Parenting On The Go: When
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When siblings battle...make them a team
"She took my colored pencils and won't give them back."
"He always hides them so I can't find them."
Here you'll learn to use sibling conflict as the ideal
opportunity to teach your children how to come up with their own
solutions. You'll see that teaching your children it doesn't
matter who is most to blame, since both are affected by the
conflict and only together they can arrive at a solution that
can work for both of them.
When siblings battle...Separate without blame
When siblings start to fight, it often stems from being
together too much or for too long. Just like adults, children
need their own space, their own special possessions, and their
own time alone. This section addresses learning how to stop
sibling fights without inadvertently starting the next one for
them by assigning blame.
When siblings battle...Reduce competition by speaking
Praising one child in front of another must be carefully
thought through. Some of our best intentions can be emotionally
damaging to the child who now knows they're just not as good as
the other child. Discussed here are ways to speak directly to a
child who is doing something well, or not so well, reducing
competitive resentment between siblings.
When siblings battle...Speak to differences
Treating every child exactly equally is not only impossible,
it will not stop naturally occurring sibling rivalry anyway.
This section talks about supporting your rules, even when
they're different for children in the family.
When siblings battle...Label possessions, borrowing rules
It is not only okay to label possessions, but doing so can
cut down on one of the most common sources of sibling rivalry.
You will also see how to begin establishing family borrowing
rules to help children share things typically fought over in
When siblings battle...Keep conflict specific and
"You're a jerk and I don't care what you say! It's your turn
to feed the dog!"
When you hear conflict like this, it's hard not to step in and
tell one or the other child to do the chore. But these kinds of
arguments can present a perfect opportunity to teach children
how to have productive conflict. To learn conflict resolution
strategies that will serve them the rest of their lives.
When siblings battle...Keep the focus on friendly resolution
This section presents another technique to introduce when
children are fighting to teach them how to interrupt themselves
when things get a little too rough. Learning to take a break
from an argument, even to laugh about something, can help
everyone see the conflict from a new perspective and work toward
a friendly resolution.
When siblings battle...Initiate discussion during peaceful
"It sounds to me like you might still be angry."
Adults can learn to take opportunities during the day to take a
guess at the emotions or issues occupying a child's mind. You're
not asking these questions when children are still in "the heat
of the moment," but at other times when a child has had time to
reflect, or now seems more willing talk with you about what is
going on for them.