Siblings’ fights are common and very natural. Squabbling and arguing are more or less a part of family life. It’s almost impossible to not have arguments when you live that close together, as many siblings do. And why some siblings fight more than others is more or less a question of personality .
But perhaps that knowledge isn’t enough for you to keep your cool and stay sane. Dealing with two or more kids fighting day in and day out can be very frustrating.
Here are some small tips to help keep the peace around the house and manage things in the long run:
• Never compare your kids with each other. No competing like, “who can put on their shoes first?”. Yes, it’s a great tactic to get everyone out of the door in time for anything. But try something else.
• Encourage teamwork whenever possible (perhaps it’s them against you in the next board game?) and acknowledge cooperation with a lot of praise.
• Nurture their differences and personal strengths.
• Give a little privacy, and especially if they are sharing a room. An hour from time to time without the company of each other is calming. Find time alone for each kid.
• Encourage outside friendships.
• Teach them to always show respect for one another, especially when they are fighting.
But what do you do when you hear an argument starting? Try this.
STEP 1: Give them a chance to work out their disagreement on their own. They need to learn that.
STEP 2: Intervene. Let each tell the story, no interrupting is allowed and everyone gets a turn. Being heard is really important for one’s self-esteem. Stay neutral at all times. Find out the facts.
STEP 3: Then ask; “What can you do to solve this problem?” Make suggestions when the kids seem stuck.
And remember it’s almost impossible to be fair in every situation. But in the end, it will even out. Just like life.
If nothing above works there is one more solution – AAD: Anticipate And Distract. It demands more of you as a parent. To always be on top of things and always within hearing can be a tiring task. But sometimes, and for certain periods, an intervention before the argument escalades is the only sane solution. At least for your nerves and tortured ears.