Three Ways to Help your Kids Manage Sibling Conflict

Having more than one kid in the household increases your chances of conflict. Sibling rivalry will become an inevitable aspect of the relationship with your kids. The conflict can leave parents at their wits end, exhausted, wanting to find a solution that can bring it to an end. Bickering, teasing, and even physical fights can be disruptive, create an unhappy home environment, and a sour relationship between siblings. Here are three ways that you can help your kids manage sibling conflicts.

1. Parent as You Should
Ignoring the conflict between your children is reckless and neglectful. You have a responsibility to take action when sibling rivalry progresses to excessive physical or verbal incidents. Step in and address the situation by having a candid conversation with your kids about what’s going on. Listen to their concerns and provide suggestions on how they can handle disagreements in a positive manner, without teasing, being spiteful or physical fights.

2. Implement a Family Plan
Establish real consequences, both positive and negative, by creating a family plan that directly addresses the sibling rivalry. The consequences should be levied against all involved in the conflict. For example, everyone loses computer privileges if a shouting match erupts. On the other hand, should the kids go an afternoon without any fighting, they could enjoy family game night as a privilege.

3. Avoid Comparisons
It is normal for siblings to have different personalities and abilities, but comparisons should be avoided at all cost. You don’t want to give your kids the impression that you love one more than the other, or acknowledge the accomplishments of one and ignore the other. Acknowledge your kids worth on an equal level, highlighting and encouraging their talents on an individual basis. 

Sibling conflict should be avoided because it can be toxic. Parents have a responsibility to limit or eliminate sibling rivalry from their household. It is important to promote a warm and close-knit relationship between your kids because it is important to how your kids will transition into their adult relationships. While sibling rivalry is generally inevitable, it can be addressed in every home if parents play their part, establish ways to deal with the conflict and avoid pitting siblings against each other.

Monica Manuel