My Family Rants

Siblings!

Posted on: January 1, 2009

Why is it that kids fight?  Brother & Sister constantly fighting and driving their parents crazy!  (that means me)

Sometimes I just don’t know how to cope with the constants battles.  Everything one child is doing the other wants to do too. Play with the same toy, sit on the same chair or spot on the couch, eat the same thing.  They fight fight fight all the time!

Am I doing something wrong?

I try to encourage my 6 year old to leave the room, and “remove himself from the situation” which these days seems to be always caused by my 2 year old.  But if he plays into the behaviour, it becomes a full blown royal rumble!

Here is some great advice on the topic from Investinkids.ca

  • Avoid becoming involved in every argument between siblings. Try not to become a constant referee and hover over your children’s play. However, ensure that no child is constantly being teased, put down or physically hurt by a sibling.

  • Avoid comparing siblings. In particular, try not to say that one child is better in some way than the other. Do not label children (for example, “the smart one” or “the shy one”). These comparisons not only set up rivalries, but can also become self-fulfilling prophecies.

  • Develop a general “no violence” rule in your home, which also applies to sibling fights. Your children will soon learn that hurting a sibling is not tolerated!

  • Don’t expect sibling rivalry only after a baby is born. It often doesn’t occur until the new baby is about six months old, awake for much of the day and more of a little person.

  • Understand that it won’t always be possible to give everything equally, and explain to your children that sometimes it will be their turn to get something and sometimes it won’t. Being fair to each of your children and meeting their needs, does not mean everything is always equal.

  • Try to have one-on-one time with each child individually, as it makes a child feel very special to be the only one around sometimes.

  • When fighting does occur, often it is best to separate the children. However, if you are feeling up to it and the fighting hasn’t escalated too much, it can be a great opportunity to teach children about conflict resolution and problem-solving. You can do this by asking each child for his point of view of what happened, and then asking for ideas on how to resolve the situation. Although the children may suggest some crazy solutions, you will be surprised how they will also suggest some innovative ones.

  • Look carefully at how you deal with disagreements with your partner and your children when one arises. Do you solve the problem heatedly, yet peacefully, swearing and walking out, hitting, ignoring (coming to no conclusion) or taking deep breaths and trying to talk it out? This gives children a pattern to follow.

  • When they fight, don’t take sides, especially if you weren’t there to see exactly what happened. Have them spend a few minutes away from each other so they can calm down, then ask them to return so you can all talk about it together.

  • Encourage your children to talk about their feelings with each other and to try to settle their differences with words, not actions. Explain how important it is to listen to each other.

  • Avoid taking on the job of referee – kids have to learn to resolve disagreements themselves, more and more as they get older. When you feel your children are ready, stay close by in case they need you, but tell them that you think they can work out the disagreement on their own.

  • Remember that some fighting is fun for children, and there is no reason for you to intervene at those times.
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