If you have two or more children, chances are you’ve witnessed some pretty epic sibling arguments. Although these clashes can start over something small, they can quickly escalate and cause distress to everyone in the family. Whether your kids are going through a rough patch, or if they’ve always picked fights with one another, read these handy tips to help steer them through it.
Never Take Sides
Parents take sides in subtle ways, without realizing they’re doing it. When one child walks into the room and announces that their sibling has hit them, never yell for your other kid to come and talk to you. They will instantly feel like they’re in the wrong, but if nobody’s witnessed the argument, who’s to say they started it? Go and find the accused, talk to them, and try and get to the bottom of what’s going on. Explain to all children involved that you’re upset by seeing them arguing and you want to treat them all fairly.
Have regular conversations with your kids about the importance of honesty. Adults can’t watch children all the time, so they need kids to own up when something’s gone wrong. Don’t just tell them, show them. If you mess up at work, bump the car, spill a drink, or drop something, tell them about it. They need to know that you’re not perfect, that you’re OK with not being perfect, and that you own it. This will help them tell you if they’ve started an argument or been the one to take it too far.
If it’s possible, try and arrange it so that each child spends some one-on-one time with each parent. This will help develop a relationship, build trust, and reduce jealousy. Often, the root of sibling arguments lies in insecurities about parental affection, so show every child that you love and value them. The more respect they have for you, the less likely they are to upset you by walloping each other in the back of the car.