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Keeping the peace with siblings

November 9th, 2019
Keeping the peace with siblings
Being your children's referee can be tiresome and listening to them squabbling all day certainly takes the shine off things! Whilst you realise that they don't have to be best friends just because they are related, wouldn't it be lovely if you could all make it through the day without a single tiff!

In reality, all the squabbles that take place during the day are teaching your children how to resolve conflict – promise me! The trouble is that whilst this is one of life's big lessons, they are going to need some guidance along the way from you and this isn't always easy.

One of the big keys to success and one of the hardest things to do is to keep calm in such situations – really calm. We are all guilty of having yelled at our children to keep quiet and to stop squabbling, but this is far from ideal! Try and keep cool, calm and impartial throughout. Getting cross is sending the wrong messages to your child when they are uptight and mad, as you getting mad with them can lead them to feel insecure and anxious because as their parent, you are 'their rock' however they are feeling.
If your children are squabbling, don't intervene, but monitor the situation as they do have to learn how to handle conflict. If the situation gets physical or horrible things are being said, then do step in but very carefully. Let your children know that negative emotions such as anger and jealousy are perfectly acceptable, but that it isn't acceptable to throw toys or hit each other. Get your child to explain to you why he/she is feeling so cross - it usually comes down to not wanting to share something! With this knowledge you can teach your children how to successfully share by encouraging them to resolve the situation and suggesting remedies that could help.

Whilst this might have successfully deflated the situation on this occasion, this lesson is going to have to be repeated often. If you find that having intervened the situation has not been resolved, it calls for a change of tactic so suggest a short walk, a book to read or some craft work to change the tempo.
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In such difficult moments it is worth reinforcing the importance of the family unit and how special it is to have a sibling. Jealousy between siblings is often the root cause of tension because they each want your love and approval. When the tensions have eased it is also good to put a positive spin on things and praising each child when they do something nice for their sibling such as fetching a drink or holding their hand.

Tell each of your children individually how much you love them every day. It can also be beneficial to give each child some individual attention (without interruptions) for 15-20 minutes each day if possible, as this helps minimise jealousy. Let them choose what they would like to do in 'their' time be it read a book, share some colouring or going out on their bicycle makes them feel good.
Unfortunately, there will be regular tiffs between young siblings because they are unlikely to have the same characters and because they are vying for your love and attention. One solution to the problem that works surprisingly well is to simply hug each of them close to you for a few moments.

Try to treat each child individually at all times and try not to spark competition between them by comparing them. If you want them to do something, ask them nicely, but don't add a phrase that implies 'because your brother/sister has already done so.'

When you praise your child, do so without comparing them to their sibling as it is important that they feel that they have won your approval purely on their own merit.

With love, patience and plenty of praise for their good actions, you will find that slowly but surely you will enjoy the calm squabble-free day you dreamed of.....

Chrissie x

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