Sibling Wars

Sibling, brother and sister fighting pulling each other faces

Often we find ourselves wondering if our kids will ever stop arguing and just get along.  Why can’t they just play together peacefully?  Why can’t they be happy to have one another?  Don’t they know how lucky they are to have a brother or sister?  I’m sure if you have more than one child, these are all questions you have asked yourself at one time or another.  Teaching your kids to get along and learn to resolve their issues is an ongoing process, but if you are constantly on it you will find success.  Like all things parenting it will take time and commitment.  It will take you intercepting in the beginning to give examples and guidance and then once you have set up your boundaries and expectations you will be able to give your reminder and off they go.  By creating this type of environment in your home you will find that you will be creating a more peaceful home and also helping your kids develop more independence.

To start, from the beginning, you need to constantly help remind your kids how they should speak to one another.  To always speak with respect and kindness.  If they don’t do this, you need to have a consequence set up and FOLLOW THROUGH.  It’s key to follow through and let them know that treating each other kindly is not a choice, but rather just what we do in our home.  By teaching them this you will help them in other areas, such as making friends, solving problems, and knowing how to treat people properly in the world around them.  These are all life-long skills and ones that you will need to teach your children regardless, so why not begin with siblings.  Sibling wars are forever happening, whether big or small.  They will bicker and complain.  Tattle and yell.  Cry and complain.  Try intersecting when a problem arises and help them to stop and deal with the problem appropriately.  They each need a turn to tell their side of the story without the other interrupting.  If they can’t do this and you have asked them to stop and listen than you must FOLLOW THROUGH with your consequence.  Once each has had a chance to tell their side then they need to both apologize.  There will always be a lesson to learn when a problem occurs.  Try to chat with them both (all)  about the importance of whatever the lesson is.  For example, why it’s important to listen to your brother/sister if they have asked you to stop doing something.  Why words and listening are so important.  Why we never use our bodies to physically touch or hurt anyone and explain why.  Have boundaries and rules set up for behaviours.   Give constant reminders and be there to help if they need you.

Once you have had consistent boundaries, consequences and discussions set in place for awhile they will be able to solve their own problems.  In our house and what I often suggest to clients is once they feel ready to solve their own problems, its’ a good idea to give the 60 second timer.  What this means is, when a problem occurs and you hear it beginning or if it’s fully escalated… you tell they you have set the timer for 60 seconds and that the problem needs to be solved in 60 seconds or you will solve it for them.  Now, what solving it for them means, is up to you!  My boys don’t really know how I solve the problem as they have always solved the problem before 60 seconds.  If they didn’t have the issue resolved, I would send them both to their rooms to think about the problem and be ready to solve it when I come back for them.  Sometimes, simply re-directing helps kids clear their minds, settle down, and then they are in a better state to think calmly and solve the issue.

There are many tips and tactics to help get your sibling wars to minimize!  Help your overall home environment become more peaceful and teach your kids many life lessons about behaviour and respect by guiding them through proper sibling problem solving.  These lessons will follow them to school, activities, playdates and more!  Life-long skills that will help mold them into a respectful, kind and independent adult!  Please subscribe to get the latest posts to your inbox and start today with one on one parent coaching if you need help getting this put in place in your own home!  Trust me everyone can do it….even you!!!


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