“My Kids Won’t Stop Fighting!”

Therapy tips on supporting your children’s sibling relationship

When you have siblings, arguing, bickering and fighting is inevitable. We all have memories from our childhood of the moments we pushed our siblings buttons, fought over a toy or held resentment for not being the one able to sit in the front seat.

These are seemingly small issues that seem like the biggest deal as a child. And although we can look back as adults and laugh, we took those moments seriously as children which, as a parent now, you notice in your own children.

While this fighting is common for children and their development, it can be a challenging situation for parents to manage. Think about this as a developmental step for your children. They are learning complex conflict resolution with the limited perspective, skills and life experience of children.

Here are some tips for how to handle it when your kids are fighting:

Stay CalmFirst off, it’s important to stay calm and avoid getting emotionally involved in the argument. You can support the big emotions your children are experiencing without taking them on yourself.
Listen to Both SidesTake the time to listen to both sides of the argument and try to understand the issue. Instead of first determining who is right or wrong, let your children express their feelings and concerns. Giving everyone space to be heard will calm down heightened emotions.
Help Them Find a SolutionWhile your instinct may be to intervene and give punishment, encourage your children to find a solution together. Help them brainstorm ideas and encourage them to consider each other’s perspectives. Giving them agency over solving the conflict will empower them to communicate better with one another in the future.
Enforce ConsequencesWhile you want to empower your child, it’s also your job as a parent to enforce consequences to their actions. If a punishment is necessary, consider one that is fair and reasonable, explaining to them your reasoning behind it.
Praise Positive BehaviorWhen your children are able to resolve a conflict in a positive way, offer praise and positive reinforcement. This can encourage them to continue to work towards positive solutions in the future.

Remember that it’s natural for siblings to fight from time to time, and it’s important to teach your children how to resolve conflicts in a positive way. While it is your job to enforce discipline when necessary, conflict between siblings is an opportunity for connection. In supporting each of your children through these conflicts, you can guide them in gaining a deeper understanding of one another.

In the moments you find yourself overwhelmed with the constant arguing, remember the growth in their relationship that can come from facing these conflicts with empathy and intentionality. If you need more support with your children’s relationship, connect with Decade2Connect today!

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