Sibling Conflict: A Great Opportunity

"When the bickering gets too bad I just go in my room and shut the door!" one mom said in exasperation. The fact is that many parents believe the solution to arguing and bickering is to allow children to "fight it out."

That's one solution parents commonly use when their children start fighting. Other parents separate the children and try to keep them apart in order to maintain peace. They imitate a referee at a boxing match, breaking up the conflict and sending the fighters to their opposite corners. Unfortunately, continually separating children doesn't solve the problem. In fact, the children often come back again to fight some more.

We believe both of these solutions are inadequate because they lack the depth needed to bring about lasting change. When parents only separate the offenders or walk away, they miss valuable opportunities to help their children grow.

Conflict with brothers and sisters is a child's first class in relationship school. Your home is the classroom, you are the teacher, and honor is the curriculum. Each conflict situation becomes an opportunity for teaching children how to get along.

When two children are fighting, call one out of the room and talk about how to deal with the conflict. Teach children how to confront, ignore, negotiate, compromise, talk about problems, and be peacemakers. Then send the child back into the situation to try again. If necessary, call the second child out and give helpful suggestions before trying again. Whatever you do, don't try to discipline them together. Kids have an amazing way of deflecting discipline when they are together.

Be listening to your children's interaction and continue to coach them in relationships. You may call the same child out of an activity five or ten times in an hour to continue to point out the change that needs to take place. Help children know what right actions are appropriate, and as long as they are willing to try to do the right thing, send them back into the situation to try again.

Use sibling conflict to teach about healthy relationships. It takes a lot of work but you’ll be preparing your children to deal with the difficult relationships they’ll encounter for the rest of their lives.

What are some ways that you've found helpful to teach your kids to honor?
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Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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4 comments:

  1. This is one of my areas of greatest struggle and opportunity for improvement. I often feel ill equipped to provide the correct guidance. Do you have any recommendations for parents like me who want to teach their children, but don't know what to say sometimes? Thank you for the resources you provide. I am learning so much and still have so much to learn!

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  2. My children, DS8 and DD9 have been competing since DS was born. I have struggled with many methods for many years. This year is different. When there is a conflict, I set a timer for 5 minutes and have them negotiate a compromise. If they dont come to an agreement, I get to decide. Mommy's decision is not the most popular, so they are pretty good at working it out. They are at a good age for this method. Not sure if it would have worked very long ago.

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  3. Just read an excellent post prior to yours and love how this mom spells it out. We use the same method in our home. She does a beautiful job writing my same exact thoughts.

    http://raisingolives.com/2009/10/solving-sibbling-squabbles/#comment-27115

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  4. I came back to read some articles, including this one, after a long, arduous night, hoping perhaps to find some help. Unbeknownst to me, it was a great encouragement. Gonig to a friend's house for dinner w/ two other families, my two older boys 4 & 6 had about 4 incidents w/ 1 another during a 1-hour span during eating/playing time while amongst friends. It came from one being annoyed at the other, not making the basket during bball first, whining at the other, or not sharing. I spent what seemed most of the night pulling one or the other out to talk about it, go thru what had happened, walk through what could have been done differently, & send them back to try again. I was the only parent doing this as the other children were playing fine. I thought, 'This seems unreal. I must be doing something wrong.' since I was the only parent spending many moments pulling away & teaching my children in what should have been a good play time for them. I am truly helped to read above that it is not unrealistic to have to pull our children out many many times and that it was right & good to help guide them in the way I did. I thank you for this encouragement.

    It was a birthday as well, and there were cupcakes. I told them they had to share one cupcake together (though the other children got their own). I explained to them that, as brothers, they are a team and that as a team, they work together on doing things successfully. Their sharing the cupcake is like the two of them working together to finish something (sharing, playing, etc.) sweetly, peacefully, & well. After explaining that, the younger one, who was very upset about having to share the cupcake, calmed immediately, seemed to understand that picture, and was agreeable. Hopefully, it serves as a visual and helpful lesson for him.

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