May 25, 2011

How to Manage Sibling Fights

Siblings are going to squabble. "Mom, she hit me!" "He called me dumb!" "I just know he's thinking about touching me!" What's a parent to do?

Here are some of the reasons why sibling squabble and what you can do about it:

*They might be tired, hungry or bored. Maybe they need a snack, a break or something different to do.

*Maybe they're trying to get your attention. Are you busy cooking dinner, doing laundry and checking your email and not paying enough attention to them? Stop what you're doing for ten minutes and give them your full, undivided attention.

*If your kids are arguing and no one is getting hurt can you ignore it? Stay calm and wait to see if they can resolve the issue themselves. If not, then intervene. If they are able to find a solution tell them you noticed and that you're proud of them for working it out.

*If you have to separate them give them a chance to cool down. Let each one tell his or her side of the story. Then ask them what they can do about it. Don't take sides. It they can't come up with a solution offer suggestions. Use this as an opportunity to teach them how to make deals with one another.

*Teach your children how to play with one another. Show a younger child how to ask his older sister, "Would you play with me?"

*Provide different activities that kids of different ages can do together. Play dough and blocks are good examples. Teach them how to trade toys instead of grabbing what they want.

*Don't compare your children. That's one big reason why siblings fight with one another. Refrain from saying things like, "Why can't you be more like your brother?" or "Your sister doesn't have any problems with getting her homework finished."

*Treat your children fairly not equally.

*Be a coach not a referee.

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