10 Ways To Squash Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry
Sibling rivalry

Sibling rivalry. Everyone who has more than one kid in their home knows that the joys of growing up with another child are counterbalanced by the challenges of having to share your stuff, your space and your parents.

Kids fight. My kids have fought over who stole whose boogers, who gets to have the first shot at the doctor’s office, and who has to ride in the wayback of our van. Once, they even fought in their sleep.

Sibling rivalry is so common that when our editor passed along a link to BreezyMama’s great post on how to stop sibling fights, there was a little rivalry on our blog staff about who got to do this story (thanks, Madeline, I owe you!).

Her top ten list is awesome, and you should go read them all. Here are some highlights, with my own ideas thrown in:

  1. Divide and Conquer: spending time alone with each kid helps strengthen your bonds with them, and eases the pressure on their relationships with each other. My husband and I have been doing this lately and it is awesome. We’re all happier for having a few hours a week alone with each of the kids.
  2. Make the kids work it out. Don’t solve conflicts for your kids. Instead, teach them how to work it out together. It’s more time consuming and frustrating when you start, but pretty soon you’ll have kids who know how to play peacefully together. They’ll be able to use their inevitable fights to build stronger relationships. As a bonus, you’ll spend less time overseeing kindergarten court cases about who snatched whose Polly Pocket doll.
  3. Have a plan for the car. BreezyMama has lots of great, specific tips in her article. I am pulling this one out because it is the one I struggle with most. She suggests: tell the kids you will pull over as soon as they start fighting, because it is not safe to drive when there’s a fight going on in the backseat. Then, as soon as they start fighting, pull over and patiently wait for them to stop. I am totally adopting this strategy, as it sure beats my, “listen to loud folk music and pray they’ll cut it out” approach.

What are your best methods for stopping sibling battles?

Photo: Aislinn Ritchie

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