It’s common for siblings to fight every now and then. After all, it’s part and parcel of growing up together, and there’s no way for two different individuals to see eye to eye on everything.
But if squabbles become more frequent and serious, it might be time for you as a parent to step in and assess the situation. Not only does maintaining the peace make for a more harmonious family life, but having close sibling ties also can lead to better life satisfaction and mental health in adulthood based on research.
If you find yourself caught in a pickle at home, here are some ways you can consider when managing feuding kids.
1. Try not to intervene if possible
Ideally, your kids should be able to resolve conflicts between themselves – this is an essential life skill to develop – and you can’t be expected to swoop in and be the saviour all the time. But when there’s name-calling and risk of physical danger, this is your cue to counsel them on how to disagree respectfully.
2. Stay neutral
After the siblings have had their time and space to “cool off”, get them to share their side of the story. Resist the urge to lay blame or pick sides. Instead, empathise with each person’s feelings so everyone feels heard. This rule applies no matter the age of your children.
3. Figure out a win-win situation together
Just like you would at work, get everyone to brainstorm for a solution. No one wants to give up the TV remote? Fighting over the same toy? Perhaps they can work out a fair schedule. If this doesn’t work, take the coveted item away altogether until they learn to compromise.
4. Teamwork makes the dream work
On family game night, make the siblings team up against you and your spouse. This helps them channel their competitive streak and work together as one to “defeat” a common enemy.
5. Develop individual relationships with your children
Sometimes, resentment happens because of perceived favouritism. Stem it by making the time to understand each child and take him or her for exclusive outings once in a while. This way, your children will feel secure in your love for them in the long run.
6. Draw from your own experience
Be open about past conflicts with your own siblings and share how you managed to resolve them. Avoid dismissing negative emotions like anger and disappointment (“Don’t be so petty!”). Instead, allow your children the space to process their feelings so they can come back to the table with constructive thoughts.
Tags: Family Bonding /Family Issues