Sibling rivalry

Sibling rivalry is very common and although some become the best of friends with their brothers and sisters, many fight like cats and dogs. Minor arguments between siblings are normal and healthy, but if it becomes more than the odd squabble, it can cause problems within the family. However, there are things you can do to improve the situation so siblings don’t end up hurting each other or creating family divides, which are difficult to repair.

Siblings in conflict

Set ground rules

Make sure your children know what they can and can’t do and the punishment they will incur if they don’t adhere to these rules. Make them aware that excessive fighting is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. If fighting does take place that you consider to be more than the usual disagreement, make sure you follow through with a punishment so they will learn that their actions will always result in consequences.

Make sure you have family time

By spending time together as a family, whatever it is that you do, you are encouraging your warring kids to see that it is possible to have fun with their siblings and unnecessary to fight all the time. Family time will can also promote bonding amongst brothers and sisters, so even if your children don’t fight but are cold toward one another, it could bring them closer.

Separate children who are fighting if worried

If your children are fighting and there appears to be no resolution in sight, it may be best to separate them for a while so they calm down. If you leave them to it, the fight may escalate again until one is hurt or they are both extremely upset. Fighting is a learning curve and necessary for development, but it can only go so far before it gets unhealthy.

Don’t point the blame

Sibling fights, as serious as they can sometimes get, normally start from a very small issue and one which gets forgotten about as the fight gets worse. Normally not one person is to blame individually and it is the combination of many factors escalating that makes it get out of hand. If trying to break a fight up between your children, make sure you don’t actively blame anyone and try and defuse the fight by separating the children or distracting them with other things. Blaming one child over another can just make both parties angrier and the situation worse.

Have a family meeting

Sometimes the easiest and simplest way to stop sibling rivalry is to find the root of the problem. If it is a case that one borrowed the others property, that can usually be rectified pretty simply, but sometimes there are more deep seated reasons for the arguing which need to be resolved. A good place to start is to hold a weekly family meeting where all the children can air their views and reasons behind their annoyance at the others. This can sometimes solve the situation and stop the conflict.

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