Stop Sibling Rivalry in its Tracks

parentingages and stages

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?

from MomItForward #parentingtips #siblings

Stop Sibling Rivalry in its Tracks Without Taking Sides

Here are some things that (on a good day, mind you) work for me:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.”
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.

from "How to Keep the Peace Between Siblings" #parentingtips #siblings

Photo Credit: © Aksakalko 

How do you deal with sibling rivalry? Share it in the comments!

Screenshot 2014-04-16 at 3.02.49 PM

Brittany Bullen is a former preschool teacher, mom to three boys, a playwright, a performer, a thrifter and an aspiring vegan. She writes for and  You can also find her on Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Bloglovin and Twitter.


The following two tabs change content below.


Latest posts by brittanybullen (see all)


4 responses to “Stop Sibling Rivalry in its Tracks”

  1. Brittany says:

    Jill, thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to post this here! What a great community.

  2. ailynk says:

    my grandparents used to whoop all our asses… makes us fight quietly… but not any less

  3. Susan Carroll says:

    These ideas are great and they work very well for younger children. Older ones seldom fight about objects ( who the heck knows what they are fighting about!) and will not stay in time out or separate locations. I found that the best way to deal with older combatants was to send them outdoors dressed as however they are. (well, push them outdoors) and lock them out. They can come back in when they can get along. It is amazing how they will start playing nicely outside (more air I think) Or how quickly they will be nice because outside in bare feet on a snowy day is just COLD. This is for older kids, 8 and up and after a time or two, they learn to pay attention to one warning.

  4. sooo hard to deal with, right!? Loved the article! 🙂 We usually use divide and conquer or I take the object away 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Web Statistics