Bring on the Sibling Love!

Did you know that 70% of all families have children who fight physically or just general squabbling? If your family is one of them, you are not alone.

The good news is sibling fighting IS normal and can actually be healthy, if we allow it to! But also you can limited it and make it more bearable if you are willing to make some important changes.

Sibling fighting can really ruin a family life and a parent’s self-esteem and parenting confident.

Our top tips:

  • Let them fight it out: it happens in all family and maybe it is just something they have to do and get through. When we interfere and tell them NOT to fight we don’t give them a chance to learn through the rivalry or fighting it out or work out the conflict. So try to walk away as soon as the fighting or squabbling start. You can stay outside the door and listen, but let them have this one for themselves. Who knows maybe we have ‘taught’ them to fight by giving it too much attention! Kids love their parents attention and if they have learned that they get LOTS of attention through fighting, well then they will do it.  (Nb, before doing this make sure that one is not being the bully over the other). When to step in: when you feel one is being bullied (not a faire ‘healthy’ fight), name calling that is NOT ok, damage to object or when some get hurts
  • So try to ignore what you don’t want to see or hear and pay attention to what you want to see and hear. When they ARE playing, or hanging out, together nicely ‘get in there’ and give them your attention, give them the focus they love and you will start growing the positive behaviour! .
  • Tell them what you WANT to see and hear. Try not to use the STOP command all the time such as: STOP fighting etc. Tell them what you want ‘please keep hands to yourself’, ‘please use kind words’ etc
  • Find common ground: What do they both like to do? Try to develop this common interest so they like to hang out together.If they both like Lego, then encourage that. If they both like to go for a bike ride, do that etc
  • Try to spend special time with the 2 of them together: through your coaching you can ‘teach’ them to be together in a nice way. You can teach them to have fun together, share, take turns and love each other. It might be a day out, going to a café, biking anything that you all like.
  • Also, spend some one2one time with each child, so they feel they are getting positive attention and love from you. This mean they don’t have to fight for it!!
  • If you feel that a fight is about to happen, get in there and intervene to prevent it to happen ‘right who wants to help with dinner’ or ‘who wants to play a game’..
  • Tired and hungry kids are not a good cocktail – if you feel that this is the case, keep them separated until it is sorted
  • Agree to house hold rules i.e. kind hands, speak nicely, keep hands to self-etc.

But most important, be a role model: don’t get a tantrum and lose your temper and control. Come from a place of checking in with yourself, decide to stay calm and mirror what you want to see in your kids. Screaming and yelling will not lead to better behaviour in our kids!

If you need some support with this topic  CLICK here

From the ParentingSuccess Team