How to Handle Sibling Rivalry Without Pulling Your Hair Out

If you have more than one child or even grew up with your own siblings, you know sibling rivalry. I grew up as an only child so I didn’t have any experience with sibling rivalry until I had kids — it’s enough to make you want to rip your hair out!

While sibling rivalry is inevitable, there are some things you can do to try to manage it and not stress yourself out. It won’t completely get rid of the sibling rivalry but it will calm your kids down and help you to keep your sanity in tact. I’ve used these tips with my girls and it works every time.

Should you intervene or allow your children to work it out?

This is a loaded question and honestly one that only you can answer by observation and knowing your children. If your children are bickering or generally disagreeing, I suggest you to stay out of it. Time will eventually allow them to work the issue out and come to a agreement. If you intervene with general bickering you could unintentionally intensify the situation.

If your children are shouting at each other and calling each other names, stay out of it but keep a close eye on them. Siblings shouting at each other and name calling is a part of having more than one kid but it doesn’t mean that the situation won’t escalate. If the situation does escalate to a much louder volume and they are arguing for a prolonged period of time, lightly intervene. Ask your children to calmly explain what the disagreement is about and see if you can calmly help them come to a conclusion or agreement. If you’re calm, they will stay calm as well. Your children mirror your own emotions, especially at a young age. It’s important to acknowledge that there is an issue and hear each child’s view point and what they have to say. There’s usually a very simple solution!

Threatening and actual physical fighting happens rarely, but it does happen between siblings. If this happens you need to immediately intervene and separate your kids. Do this calmly. If you start yelling at them you are honestly acting no better than they are and you’ll show them that yelling is ok. Just stay calm!

Separating them and allowing them to cool off

If talking through the situation fails, send them to different rooms to cool off. This will allow them to do something else to distract them from the argument. Hopefully, it will help them to get rid of their anger and frustration and allow them to treat each other better afterward.

Establish ground rules

Let your kids know that if sibling rivalry becomes violent or even if there are threats of violence they will be punished. When my girls argue and start to throw things at each other I take their phones away and I do it every single time so they know I mean business. You should always follow through so they will know that you mean what you say. If you don’t follow through your kids will take those as being empty threats and nothing will change with their behaviors.

Don’t punish your kids in front of one another

Punishing your kids in front of one another can lead to further teasing and name calling. if you have to punish your child, take them into another room and calmly explain why they’re being punished Of course, if both are threatening each other you should punish them both. If one child was the instigator and the one throwing things or threatening the other, just punish one of them and not the both of them.

You can’t prevent sibling rivalry because it will always happen, but you can try to lessen the arguing by staying calm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *