When you check social media, you see siblings who always have each other’s back and doing cute, funny things together. The situation in your house could, however, not be different. Your kids seem to fight all the time and have turned you into a referee.
Disagreements may be unwelcomed, but they aren’t always a bad thing. In fact, Anne Graham, a child and adult psychologist in Apohaqui, NB, says, “These disagreements can provide an arena for learning about conflict resolution that will help them later in life.”
So, how can you help your kids work through their differences and live in harmony?
Know when to respond
When your kids are bickering, it seems like an easier option to help solve the conflict so the shouting can stop. However, butting in isn’t always the solution because it teaches your kids to ask for your help each time there is a problem. Instead, listen in on their conversation and see if your help is needed or whether they can solve the problem without you. However, if someone is getting hurt, whether physically or verbally, step in immediately.
Teach kids how to express themselves
Kids have a lot to say, whether they are annoyed or calm. The best time to teach self-expression, however, is when kids are calm. Interact with them and teach them to name their emotions and say exactly how a situation makes them feel. “I also encourage them to talk when they are calm and relaxed, so they can use those skills when they’re stressed,” says Graham
Respect each child’s anatomy
Everyone is different, and in a world full of labels, it’s easy to label who’s more athletic, musical, etc. However, this only increases rivalry as your children fight to beat each other and get a better label. When you respect their anatomy, things change. Graham says: “It develops their independence, allowing them to learn to play on their own, and gives them time to be quiet and regulate their emotions.”
Give each child your attention
No, not when they ask you a question or bug you, but a time they get to spend with you. Schedule it in and let your child know when they get special time. This is a time when you give them your undivided attention and learn who they are, their preferences, and dislike.
Keep your emotions in check
In the heat of an argument, it’s easy for you to but in guns blazing. But this only teaches your kids that aggression is ok, and thus, they continue fighting. Remember, kids’ do what you do, not what you tell them to do. Before you blow up, take a deep breath and deal with your own frustrations first. This helps your kids see how you cope, and they can emulate you.
Kids need a neutral party, someone stable who has their back. Being neutral is the security your kid needs, so don’t pick sides. Also, you are a role model. So how you respond during sibling fights will highly determine how your kids react.
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