Sibling rivalry is extremely common.
It happens in every household with more than one child, and it happens at every age. It’s a common challenge for parents (as you and your siblings probably were for your parents!). How then do you deal with it without turning your children into the mortal enemies?
One thing’s for sure, you shouldn’t just ignore sibling fighting and hope it will go away.
You are also unlikely to ever stop it completely.
For your oldest child, the moment their younger sibling arrived they were ‘demoted’ (guess how would you would feel if your partner brought home someone else and expected the two of you to just get along!). For the younger child(ren), they get tired of being bossed around by big brother or sister all day. We can’t make this all just magically go away.
The best we can hope for is to reduce the frequency of sibling fighting. We can do that by modelling for them basic problem-solving skills and hope they learn to use them themselves.
- When the scuffle breaks out get involved. Move to where the children are. Remember, one of the top reasons siblings fight is to gain your attention; children seem to work on the basis that even negative attention is better than nothing. Be there.
- Stay calm. Don’t respond in a panic, this is not an emergency – it’s normal. Take a few deep breaths and pause.
- Stay neutral. Offer support and empathy to everyone involved. Don’t take sides.
- Dissect the problem. “It sounds like you guys need help to solve this problem.” Hear out each child’s perspective and restate their requests to show you understand them.
- Brainstorm together. Talk about how to solve the problem in a way that works for everyone. Give suggestions, or let them come up with their own.
- Offer more support. Sometimes one child will be struggling more than the other. Offer them more empathy and encouragement, or help them find another activity.
Or, they may just need a little more time with you.
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Article Source: PDHQ