conversation by saying something like, “You’re right, life isn’t fair.” Then walk away.
9) Designate a bickering table.
If bickering is a consistent issue in your house, set up a “bickering table.” Basically, schedule time for your kids who constantly fight to sit down and bicker. Even if they run out of things to say, make them stay at that table for at least a half an hour. It becomes a great motivator for kids to avoid fighting with each other.
Cohen, Shawna. "Sibling Fighting: How to Keep the Peace - Today's Parent." Todays Parent. 12 Apr. 2013. Web. 24 Aug. 2015.
Dolgoff, Stephanie. "6 Ways to Stop Sibling Fighting." Parenting. Web. 24 Aug. 2015.
Lehman, MSW, James. "How to Deal with Sibling Rivalry | Empowering Parents." Empowering Parents. Web. 24 Aug. 2015.
Pendley, Jennifer. "Sibling Rivalry." KidsHealth - the Web's Most Visited Site about Children's Health. The Nemours Foundation, 1 Aug. 2012. Web. 24 Aug. 2015.
Reviewed August 26, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith