A sibling can be a best friend, or a near constant annoyance. If your children are constantly fighting, how do you halt the chaos and help them develop good relationships?
Are there certain situations that commonly erupt into arguments? If so, identify these and help your children come up with a plan to handle these in the future. For example, if your children regularly fight over sharing a certain object, come up with a schedule for sharing it. Encourage them to solve the problem between themselves. Model forgiveness for your children in your own life, with them and with your spouse. Point out instances of forgiveness in TV shows they watch and books they read so they can learn what forgiveness is.
When a fight does occur, it’s time to help talk your kids through it. Rather than involving yourself as the firm decision-maker, act as the mediator. Help your kids talk through their feelings, and understand the situation more clearly. Use this opportunity to teach them problem solving. Discuss with your child the differences between them and their sibling, and help them understand how these differences affect what they do and say. To make things more concrete and interactive, you can use tickets as a teaching method. Each time the children tattletale or have to involve you in an argument, rather than working it out themselves, they must spend a ticket. At the end of the week, those with unused tickets get a special treat.
When your children act like a team, compliment them! Encourage them to work together, and express your happiness when they get along. Reminding them they should be friends will encourage a stronger bond between them. Also, take note of what activities your children enjoy doing together, and give them plenty of opportunity to do these. Designate a daily time for them to spend together, and organize some fun activities they both enjoy. Or, have them do chores together. Working together can strengthen relationships.
As your children grow, you can help make a change in their relationships! You may be surprised at how well they end up working together and enjoying one another.