Siblings fight. That’s a fact of life. Talk to any set of adult siblings and they’ll probably have a chockfull of sibling war stories from their childhood to share. However, just because it’s normal doesn’t mean we should just let our children squabble. Here are some tips to help you create a more harmonious atmosphere at home by preventing fights between your children.
1. Spend one-on-one time with each child
Spending quality time with your child will build his confidence and let them feel loved and accepted. The more secure your child is, the less likely he will fight with his siblings, says Aha! Parenting.
2. Never compare your children with each other
Fostering sibling rivalry can only make conflict among siblings worse. Even if you avoid asking the forbidden question “why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?”, if you’re not careful, you could do it unintentionally. When remarking on something, focus on one child and one child only, says New Parent:
Instead of saying, “Why can’t you put away your clothes like your brother?” say, “I see a brand-new jacket on the floor that needs to be put away.” Instead of comparing one child favourably to the other (“You’re so much neater than your brother”), describe what you see (“I see you put away your jacket”)
3. Have realistic expectations
Siblings will fight every now and then—that’s totally normal. Today’s Parent says that unless your children are hurting each other verbally and physically, you don’t have to swoop in right away. This allows them to learn how to resolve conflict on their own.
4. Teach them how to resolve conflict in a healthy way
Parenting coach Julie Romanowski tells Today’s Parent that a good way to teach your kids how to get along is the VB (validation plus bounary) response. “You validate their feelings, letting them know it’s OK to feel jealous or mad, but it’s not OK to hurt their sibling, and set that boundary,” she explained.
5. Don’t resort to corporal punishment
The knee-jerk reaction to bad behaviour is yelling or spanking. But this kind of discipline often leads to angrier kids who are more likely to act out and fight. Instead, take them aside, let them calm down, and remind them of the boundaries using the VB response.
6. Reward good behaviour
This one’s simple. When you see your children having a positive interaction, praise them. This makes them feel good about themselves, making them actually want to treat their sibling nicely in the future.