It’s never easy with children – brothers squabbling over blocks, sisters quarreling about the seating arrangement. Sibling arguments are not unusual and can be frustrating and maddening for parents.
Siblings fight for many reasons:
- Jealousy: One of your children is good at sports, and the other is good at a dance; one is good in academics, and the other is good at music. Jealousy can be triggered by the simplest of things.
- Age difference: Most families have children that have an age gap of 3 to 6 years between them. This gap in age can lead to a communication failure between the siblings, which can further lead to fights between them.
- Not getting praise from parents: Children constantly need praise from their parents. If this does not happen they feel left out and therefore want to channel their disappointment.
- Grabbing each other’s possessions: Children are possessive about their toys, clothes, books, stationery, etc. And when a sibling, or any other child, tends to grab their possessions, it’s certainly going to invite trouble.
- Unequal treatment from parents: Thinking that they are being treated unequally by their parents is the most classic cause for fights among siblings. There are many examples that kids can mark as inequality – like pocket money, outings, even the number of hugs their parents give!
Here are some tips to help you discipline and deal with arguments between your children:
- Cool down the argument: The last thing you want to do to stop an argument between your children is to start arguing or scolding your children yourself. It is important to talk to your children in an understanding tone and to listen carefully. Speaking to your children separately also helps.
- Praise your children when required: You need to show your children that you really are interested in the things they are interested in. Acknowledging your children when they put in a good effort is very important.
- Teach your children the difference between discussions and arguments: Let your children know that when there is a discussion, share their thoughts without insulting anyone or letting anyone down. It also helps to teach your children about expressing their feelings effectively and the difference between discussing and shouting.
- Set and apply family rules that are clear: It is important to let your children about the things that are OK and the things that are not. For example, name-calling is not OK. Set some simple rules and make sure your children follow them.
- Teach the importance of asking permission: Explain to your children the importance of asking permission for even the smallest things. This will lead to fewer fights, and they will start understanding what is right and what is wrong.
- Understand the core problem: As a parent, your aim should be to resolve the core problem that causes arguments between your siblings. Sit down with your children and try to find out what the real reason for their argument is and what really is bothering them so much. Make sure that no outsiders are involved in this discussion.
- Treat your children equally: Spend equal individual time with each child. Also, you should rejoice in the differences of your children. Never compare your children with one another.
Remember, childhood is a stage of learning and developing. This is a time when mistakes are made, limits are broken, and difficulties are solved. It is important to know that sibling conﬂicts are a usual thing and an ordinary part of family life.