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How-to solve sibling rivalry for good

Kids will be kids, and siblings will be competitive. But fighting, no matter what the reason, is never healthy between brothers and sisters. So the next time an argument breaks out, sit your kids down and lay down a few of these ground rules.

siblings arguing

Explain how to fight right

To disagree is fine. Yelling and calling each other names is not. So talk to your children about fighting right. Explain how using a certain tone could hurt a person’s feelings. As a parent, it’s also important for you to set an example for your little ones. The next time you have an argument, face the issue calmly and constructively. Kids learn by example.

Tell them to take a step back

Most of the time, arguments between siblings will escalate because both parents forget to stop and think about what they’re actually disagreeing over. So encourage your kids to take a step back before a fight gets too heated. Teach them to count to 10, 25 or 50 so they can catch their breath and calm down. Once they have their emotions under control, encourage them to return to their sibling to discuss the problem in a rational way.

Don’t pick a favourite

Kids can tell when a parent or guardian has a favourite child. Ensure that when dealing with fights or disagreements, you discipline all parties equally. And, whenever possible, remain neutral; never pick one child over the other. Explain why you’re doing what you’re doing so your kids understand where you’re coming from.

Apologies are important

When a fight breaks out, it’s important to break it up before it escalates. But don’t leave your interaction with the siblings at that. Instead, once everyone has calmed down, bring all parties together. Encourage your children to talk to each other about how an action may have hurt their feelings or caused them distress. This will make each child feel valued and help them realize their feelings are important. Once everyone has aired their grievances, get the siblings to apologize to each other. It’s a good opportunity to explain why apologizing and forgiveness is important.

Bring them together

Bring the siblings and family together for these fun family activities.

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