Sibling Conflict – How to Stop Children Fighting
Fighting between siblings is an unavoidable part of the parenting landscape. Kids are naturally competitive and this competitiveness can be expressed in a variety of forms, like noisy disputes and physical scrapping.
Children have no experience in conflict resolution, so they need to be taught that yelling and striking are not the most appropriate methods to get what they want. However, it can be hard to decide whether to always step in, or ignore the situation during sibling conflicts.
One philosophy is to just let the kids sort themselves out. Sometimes this is a valid approach as it gives the children a chance to figure things out. A parent’s options in this case are to either go somewhere else while the kids argue, make the kids go elsewhere, or just stay put and ignore them.
If you decide intervention is the best strategy, the earlier you step in, the better. Your aim should be to resolve the problem, rather than be the referee in a game of bickering, or trying to establish who was the instigator of the argument.
Here are some intervention strategies for conflicts between children:
Distraction and redirection – give one child something else to do that keeps them occupied.
Give an explanation of the outcomes when a child harms or offends another child. While children can learn through experience, sometimes an explanation of the consequences can help them make the association in their own mind. For example “Jimmy is crying because you took his toy without asking”.
Give them some assistance with handling problems. For example “go play outside if your brother is bothering you “.
Time out in a specified place, such as the bedroom, can help kids calm down.
If your child has hurt another child they should be taken away and have it emphasised to them that it is wrong to hurt someone else.