With more than one child in the house, sibling rivalry is often inevitable. Sibling fighting may leave you feeling exhausted by all the bickering, and wondering why your kids fight so much.
Luckily, by approaching conflict the right way, you can stop those feuds for good. Let’s explore the best way of dealing with sibling rivalry:
Dealing with sibling rivalry effectively
- Don’t label
When it comes to our kids, we often unintentionally put labels on them. Unfortunately, this can dramatically increase the competition between siblings. When you call one child the “smart kid” or the “well-behaved one”, we often inadvertently draw comparisons between siblings.
- Give intentional attention
Kids thrive on attention. By giving each of your children intentional, uninterrupted attention every day, they will benefit from knowing you’re committed to your time and it will increase feelings of emotional connection between you.
- Create a cooperative environment
You should always avoid comparing your children, encouraging competition between them or favouring one over the other. Alternatively, you can set a good example of cooperation and create healthy opportunities for compromise.
- Celebrate your children’s individuality
Children want to feel appreciated. Therefore, it is important to celebrate their achievements and talents. However, you should never do it at the expense of another child. Celebrate individuality in unique ways that won’t create competition between siblings.
- Treat your children fairly
Fairness is essential. However, fair doesn’t always mean equal. Pay attention to tailor punishments and rewards to your children’s individual needs.
- Handle conflict and set examples
Children who are taught how to manage conflict constructively, for example by listening to their sibling’s point of view, will find it easier to settle disputes. Children also learn from example. Therefore, it is important to display constructive resolution techniques whenever you deal with conflict.
- Make respect non-negotiable
Encourage your children to listen to each other and give the respect they would like to receive. This means no name-calling or physical aggression.
- Stay calm and in control
Always pay attention to what your children are doing. That way, you can intervene before a situation gets out of hand. Try to stay calm and your children will naturally learn to do the same.
Take it one day at a time
Siblings will fight no matter what. However, the conflict-resolution techniques you teach now can keep sibling rivalry and fighting to a minimum. The key is to take it one day at a time and to give yourself a break if it takes time to see improvements.