Sibling rivalries are real, and they can cause a lot of issues at home. Constant fighting between your kids can be stressful and even embarrassing when it takes place in public. While some disagreements are normal, constant fighting is detrimental to your kids and you as a parent.
Here’s some advice on how to handle constant fighting between your kids.
Reduce Competition Between Kids
One huge source of fighting between siblings is rivalry, or feelings of competition. To help reduce fights, reduce the sense of competition your children feel with each other. Some ways to lessen the feelings of rivalry include:
- Avoid comparing children on grades, interests, sports, etc. If one child is struggling, address their needs individually, do not compare them to their sibling.
- Spend quality time with each child. Sometimes we have interests more related to one child, but each parent should spend quality time with each child.
- Get kids involved in their own activities. All of your kids don’t have to try the same sports or activities.
Set a Schedule
Another common source of fighting is disagreements about “whose turn” it is. Eliminate fights over TV time and who has which chore by setting up routines. Make sure each child has a set time to choose what to watch on TV/play, and clearly outline who has which chore for the week. Make the routines and expectations known by writing them up on a whiteboard or calendar to remind your kids. This lays out expectations and will ensure everyone has fair opportunities and responsibilities, which will reduce fights.
Develop Problem-Solving Skills
Work with your children individually and as a group to develop problem-solving skills. Talk about how to calm down during heated moments and ways to manage feelings. When you see a fight brewing, step in with guidance to remind them about the problem-solving skills you’ve practiced.
Keep Kids Engaged
Ultimately, boredom can lead to fights between kids. Keep them engaged and focused on other things besides each other when out and about. Have kids walk on opposite sides of the shopping cart, and play “I spy” or send them each to find different items to keep them busy. When possible, come up with activities to do at home. Having a schedule and set of responsibilities helps keep kids busy so they are not tempted to fight with each other.
Sometimes, fighting between siblings is okay, and they should learn to work it out, but chronic fighting is a nightmare. Use the strategies above to help reduce the amount of fighting between your kids.