Stop Sibling Rivalry in its Tracks
We’ve all been there. Your home is peaceful and happy one minute, then the next it’s an all-out war zone.
Sibling rivalry is an age-old problem that’s never completely going to go away. If you’ve looked into the subject much, you’ve probably come across the advice to avoid taking sides. So how do you keep the peace without having to be the judge and jury? How can you mediate the fights between your kids without becoming the enemy?
Stop Sibling Rivalry in its Tracks Without Taking Sides
Here are some things that (on a good day, mind you) work for me:
- Blame the object. “Uh oh!” you say, “it looks like the toy is making us fight. The toy has to go away now.” No warnings, just take the sucker away.
- Blame everybody. If the kids demand justice, go ahead and administer justice… to both of them. The script can go something like this: “I see some mean stuff going on in this room and I don’t like it. I think we’re going to have to clean the bathroom while we think about better ways to behave.” If they protest, let this be your mantra: “It doesn’t matter whose fault it was, all that matters is what we do now.”
- Blame something else. Sometimes it helps to blame an outside factor, such as “This behavior makes me think that maybe you’re tired… we’ve watched too much TV… you need a snack.” Often you’ll discover that those things are actually true. And even if they’re not, the distraction is usually enough to stop the madness.
- Try selective deafness. You might say something like, “I can’t hear you because all I hear is fighting. Let me know when you’re ready to talk like big kids.”
- Divide and Conquer. Your little fighters have to be taken to their separate corners before they can regroup and think about things more reasonably. Give them some space from each other and a second to cool down before you talk things out.
And hey, whatever you do, please don’t beat yourself up about all of this. Kids fight. It happens. It does not make you a bad parent. I’m sure you assume that the craziness that goes down in your house isn’t happening at your neighbors’ or your cousin’s or your favorite blogger’s house, but… let’s be honest. It probably does. And that’s okay. After all...
We’re all just doing the best we can here. But a peaceful home? Now that’s worth fighting for.
Photo Credit: © Aksakalko
How do you deal with sibling rivalry? Share it in the comments!
Brittany Bullen is a former preschool teacher, mom to three boys, a playwright, a performer, a thrifter and an aspiring vegan. She writes for brittanybullen.com and crowdserve.org. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Bloglovin and Twitter.