10 Ways to Keep the Peace Between Your Children

Perhaps the greatest gift we can give our children is harmony within the home, but creating peace between siblings isn’t always easy.

Siblings fight, it’s in their nature. They want the same things at the same times and at least one is always convinced that the other has more or better things than they do. While child development experts tell us there is much to be gained by the sibling rivalry experience, there are limits to what our eyes and ears (and hearts) can take. So if you’re looking for simple ways to minimize sibling tensions and increase peace within your home, you’ve come to the right place.

 

  • Glide on the peace train 1 of 11
    10 Ways to Keep the Peace Between Your Children

    In honor of International Peace Day this September 21st, we're offering tried-and-true tips on how to settle arguments and strengthen the bond of unity between siblings because peace begins at home. Let's get started!

  • Define roles 2 of 11
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    If our children are to respect one another's place in the family, each child must first feel secure in their very important place within it. When older siblings feel that their place in the family has been negatively affected by younger siblings, resentments and animosities build. Similarly, when younger siblings feel as if they're constantly being "bossed" around by older siblings, tensions rise. Take the time to reinforce each child's special place in your family and empower them with the confidence that comes from being a part of your special family unit.

     

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  • Establish rules of conduct 3 of 11
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    So many of us expect our children to follow rules of conduct that live only in our imaginations. Establish written rules of conduct within your home and post them in a designated area to serve as an ever-present reminder of what is expected. (And parents, you'll need to abide by these rules too if they're ever to stick.) In time, your family's rules will become second nature, making for an overall more peaceful environment.

     

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  • Consider unifying consequences 4 of 11
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    When family rules of conduct are broken, swift and decisive consequences are in order. But what if those consequences taught your child a lesson while doing a little good at the same time? You'd be interested right? If one child hurts another child for example, a consequence involving doing something nice for that sibling ought to be part of their restitution. Not only will doing something nice allow your child to make their amends through actions, they'll learn to think twice before engaging in negative impulsive behaviors.

     

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  • Family meetings 5 of 11
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    Family meetings are more than just a way to hash out problems; they're a great way to connect. And while regular family meetings may sound like a bit of a drag, there's nothing that says they can't be fun! Liven up your family meetings with tasty treats the whole family will enjoy! And because your family is nothing less than a team and every team needs a mascot, enlist your kids' help in selecting a stuffed animal to serve as yours. If you're wondering why all the fuss with a family mascot, allow me to explain: the purpose of your family meeting is to give every member a voice to discuss individual challenges and together come up with creative solutions. One of the best ways to facilitate listening and respect for each other's voice is through the family mascot. Whoever's turn it is to speak holds the family mascot as a symbol that they have the floor, serving as a visual cue to others to listen. Only after that family member is finished talking, does the mascot move on to the next member until every person has had an opportunity to speak.

     

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  • Mottos and catchphrases 6 of 11
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    There's no question that sibling relationships can be challenging. Heck, even we as adults have issues with our siblings from time to time. So when sibling tensions rise and emotions run raw, a comforting and familiar family motto or catchphrase can really come in handy. It can be something as simple as "My family isn't perfect, but I love them" or "Brothers are best friends," but whatever the motto or catchphrase, keep it short and easy to remember. Parents, make sure your kids catch you using the family motto in times of high stress, too!

     

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Designated alone time 7 of 11
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    Sometimes kids need a little time to themselves, away from the faces, places, and stressors of their shared environment, so designate a certain time of day for your children to play alone. When your kids know they have a regular break scheduled from the challenges of their sibling relationship, they'll be better able to handle the inevitable confrontations that arise. Oh, and missing each other a little bit doesn't hurt either!

     

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  • Shared activity time 8 of 11
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    Sure, your kids are together all the time, but are they together in an environment that promotes team building? Maybe not. With a little planning and parental supervision, your kids can begin to build a relationship built on trust and mutual pride. Begin by establishing an activity your kids can engage in together for 20 minutes — perhaps each child creates a personal pizza, for example. Slowly over time, increase the amount of time your children spend together engaging in new and beneficial experiences throughout the home. By leveling the experience playing field, older siblings and younger siblings must work together to achieve a common goal, such as preparing a simple family meal under your careful supervision. This idea can be tailored to work in nearly every room of your house, from teaching them how to fold their own laundry to having them fold the family's laundry — together. Not only will these exercises teach your children necessary life skills, they'll be performing tasks together that benefit the entire family.

     

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  • Community toys 9 of 11
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    While there's something to be said for learning to share personal toys with siblings, there's also a lot to be learned from community ownership. Consider investing in toys that belong to everybody and exist in neutral territory within your home. If your children want to play with community toys, they'll need to do it in a way that promotes fairness and good faith.

      

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  • Trading places 10 of 11
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    One of the greatest things I ever did for my fighting sons was forcing them to spend 24 hours in each other's rooms. Oh, how they objected! I was just so tired of them fighting over not wanting to share their space or their things that I pulled a Freaky Friday on them and imposed a mandatory switcho-chango. Not only did they each get jealous of the other playing with their toys and invading their space, they learned to love and appreciate their own things again!

     

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  • Special time with parent(s) 11 of 11
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    "Dates" with one or both parents is a special and fun way to give your children the spark of individual attention they need and deserve. While dates with mom and/or dad are most certainly fun, your child will benefit from the welcome break from their sibling(s) and the opportunity to talk candidly about challenges they are facing.

     

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