One absolute truth in the experience of being a parent is your children will fight. Developing a parentStrategy which manages the conflicts, helps minimize the frequency and intensity of SIBLING BATTLING. Creating a consistent strategy that addresses your children’s fighting is an important step toward minimizing the stress in the household.
The following are parent “DO NOTS”:
- Do not tell them to stop!
- Do not send them to their rooms!
- Do not punish everybody in the house!
- Do not take a side!
The “do” list demands parent skills that evolve out of actions that are even-handed and a communication style that stresses calm and fairness.
- Keep it the children’s problem.
- Listen to and respect each side. Then, summarize what you have heard. Let your children know that you are not searching for the absolute truth.
- Tell your children you believe they can work out the problem fairly and leave the room.
If problems persist become a mediator and set rules for the actual mediation. Allow a cool-off period and determine a time in the near future to discuss the problem.
- Each child presents his or her side of the conflict.
- Each child needs to summarize the other’s viewpoint.
- Brainstorm solutions. All ideas count.
- Develop a solution everybody can agree upon without complaining and blaming.
- Set up a time in the future to check-in and review the progress of the children’s agreed upon solution to their problem.
If the children are unable to resolve the problem after repeated attempts, parents need to intervene with clearly established consequences. This is the last resort and the children need to be reminded it came to this because they were unable to resolve the conflict by their own means. Clearly, if dangerous behavior is involved, parents must intervene immediately because the children’s safety is a parental issue. The following is a list of common sibling battle grounds:
- PERSONAL SPACE
SIBLING BATTLING is inevitable. Teaching your children healthy conflict resolution is your responsibility and it becomes a life-long skill your children will use in other relationships.