Effective Sibling Conflict Resolution Strategies
There is always going to be sibling rivalry whether you have 2 children or 10 children. The more children you have, the more sibling rivalry parents are going to have to cope with. All kids want to be heard and all of them are competitive. There are some that get stuck in the middle and feel insecure or too dependent. If you have a large family it’s important that you make sure all your children are independent and can do small tasks and get dressed and ready without too much help. You might think everything is fine until your kids get to school and the teacher tells you at conference time that your child wants everyone else to do their work or needs too much help dressing. Also, there are some kids that suffer from agoraphobia that live in big families because they always shared a room with a sibling and never were alone. They never learned how to compete and it’s important that you are in touch with all of your children’s personalities and have effective strategies for conflicts.
Parents become extremely tired when kids are always fighting. They don’t understand why they can’t have one day of peace with everyone in the house. They strive to provide a loving and supportive environment and are hitting a dead end. Parents start to worry because eventually these kids will grow up and they worry that these behaviors will carry on into their adult lives. Parents start to feel helpless and overwhelmed with this constant bickering with their kids. Parents are tired too because both usually work so many are looking for a way to resolve this problem. The key is you both have to be on the same page and be a team to enforce the rules and strategies.
Parents count on the older children to watch over the younger ones after school, and with constant teasing, bickering and yelling, parents worry about things getting out of control if they aren’t home. Parents worry these behaviors will cause their kids to become bullies, carry the fighting into their adult lives, lack care for humankind, lack compassion and worry someone will be seriously injured when they are not at home.
Types of sibling rivalry
There are different types of sibling rivalry and parents are amazed at how ugly and mean things can get between their children who are supposed to love each other. All kids are going to get angry at each other at one time or another and start name calling, telling on each other, hitting, hiding stuff, wearing someone’s clothes and the list goes on. These tactics may seem familiar to you if you had a sibling or siblings.
Your parents probably even told you that they couldn’t wait until you had kids so you could see how you treated them.
Face it, fighting and yelling and kids, in general, get on all parents nerves from time to time.
Parents start to feel overwhelmed because they are always playing referee when they are tired and bedtime especially becomes a nightmare. Some parents have even put a chair between the few bedrooms and sat there until the kids were all quiet and went to sleep.
Why do your kids fight? Parents often wonder why and here are a few reasons. They feel that negative attention is better than no attention at all. Kids also want to get a rise out of someone and be heard. Some kids are bored and have excess energy they are burning off so limit the sugar. In addition, some kids feel like mom and dad favor the good ones but the best thing to say to them if they feel that way is to tell them you love all of them the same but you don’t always like their behavior. You can tell them you like the one that is behaving the best at the moment and maybe they will have something to think about. In addition, some kids just decide to ban together to get you angry because they feel you work too much. There are many things that go on in a child’s mind.
If your kids are feeling they don’t get enough attention then help them set some positive goals and make sure you work together to meet these goals. Kids learn from fighting, believe it or not. They might feel comfortable venting at home and you hear positive comments from the neighbors about what a wonderful and close family you have. Parents are often stunned by this remark but it’s true. You know you are doing something right if your children know how to behave in public and respect others. Your kids are learning how to stay in charge, learning how to master these conflicts because they do makeup with each other and often without you around. Kids also learn how to stick up for themselves and use negotiation skills.
There are great outcomes from sibling rivalry but parents still wonder why they had so many children at times. There was a time when you both were expecting that your expectations were about a loving family without strife, a family that shared, a family that was a team and didn’t try and gets you mad, and kids that could be left alone without causing bodily harm.
The teen years can be really challenging when you have 3 or 4 teens in the house because this is where you are really going to wonder where you went wrong. Life happens and your spouse could pass away leaving you with a bunch of teenagers dealing with grief on top of the confusion of being a teen. If you think these were going to be the easy years, you are wrong. Teens need their parents more than ever. Babies have different needs but a confused teen with one parent needs to be reassured so make sure you are home enough to help resolve conflicts. If you can’t be home, have a neighbor help or an older responsible caregiver.
You are going to face some sadness about the reality of teens and kids fighting but it’s better to accept this fact and put yourself in a position of strength and discipline. Kids of all ages need discipline or they think you don’t care. Once you have a solid plan for managing these conflicts, your fantasy will become a true reality and you will have mastered your own emotions to control these situations. Here are some tips to help you with sibling rivalry.
Understand their personalities because they are all unique. Each child has different needs and feelings.
Never compare your children to one another because you are only going to lower their self-esteem and create more problems.
Never lose your cool, once you start yelling and swearing or hitting, you have lost control.
Children are always going to use the “but this isn’t a fair tactic.” Teach them that sometimes life isn’t always fair but they still have to accept the consequences if they were the instigator.
Create a good list of rules for your family and tell them the world doesn’t always revolve around them and they have to get with the program and follow the rules. Try to teach them to work out their differences with each other in a kind way or here is the list of consequences.
Don’t pick any child to punish unless you have absolute proof that the child committed the crime. Let the kids work out their own issues.
Don’t play referee and enforce the list of rules instead. The fact is parents are the ones who chose to have more than one child so they are responsible for typical behavior from kids about who started the argument.
You can’t force everyone to like each other. There are many siblings who grow apart and don’t keep in touch when they are older. Don’t encourage that behavior for your children as siblings but teach them about the special bond a brother and sister can have.
If worse comes to worst, you can still go to counseling as a family if you can’t keep everything under control. You might be surprised and find out that you don’t need as much help as you think you did.
Remember there are a lot of components that need to be taken into account about conflict resolution for sibling rivalry. There is the birth order of your children to be considered. The oldest child is always the experimental child because this is your first born and you have more expectations from them. This is also your first experience as a parent so take that into consideration when having children. The order of 1st, 2nd and 3rd and so on makes a big difference and how far apart they are in age. Some siblings are over 20 years older than the youngest sibling so parents feel like they have raised a few different families if they had there children in different spurts. Some families have raised children for over 4 decades and times change and so do you as parents so take that into consideration when you try and come up with conflict resolution strategies. Kids can be 40 and still have differences with their 21-year-old brother or sister.