Sibling Rivalry: How to Get Your Kids to Stop Fighting

When you have a child who is demanding, inflexible, and impulsive, it becomes the perfect cocktail for sibling rivalry.

But here’s the thing...

Children can learn to handle stressful sibling situations on their own. How? They simply need skill training to develop this gift.

This is why it’s super important to have strategies on hand to help your kids resolve conflicts--without the tears and screaming. (Ahem! This includes parents, too!)

The key is to break conflict resolution into simple steps your children can follow.  Check out this role-play video of our technique.

This easy-to-implement strategy for getting your kids to talk through conflict helps them learn to solve problems independently so they don’t rely on you to fix everything for them.

Three Steps to Stop Siblings from Fighting, Yelling, and Hurting:
  1. Teach your child to express his or her feelings – Many children don’t take the time to tell their siblings that they feel angry, hurt, sad, etc. Teaching your child to say something like “I’m sad.  I don’t like it when you take my doll,” is a great way to help her communicate to her sibling and develop independence in using her voice (extra important for times when you aren’t there to step in and help!).

  2. Teach Your Child About Second Chances – Billy may have knocked down Timmy’s block tower–a very legitimate reason for Timmy to be upset. In this situation, teach Timmy to ask Billy to help make it better by rebuilding the tower. Instead of fighting, this gives Billy and Timmy an opportunity to think together on how to make the problem better. As a parent, you can support this by entering the room and saying, “Let’s see what ideas you have to fix this so that you can keep playing.  If you don’t, you’ll need to take 10 minutes alone, and then you can try again.”

  3. Calmly Step In to Help Diffuse the Situation – There are going to be occasions where separating siblings is the best thing you can do to interrupt the bad behavior pattern. Discuss this at a family meeting so your children hear that “in our home, we play nicely with each other.” Be consistent with this rule.

You can teach your children how to appropriately interact with each other in a way that’s calm and respectful, and solves problems.

Wishing you a house full of peace, happiness, and fewer “Mom, she’s making me mad because she’s looking at me” moments!

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