Effective And Simple Tips To Stop Sibling Rivalry And Bickering
Easy parenting tip to help your children get along and stop fighting with each other. End the bickering in your home between children and have some peace and quiet in your home.
Conflict Resolution is an art that takes some practice and patience, but you can do it with these simple tips and end sibling rivalry.
Sometimes siblings fight. It’s inevitable really, I mean when people live together they get on each other’s nerves and it is up to us as parents to show our children how to resolve conflicts that arise in our homes.
I use this conflict resolution almost daily in my home and it works so well I just had to tell you about it.
I KNOW it can help other parents out there who have multiple children.
This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
Want to learn how to get your kids to listen without nagging, yelling or losing control?
–>check out this free parenting class<–
How To Help Kids Get Along Better
A really important tip when raising multiple children is to avoid favoring a child.
This can cause extra jealousy and will lead to conflict in the home.
Another way you can help your children get along is by not comparing them to each other. Avoid using phrases like, “your sister can get ready for school on time, why can’t you?”
This is super negative, demeaning, and can cause a child to become angry, and even lower self-esteem.
Lastly, ensure your children have time and space to be on their own. Sometimes life can be overwhelming, no matter how old you are, and having a space to retreat to is very important.
Kids need chances to do their own thing, play with their own friends without their siblings and have their space and property protected.
When Conflict Hits
I have a simple solution that I use when my children come running up to me with a problem. I recently told a friend about it and she used it on her 11-year-old son. The results were magical.
Imagine your child running up to you in tears and shares that a sibling is being really mean to them.
My brother is being really mean to me and will not share the Nintendo Switch controller.
What should your response be as a parent?
I know I used to say something like “figure it out amongst yourselves, you need to learn to get along” and this turn of phrase got me nowhere.
It got me farther away from solving the problem, and I created an even more upset child with a not really caring attitude.
Children need to learn that their parents are there for them, and brushing them off like that breaks trust, a little bit every time.
So what would I do now in that situation?
1. Do you want to choose to solve this on your own?
2. Do you want to choose to have me come over and intervene?
3. Do you want to choose to walk away?”
Why Giving Choices Like These Works To End Sibling Rivalry
By providing my child with choices in a heated situation rather than simply saying, deal with it on your own, I am giving direction to solve this conflict and letting my child learn the lesson so he knows how to handle the situation next time.
Nine times out of ten, the response is ” I’ll choose to walk away, but I’m still mad”.
And that’s ok.
Children SHOULD feel their feelings. The important thing is the lesson you just taught with your calm reaction to the situation.
You can even respond with an agreeable tone to encourage the decision your child just made.
Good Job! You had the power to make that choice
Providing those clear choices for the kids teaches many lessons in any given conflict.
You’re empowering your children to solve their problems by giving them the tools needed to do so.
This parenting tip is even more effective if used for all conflicts within the household.
Having children hear this method being used will allow them to understand their options and have a more clear direction on which choice they should make.
Managing Sibling Rivalry Is Important
Learning to use conflict management tools within your home and everywhere else in life is good for you, your relationships, and your children too.
Conflict is a part of life.
If your children can watch you work together with your spouse on solving a problem in a positive way, they learn valuable life skills such as how to negotiate and solve problems effectively amongst themselves.
This is why you need to make sure you are setting a good example for your children every time you interact with your spouse, friends, and other family members.
They say children are like little sponges, everything you do, they model.
Why Does Conflict Occur Between Siblings?
Sibling rivalry problems can begin as soon as the birth of the second child in the home and continue through childhood and sometimes into adulthood.
As children grow together, they tend to share interests and use the same toys.
Sometimes older children boss the little ones around due to the fact that they are simply older.
Having children close together is often very pleasant, however, there come situations when they spend a lot of time together and get on each other’s nerves, leading to sibling rivalry.
Whether it is big brother bossing little sister around, or little sister needing to play with big brother’s favourite truck, there will be conflict and lots of it.
However, even though children bicker when they are young, their relationship can be a very special, close one. Working things out between brothers and sisters gives your children a chance to develop important skills like cooperating and being able to see each other’s point of view.
Putting An End To Kids Fighting Over Toys
Summertime is a happy time. It is the time that kids gather in groups and play together for hours on end.
Whether the kids are riding bikes near the house or drawing with chalk on the front lawn, there are always kids in groups playing in the summer.
It can be so joyful to see how kids play together, and there is nothing like seeing your own child having a blast with other kids.
Imaginations soar and all sorts of wonder and joy surround the home.
But it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, sometimes there are tough times and power struggles to handle too, and you may have to step in when kids start fighting over toys.
Kids are not naturally born “share-ers,” it’s a skill that we must teach them as they grow, just like emotional regulation.
When it comes to children, either in the same family or friends, there is always a chance of conflict.
Conflict can come on pretty suddenly, especially if the kids have been engaged in play for quite some time, but out of nowhere you might hear something like:
“I had that first!“
“No it’s mine!”
And suddenly one child is crying and the other is holding the toy they were fighting over.
Hey, it’s life, all kids act like this, but there is something we can do as parents to stop this kind of behaviour in its tracks.
We can choose negative punishment (fear conditioning) to deal with this kind of behaviour, and trust me, that’s the easier way to deal with this but it is not the most effective.
Studies have shown that children who have toys taken from them (using negative punishment (fear conditioning)) are less likely to cooperate with the parent, therefore, taking toys away is not the answer.
