Why Can’t My Kids Just Get Along?

Fighting, Child, Arguing, Sibling, Conflict

Istock-siblingrivalryWhy is it that my kids can’t just get along?  Why do they have to fight the second I leave the room?  Why is it that they play nice for a couple of minutes and then all hell breaks loose?  These questions, amongst many more, that involve sibling rivalry are extremely common across the board.  In houses crossing the globe and in cars on every highway, kids are fighting, fighting and fighting more.  The competition between siblings is increasing along with the parent’s frustration.  This combination of increased arguing and frustration moves the patience level down the needle.  With this we have created a vicious cycle of fighting, yelling and anger.  WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?????!!!!!!!!!

What if there were some things we could do as parents to help decrease sibling rivalry?  

What if WE were actually contributing to the constant fighting?  

To be perfectly blunt, I am going to ask all of you to take a step back and look closely at your current situation.  If your kids are fighting each time you leave the room or just can’t seem to get along, then take another step back and really look.  Look at the intensity and frequency at which your kids are arguing.  Is it constant?  Only sometimes?  It’s perfectly normal for siblings to argue from time to time as it’s their way of learning to problem solve.  It’s not ideal for them to fight all the time and when they do fight it’s important that we give them the opportunity to learn to solve these issues on their own.

How do we do this when they are practically killing one another?

It starts with YOU and there are 4 things you can work on to help decrease the intensity and frequency in which your kids fight.  Don’t look for it to disappear entirely, let’s be realistic.  Do look for the intensity and frequency to go down as your barometer to gauge progress.

1.)  Don’t label you kids – labeling them as the ‘smart’ ‘efficient’ ‘responsible’ or ‘wild’ child will encourage them to compete with one another. Competition leads to fighting as your kids are feeling inadequate.

2.)  Let them solve their issues – only interfere when it’s physically harming someone or danger is involved.  Don’t make their problems your problems.  When you get involved you give undue attention.

3.)  Facilitate – help them solve their issues, as you act as the facilitator to their problem solving.  Don’t give your opinions or feelings.  This makes them feel incapable to solve their own issues.  Help them learn life skills and problem solving skills by facilitating and not doing it for them.

4.)  All in one boat – don’t single out one child.  Who ever chooses to participate in the fighting ALL get the same consequences.  When you single out you choose a side which directly increases competition and encourages more fighting and it brings up feelings of inadequacy.

Following these 4 tidbits will help you discourage sibling rivalry.  It will reduce the amount as you won’t be helping to encourage the competition between your kids.  You will notice a difference if you commit to the above.  There are, of course, other reasons that kids fight and more things that you can do to help the situation, but this is a really good start!  Give it a try to see what happens.  You may just see your kids playing well together.  Can you even imagine??!!!



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