There is nothing worse than listening to your children bicker and fight all day long. Sibling rivalry can quickly wear on your nerves. Most parents hear iconic phrases like “I’m telling on you,” and “He took my toy.” While you may want to run away and may have got in your car with the keys on occasion, there are ways to combat this behavior.
As your children bicker, it builds tension in your home, making it an unpleasant atmosphere. Thankfully, you can use these experiences to teach rather than to cause discord. Conflict resolution is a part of everyday life.
Using these disagreements, you can teach your children about how to resolve their issues without nasty tones and harsh words. For the parent, consistency is the key. You must set firm ground rules and not allow them to get away with things on the weekend that you don’t permit during the week.
How Do You Stop Sibling Fighting
The resolution for this common problem begins with you. By ensuring there are household rules, well-defined consequences, and you are fair with all the children. Then you can establish expectations. Keep in mind that it’s normal for children to argue.
However, as an adult, it’s your job to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand. You must keep your temper and your children under control. To help you implement a program in your home that allows for less arguing, here are six ways that therapists suggest ending sibling rivalry between brothers and sisters.
1. Establish Firm Ground Rules
Most households already have rules in place for arguing. However, if you don’t have these rules established, then take a few minutes to develop a list that your family can use. Call a family meeting and tell the children the importance of following these guidelines.
Consistency is essential. If you don’t give consequences when the rules aren’t followed, then they won’t see the need to obey. Make sure you are clear on your expectations as children love to push boundaries as far as you will allow them.
Remember, some days are going to be better than others, and you must rule with understanding. Kids are going to be kids, and brothers and sisters are going to argue. You are just the referee in their daily encounters.
2. Never Compare Your Children
Did you know that one of the main reasons why sibling rivalry exists is because parents compare children? When one child is doing well, it’s easy to brag about them as you are proud of their accomplishments. However, while the child making the right decisions does deserve praise, there are other children than are feeling insufficient.
Never compare two children against each other; instead, make sure to make a point of good qualities of all. Try to find something to praise each child daily, even if it’s just for helping to bring in the groceries. Remember, that negativity will feed negativity. If you want your children to be positive, then you must set the example.
It’s essential that all your children feel loved and wanted by you. The older your kids get, the harder it is to connect and show your love. It’s easy when they are young and will allow you to hold and cuddle them, but those tactics don’t work on teenagers.
Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your children’s attitudes, behaviors, grades, or general demeanor. When you praise one over the other, you are setting your household up for sibling rivalry. Sadly, most sibling rivalry doesn’t end when children reach adulthood.
3. Treat All Children Fairly
Another thing that parents often do without realizing it is that they play favorites. It’s easy to love and be close to that child that is doing well and seems to have it together. However, the tides will turn. It seems children rotate, and one does well for a while, then the other one takes a walk on the wild side.
You must create a trust system among your offspring. One of the biggest causes of rivalry is when one child feels that they are not the favorite. They will vie for your attention and use behaviors, both good and bad, to get it.
You must be fair to all your kids and ensure that the rules are not made for one. The difficulty is that each child has unique needs, and your discipline style must vary. While you may use different tactics, you must ensure that all parties get a fair punishment.
4. Rule with Regularity
In parenting, stability is everything. If your children know your weak spots, then they will use them to their advantage. You cannot bend, adjust, or change the rules for any child. To set a good example for your kids, you want them to learn the fine art of being consistent.
Now, on the other hand, parents must remember if you don’t want your home full of sibling rivalry, then you cannot argue with their mom or dad in front of them. Sure, you will have disagreements, but you need to take them to a private room. So if you want your children to learn to get along with each other, then you must learn to do the same.
If the rules say you must make your bed in the morning, then they must receive a consequence when the bed is not made. Thus, if you don’t punish when a rule is broken, then they will break them time and again. Plus, your child will quickly learn you don’t stick with your word, which is a dangerous position to be in a parent.
5. Allow Them Some Space to Work it Out
Part of being an effective parent is giving your kids the tools to work through conflicts. If your children start to argue, then you don’t always have to step in to assist. Sometimes, you need to lay down your referee whistle and let them figure it out.
You can encourage them to use their words and take turns talking about the issues, but don’t be so quick to jump in with punishments. Teach them to identify the problem, and you must give them the tools to resolve it. However, just because you don’t step in doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be close by.
Things can take a drastic turn at a moment’s notice, and you may need to get that whistle out and put on your referee cap. When parents teach appropriate conflict resolution, then children learn to have respect for one another.
6. Teach Teamwork in Daily Life
One of the best ways to combat sibling rivalry is to teach teamwork in daily life. Rather than making activities about competition, why not teach them to work together? A team is always stronger than one individual. One of the best exercises to teach teambuilding is relay races.
Make the game where the children are against the adults, and you will teach them the importance of working together. You have many opportunities around your home to teach teamwork. Simple tasks such as mowing the grass, folding the laundry, or doing homework, are all examples of when it’s better to have more hands helping.
Final Thoughts: Sibling Rivalry is Normal
Raising children is not for the faint of heart. They can be very taxing and take you to the brink of emotional despair. However, while there are so many difficulties in this significant job, they are the best gift you could ever ask for in life.
Remember, you’re not the only parent struggling with the arguing and constant bickering. When you have both boys and girls in the home, it can be an all-out war zone. You must find useful tools to resolve their conflicts.
Another thing that you can do for your children is to make them feel special. It’s so hard to carve out time each day with all the items on your to-do list, but you should give each child 10-15 minutes of your undivided attention.
Let them talk to you about what’s bothering them and make them feel that their voice is heard. Make sure you put down the cell phone and turn off the television. Give your ear to them and allow them to vocalize their feelings.
As parents, it’s easy to think that your children don’t have issues. After all, they don’t have to go to work each day and provide for your household. However, you cannot diminish the problems in their little world.
An argument with a friend at school can be just as much of a catastrophic event in their world as you are being exhausted from working so many hours. If you want to tame sibling fights or arguments, then you must first listen to them. Lastly, you must set a good example for them to follow.