Can’t We Just All Get Along?

February 12th, 2013 posted by Victoria Benz

Turning the sibling battlefield into a house of peace

As frustrating as it can be for parents, bickering between siblings is normal for children. Getting along with a brother or sister isn’t something your kids will “grow into.” Children need to be taught how to get along, and it’s never too early for parents to work with their kids on sibling relationships. In fact, the way adults interact with each other and their ability to compromise and solve conflicts can be traced all the way back to childhood and how they interacted with their siblings. Conflict between siblings can arise at any time from just about anything. It’s easy for kids to think even the smallest things, like toys or a favorite chair, are worth arguing over. Learning to cope with disagreements and disputes with siblings is useful for teaching children important skills about valuing another person’s perspective, compromising and negotiating, and controlling aggression. Conflict is OK, and as long as there is no danger of physical violence or harm, parents should be able to stay out of it. In fact, parents should make every attempt to stay out of sibling squabbles. Sibling rivalry, for the most part, is about competition for parents’ approval.

Don’t Take Sides

When your children are arguing and come to you with accusations and complaints about each other, don’t try to find fault. It takes two to fight so anyone involved is partly responsible. Tell your children to stop arguing and refuse to listen to their complaining. You can be sympathetic to your children while making it clear that the problem still is theirs, not yours, to solve. Encourage your children to resolve the crisis themselves and if they can’t, separate them immediately. Don’t let their bickering annoy you to the point of anger. Separate them quickly and remove yourself so everyone can calm down. Often the fight is to get your attention. When you remove yourself from the battle, many times the battle ceases.

Working It Out

Once the house is calm and you have their attention, you can teach your children new skills for conflict resolution. Have them come up with at least one idea about how the conflict could have been avoided or resolved. Teach them how to share and respect each other’s property. Help them communicate with one another. Resolve problems with your children, not for them. Empower your children to resolve situations on their own, while making it clear that fighting and violence are against house rules. By taking yourself out of the squabble, you will be forcing your children to work out solutions on their own. Then sibling rivalry no longer is about your children competing for your approval, it’s about learning how to handle conflicts in life and becoming well-equipped to deal with them when they arise.

Victoria Benz (2 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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