The Big Book of Parenting Solutions
by Michele Borba Ed. D
Fighting words and actions between brothers and sisters; resentment and competition; constant or intense intermittent friction and hurt feelings; family disharmony due to constant sibling bickering.
Encourage outside friendships. Each sibling needs his own group of friends outside your family. In some cases you may want to be sure that if one child’s friends are coming over, the sibling doesn’t interfere or annoy them. This is especially important for tween.
See it from the other side. Kids often get so caught up in feeling they’re being treated unfairly that they don’t stop to think how the other person might be feeling. So ask, “See it from the other side now. How does your sister feel?” You could also ask, “how would your sister describe what happened?” Some parents even ask each child to describe the conflict in writing from the other sibling’s point of view and then compare the two versions.
Start family meetings. Don’t let animosity build up among siblings. It will only lead to more conflicts and resentment. Instead, provide the opportunity for each child to be able to express his feelings and concerns and work through issues he considers unfair. Family meetings are one way to air differences and talk though siblings’ problems. This is a great time to teach your kids to use the Fair Fighting rules (see the One Simple Solution box below). A fun way to begin the meeting is to have each member say something nice about each other. (Yes, it’s hard at the beginning, but if you keep it up, kids actually start thinking of nice things to say before the meeting.) some families set up a “concern Box” where kids can request a “mediation” with the family member and a parent present to help them work things out. The secret is to find a way for kids to vent their feelings in a healthy way.
ONE SIMPLE SOLUTION
Teach “Fair Fighting Rules” to Help Siblings Solve Conflicts
University of Michigan Medical School: Research shows that siblings will fight more in families where there is no understanding of acceptable ways to solve conflicts. So help your kids learn the four crucial “Fair Fighting Rules” they need to resolve their bickering and keep things FAIR.
F – Focus on facts. Tell your brother or sister what he or she did that bothers you. Stick just o the facts so that you don’t put down the other person and cause hurt feelings.
A – Agree on a fair alternative. No more going to Mom or Dad unless someone is hurt or it’s just too big to solve on your own. Instead, think up options until you can agree on one solution that is fair for both.
I – Use and “I” message to say what’s bothering you. Start the message with “I” and then say what’s bugging you. “I get made when you take my stuff without asking.”
R – Remain Respectful. No name-calling. No put-downs. Take turns listening respectfully to each side without interrupting until you can work things out fairly.