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Mom She's in My Room Again!

Have you ever heard yourself saying, “Can’t everyone just get along?” or found yourself constantly refereeing your kids' fights and ending up feeling like you're losing your mind? If you answered yes, you are normal! Sibling rivalry comes with the territory of having a family. The difficult part is learning how to manage kids when rivalries break out into battle.

Managing sibling rivalry madness:

Encourage kids to learn how to resolve conflicts on their own. This is an amazing opportunity for them to learn important conflict resolution skills.

  • Allow your children to express their feelings. Don’t discount their complaints or minimize their reasons for being angry at a sibling. It is natural to feel anger or frustration with others, at times. The important thing to teach kids is to not act out on angry feelings and purposely hurt others.
  • Help kids learn to use their words and not their fists. All kids can learn age-appropriate words they can use to communicate their feelings. Consider teaching kids “I statements” to express their feelings and impression of a problem. For example, “I feel (blank) when you do (blank).”
  • Teach empathy and compassion. Show kids how important it is to acknowledge a sibling’s perspective and point of view.
  • Don’t intervene in verbal disagreements once you have given suggestions on how to resolve a conflict. Being a referee will only cause you frustration and won’t get kids to step up and resolve their own conflicts. If you continue to get involved in routine sibling rivalry conflicts, kids will learn to depend on you to fix their problems and stay in the blame game.
  • Do intervene if conflict gets excessive, repetitive, or physical. Separate the combatants immediately to calm down and refocus their energy to something more productive. If conflict gets physical, clearly explain physical violence is unacceptable.
  • Problem solve once your kids are calm. Regroup and start discussing the importance of finding solutions to the problem. Encourage each child to come up with at least one suggestion to prevent or handle future conflicts.
  • Role play with your kids to practice new behaviors. This can be a fun and engaging exercise to get kids involved in learning how to handle difficult situations.

To help survive moments of sibling chaos, appreciate that your children’s conflicts provide them with learning opportunities to develop important social skills and resolve conflict. Be sure to stay calm and maintain your serenity when the storms approach to model peaceful conflict resolution.