The relationship between siblings is like wind, and you never know which direction it will take tomorrow. Some days they are best friends, inseparable and on other days, each other’s nemesis. Sibling rivalry starts early, even before the second sibling is born and continues as they grow old.
It is very common for siblings to fight. It can be extremely frustrating and upsetting to watch your kids fight each other as a parent. That’s why it is essential to understand how the kids relate to one another at different development stages.
As a parent, it is vital to promote peace in the household.
Here are some reasons why your kids get into fights with each other:
Kids have Evolving Needs
In toddlers, behaviours such as being overprotective about their toys and belongings are seen. When a baby brother or sister picks up one of your toddler’s toys or belongings, they might react furiously.
The age group of your kids affects why they fight each other. The toddler being the only child until the age of three or four years will dislike the idea of sharing parental love with their sibling. School going children have a firm idea of fairness and equality. When they see their younger sibling being given preferential treatment, they will feel that they are being treated unfairly. While teenagers have a developing sense of individuality and independence. They might feel unhappy and unwilling to help you with household chores, take care of the younger siblings or spend time with the family.
As kids grow older, their needs change. They start treating themselves as individuals and learn how to assert their will all the time. It’s essential to understand your kids according to their evolving needs.
Kids have Individual Temperaments.
Your kids’ personality, mood, disposition and adaptability depends on how well they get along with other people and how they react to their surroundings. If one of your kids seeks more attention and is clingy, the other siblings might resent them and want the same amount of attention. Every child is unique. If one is calm and laid back, another might feel easily hassled. You need to realise that while handling your kids.
Having Differently Abled Siblings
Sometimes your kids might find it difficult to understand why their differently-abled or sick sibling is being treated specially and paid so much attention. Some kids may pick up on the differences and act out to get attention or feel anxious about what’s happening to their siblings. It’s essential to explain the situation to your child in a compassionate manner.
Parents are the Role Models
Children learn from their parents, and the way parents resolve problems and fight at the house sets a strong example for the kids. If your kids watch you and your spouse slam doors, argue loudly, shout and have a bad temper on most days. Then there is a problem you need to resolve to help them learn the proper ways to deal with anger and conflicts. If you and your spouse work through conflicts respectfully in a non-aggressive manner, then it is most likely that your kids will adopt the same ways to overcome problems in their lives.
Here’s what you can do when the siblings start fighting:
While fighting is common amongst the siblings, one can only tolerate a certain amount of banter at all times. You never know when verbal fights turn into physical fights.
When a parent intervenes every time the siblings are fighting, it might lead to a different path. They might expect you to support one of them; in that process, one might feel protected while the other might feel the opposite – distant and resent you for not taking their side.
The child whose side you took earlier would start feeling like they can get away with anything. It’s better to stay out of your kids’ banter unless they get into a physical fight.
If your kids are using foul language or calling each other names. It’s vital to coach your kids by teaching them appropriate ways to express their feelings. Stopping your kids midway will leave them in a conflict without a conclusion. Even if you intervene in sibling fights, help resolve the dispute and do not solve their conflicts for them. Remember that your kids are learning important lessons from these fights which will help them in life, like respecting others’ perspectives, compromising and helping control aggressive impulses.
Here are some things you can consider before intervening in a sibling fight:
- Separate your kids until they’re calm. It’s best to give the kids some space and not immediately talk about the conflict.
- Do not focus on blaming one of the kids. Instead, make both the kids feel equally responsible for the fight.
- Try to set up a win-win situation where both the kids gain something.
Here’s how you can help your kids get along:
- Set clear ground rules for your kids and tell them what kind of behaviour is acceptable. Differentiate between what kind of behaviour and habits are right and wrong.
- Help your kids understand that not everything is fair and square. Sometimes the other kid has more needs and requires more attention.
- Make sure every child gets your one on one attention, especially while they are doing things they like doing.
- Let the kids know that they are safe, important and loved without limits.
- Have fun together as a family.
- If the kids frequently fight over the same things, such as a TV remote, then create a schedule for who owns the remote during the week.
- Set clear timelines on when the kids need time apart from each other and the family.
When the conversation is getting out of hand, remember that a few moments of patience go a long way. We hope this article will help you effectively manage sibling rivalry and help your kids get along better.