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I remember my childhood clearly where my sister and I would bicker and fight constantly. We were very close in age and it was an inevitable path. Now, we’re best friends. But I can see why my parents wanted to pull their hair out!
How do you deal with the inevitable bickering between siblings? I know it’s completely normal and I’m not worried, but I’m just really tired of it. One minute they are playing fine and the next it’s whining, hitting, and everyone is miserable.
Are there any tried-and-true methods you’ve used to stop it before it gets out of hand?
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Siblings will definitely fight. Its a normal and healthy part of their development - for the most part. I always tell my kids that if they can learn to get along with their family members when they will be able to get along with almost anyone in life.
In our big family there are definitely some kids that clash more than others and I have found the following useful"
1. Encourage space when needed. It's ok to say you need space from someone else.
2. Model and expect communication. Talk about feelings. Notice and name what your kids are feeling to help them learn to understand their own emotions.
3. Do not allow violence. It is never ok to hit or kick in frustration. The feelings are ok but the violence is not.
There will always be times when disagreements happen but having some boundaries around behaviour is always a good thing.
It sure is a transition that almost all siblings have to go through. Few kids tend to fight more than others and it sure becomes frustrating for parents.
I have personally observed that although siblings are fighting but at the same time they cannot stand being separated from each other. We had a rule in our home, if kids were found fighting, they would have to stay in separate rooms for 30 minutes. It really helped in reducing frequents fights.
I always kept a close watch on bones of contention (what instigates a fight) and tried to resolve the underlying factors. For example if one kid has received a skateboard as a birthday gift, it is ought to cause a constant conflict. You either have to give an alternative to the other kid or set time so both siblings can use it in turns.
Few kids have more physical energy so they end up creating more fuss. In order to channelize their physical energy positively, you can incorporate more physical activity in daily routine. If going out is difficult, having an indoor trampoline can be a good idea.
The constant fighting is very annoying.
When the bickering occurs, have you noted a pattern of who is the antagonizer? Is there one who seems to like to fight? Are there certain instances where the fighting is worse?
Sometimes, if you break it down, you can find a pattern.
For instance, you can separate the ones who fight together. This method is beneficial in the car, where fighting is particularly irritating.
If specific situations are a trigger, I would change up that scenario.
Some of our grandchildren like peace and quiet, while others are rowdy rompers. There can be a lot of yelling and discord in the pool when they are together. We have had to institute different zones or times when the kids can get in to make everyone happy. It is kind of like an adult swim at times and chaos at other moments, but at least the yelling has calmed down.
The "zone" idea also works during free time, if needed. Each child has an area to play in and needs to stay put. If they want to play together, they must promise not to argue.
They still carry on and fight, but that little bit of control has helped somewhat.