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6 Ways to Squelch Sibling Squabbles

July 25th, 2017
Lisa L.
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6 Ways to Squelch Sibling Squabbles
Whether it happens at home or on the go, it's discouraging when your children squabble. Sibling warfare can push a parent to squeak out silly threats like, "Stop it right now, or you’ll both stay in your room for a week!"

But don’t lose your cool. Conflict between siblings is the perfect time to teach children how to get along with difficult people and situations. Instead of getting frustrated, grab hold of one of these creative strategies:

1. Listen to both sides of the crisis. Don’t allow interruptions. Then leave them with this: "Thank you. Now, you both have ten minutes to make things right with each other. If you do, you can continue playing. If you don’t, you will both get an extra chore to do."

2. Do you hear complaints that he got more chocolate, or she got a bigger piece of pie? This is your signal to remove the treat altogether. It usually prevents further complaining.

3. When siblings fight in public, leave--if possible. Go to a quiet place to deal with it. If they fight over a toy or a treat, exit without it. Never give in to whiners and squabblers.

4. "I’m sorry," is just too easy. It leaves us wondering if he is sad that he hurt his brother OR just sorry that he got caught. When your child says, "I broke your toy and that was mean. Would you forgive me?" it reminds him of how he was unkind. It’s humbling, but it puts the offence right out there.

5. Do you have bossy kids? Try this response: "I can see I have an extra mum around here. Since you want to tell your brother what to do, you can fold his laundry for him, too."

6. Sometimes, you must ignore minor quarrels. If the children aren’t drawing blood, let it play out for a while. If the strife continues, "reward" them with work. "You have been fighting on and off for the past hour. It makes me realise that you aren’t happy playing together. So, maybe some work will make you happy. After that, you can try playing nicely again."

Finally, YOU know your children best! You will think of other fitting rewards and consequences.

Praise the good you see, and obviously, never reward bad behaviour.

Remember that children copy what they see. That doesn’t mean you must be a perfect parent, but when you take responsibility for your own mistakes, they will catch on too.

If you have a creative idea for dealing with sibling squabbles, please share with us below!

Lisa x

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