Sometimes resolving sibling conflict is as simple as encouraging love instead of trying to fight off conflict with more conflict.
Kids fight. Actually, all people fight. Siblings fight even more-so. They have different personalities, different interests, and they need to compete with each other for pretty much everything. So how do you deal with it? How do you facilitate in resolving these issues? Most of which are as basic as ‘he said this to me and he’s wrong.’ I have some ideas that might just work for you.
Here’s what I do…
I remind my children what it is they like about each other and tell them to say something kind to one another. This is also very similar to what I did in the classroom.
They each have a turn and it’s often enough to make them stop, share some love and remember how much better it feels to love instead of fight. I usually also tell them to tell each other they love each other and have a cuddle. Once they make each other smile, they’re less interested in being right and making the other cross or upset.
It might sound simple and that’s because it is. It distracts them from the nonsense they were fighting about and reminds them that they’re still each other’s guardians. Don’t underestimate the power of nice words and friendship – especially when your children are still young.
The best reactions to sibling conflict in my eyes consist of teaching your children POSITIVE social behaviours that make their sibling happy and in turn make them happy. It’s a quick and nice way to diffuse a situation where they both feel like no one’s on their side. If your children are resistant towards saying nice things to each other, you should say nice things to each of them. Making them feel better within themselves can help them treat others better and the situation should diffuse.
This strategy works in classrooms for a range of children and ages but it might not work for all families and degrees of sibling conflict. Here are some other strategies I’ve pulled that might work for you.
Make them wear a giant t-shirt until they agree to get along just like you see here.
Set up a ‘get along’ jar full of activities they must either do together or help each other with. Check it out here.
There you have it. The main point is that conflict should never be resolved with more conflict. Although when you’ve had enough of your kids fighting it’s really hard not to be reactionary. You want your children to learn to be kind to others (in many situations) and learn to resolve their own conflicts without hurting, taking advantage of, or belittling other people. Your reactions might actually be teaching your kids how to engage in conflict negatively without you even realising.