If I had a dollar for each time my boys came to me and said “mom, he hit me, mom, he took that from me, mom, he said something mean to me.” It happens every day, multiple times a day. It is one of those things that parents with multiple children have to deal with on a daily basis. Now, I would also say, my boys get along really well. That’s because they do get along but they also never stop fighting, or so it feels like that at times! So what are the best sibling fighting solutions?
Sibling Fighting Solutions
Siblings Are Some of Our First Relationships
I am not aware of a household with multiple children and conflicts don’t occur. How parents handle this fighting or arguing is the key to finding a solution. I wish I could tell you I had this magical tip to make it all stop. I don’t! But, I do have some skills you can teach your children that will help them have strong, healthy sibling relationships! It’s going to take some effort on your part…sorry!
Remember, siblings are some of the first relationships we develop. Which is why it is important to introduce and teach these key concepts. They will foster healthy sibling relationships as well as other future relationships.
Believe me, I know, the arguing, bickering and fighting can seem petty and annoying. However, this is the time to take these “small” instances to teach your children about a few “BIG” life lessons.
Teach Positive Listening, Empathy and Compromise
Use these “opportunities” to teach listening, empathy and compromise. These concepts are so important and can’t be taught early enough. Relationships are the connection between two or more people. That connection involves working together. Listening, empathy and compromise are vital to healthy relationships. A lesson that will impact them now and in their future.
I have tried to teach my boys the art of compromise since they were toddlers. When you learn compromise, you have to learn how to listen to the other people’s needs. You also have to put yourself in their shoes and understand what they are feeling. Once they are able to do that compromise comes much easier.
Siblings arguing occur on a daily basis. Use that time to teach them how to listen, empathy and compromise. Most importantly, be consistent with them. It’s easy to just stop the negative behavior or just separate them. Take the time (it doesn’t have to be lengthy) and reinforce these concepts. You will begin to see less sibling rivalry.
Conflict Resolution as a Life Skill
Honestly, conflicts and arguing only begins with siblings. The reality is, conflict occurs throughout our life. Start teaching your children conflict resolution skills. Conflict resolution includes listening, empathy and compromise therefore it reinforces these important concepts.
Here is a simple version of conflict resolution skills broken down by steps.
- Cool off/take a break
- Speak/communicate the issue in an assertive manner. Not blaming.
- Listen and paraphrase what the other person has said (listening skills)
- Continue steps 2 and 3 until both people feel fully heard, and understand what each person is saying and feeling (empathy)
- Reach a solution and/or find common ground
- Compromise (compromise)
- Let it go/no holding grudges
Walk your children through each step and help them understand the purpose. Use age appropriate language. I started this with my boys as soon as they started having conflicts. Initially, they didn’t understand anything I was saying. They were barely speaking themselves.
Over time, they began to grasp these concepts. I promise, you will see a big difference. It won’t stop sibling conflict. I have yet to find anything that will. Your children will never stop fighting, to some degree. However, these principles will help them work out their problems in a constructive way, most of the time!
You will see them have better relationships with their siblings and have the skills for healthier relationships for the rest of their life.
Praise the Positive to Encourage Skill Building
One last tip, praise your children when you see them using these skills, playing well together, being kind, sharing or teaching each other something. This will reinforce the behavior and they are more likely to continue using all these life skills.
I hope you found this post helpful.
Cheers to a happy house with less conflicts or at least a more constructive way of dealing with them.