While these kids are not at the park, but rather at home, it’s important to let them figure out how to stop fighting over the toy, but they may need a little guidance.
Sharing Is Hard
For children under the age of 7, sharing can be a difficult task to master. Even though children as young as 3 understand what sharing is, and that they should be sharing, when the sharing needs to be put into practice, the concept is lost completely.
Toddlers and preschoolers have shown us over the years, that they can also understand the concept of sharing and splitting things equally, however, most toddlers will want to keep all the toys to themselves when faced with a sharing situation. Toddlers can get triggered into a tantrum easily, here are my best tips on how to deal with toddler tantrums.
So we can understand that it is difficult for kids to share, now we need to understand how to solve the problem.
A Strategy To Try To End The Kids Fighting Over Toys Issue
When it comes to children fighting over a toy, there is one thing you can do that’s pretty darn effective, and it’s been working over and over again for us, so you should definitely try this at home.
If you hear the kids shouting:
“I had that first!“
“No it’s mine!”
The best way to approach this sharing situation is to stay calm and stop the fighting.
Then allow the child to finish playing with their toy and then share it.
I love this approach because it allows the child to finish having their fun and they can have their toy for as long as they want it.
When you allow your child to make this decision to share you are teaching them positive assertiveness which in turn teaches confidence and raises self-esteem.
This teaches children to set boundaries among other children – a pretty super life skill to have!
This also teaches the other child to wait their turn, and they also learn that they can have the toy for as long they want it, as long as they wait patiently.
As an adult, I have trouble with this all the time…saying “no” and setting personal boundaries, who knew it stemmed from learning to share as a child.
Best of all, when a child willingly shares a toy all on their own when they are all finished with it, it is a happy moment for both children. No resentment, no bad feelings, and no tantrum!
Your child is learning how good it feels to share and is more likely to repeat this process even when parents are not watching just because it feels so good. In this case, there is no reason for teaching kids to share, because they do it on their own.
What If Your Child Is The One Waiting To Be Shared With?
It can be difficult to watch an impulsive 3-year-old waiting for a friend to finish with their toy, but there are ways you can make the waiting period less difficult for them.
Showing empathy towards your child can be done with these phrases:
- Oh my goodness, waiting is so hard!
- I see you’re so mad right now, I know how bad you must want to play with that truck. You can have it soon.
- I’m sorry but we can’t just take it out of his hands, you have to wait.
Sharing At Different Ages
An 18-month-old will not understand what sharing means.
Generally, toddlers believe they are the center of the universe and everything they see belongs to them. In terms of sharing, children should have an emotional understanding of keeping their feelings in check, and asking that of a toddler is just too much.
In this case, providing consequences as a result of a not sharing moment, will not have an effect on the learning of how to share.
At this stage, encouragement and practice will be the better option for trying to teach these values to your children.
When another child wants what your child has, your child will most definitely have a difficult time trying to understand the situation. A tantrum can form quickly if the child cannot get what they want.
Encourage your child to wait for their turn and try to explain the situation in a calm assertive voice.
Sharing and turn-taking are often understood by the age of 3.
They could be able to understand the fairness of sharing, however, they are still delicate to the act of actually giving something up to another child to play with.
At this age, children are still impatient and that’s perfectly normal. Patience is a skill that even most adults do not possess.
Try to encourage turn-taking and talk about the value of fairness to teach your child about the value of sharing at this age.
You can try taking turns kicking a ball or shooting a basketball to help develop the patience needed to be able to share.
By the time kids are starting school, they have a good understanding of other people’s feelings and can often feel empathy for others.
By the time your child reaches this age, they will have a good understanding of fairness, kindness and relationships wither others. The tolerance for sharing is much higher and teaching kids to share becomes easier.
School-age children will get a lot of practice learning how to share in school and the act of sharing will become easier and easier to manage for both parent and child. Woo hoo!
Are You Ready To Try This At Home
You are now armed with a powerful solution for when your children are bickering.
I really hope this helps you create a more peaceful home environment, and helps you become a more peaceful parent also.
Try this sibling rivalry solution at home and watch your children become problem solvers in no time.
More Articles On Behaviour Management
- Are You Offended By Your Child’s Behaviour?
- 10 Quick Tips For Better Behaviour
- Navigating 2-Year-Old Tantrums
- Ten Brilliant Positive Parenting Tips
- How I Prevent Tears And Tantrums Around Screen Time With My Kids (and How You Can Too)
- How To Teach Kids Respectful Disagreement
- How To Teach Lessons Through Discipline Instead Of Shame
- 5 Powerful Responses For Backtalk
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe To My Parenting NewsletterSign Up For My Parenting Newsletter for tips on creating a happier home and becoming a more positive parent. As a bonus when you subscribe you’ll get a copy of my FREE Growth Mindset Printout For Kids which is the KEY to raising resilient kids with a growth mindset.
2. Register For A Pretty Awesome FREE 60-Minute Class:Register for a free class called GET KIDS TO LISTEN THE RIGHT WAY; an exclusive FREE class from nationally recognized parenting coach, Amy McCready.
3. Sign Up For A 7 Step Positive Parenting CourseEnroll now in the most in-depth parenting class. After discovering these common sense, easy-to-implement, research-based tools you can learn how to:
- Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
- Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
- Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)
Suggested Reading For Parents:
Suggested Reading For Kids
A story about siblings refusing to share and has a happy ending.
A sweet story about mom and dad explaining that there is plenty of love to go around for all 3 bear cubs.