5 ways to help reduce or even stop sibling fights

When our children fight it causes a lot of tension in the house. Here are a few tips to help reduce or stop the fights.

There was a moment on Saturday after the funeral of HRH Prince Phillip when Princes Harry and William walked together up the hill.  There has been much speculation that this could be the start of a reconciliation between the brothers.  And I really hope that it is.

While we will never know the actual truth behind all the speculation, when siblings fight, it causes a lot of anger, frustration, and sadness within a family.  It is also incredibly tiresome for everyone involved and family rifts are never fun. 

If we have learnt anything during the last 12 months, it is that life can change in a moment and connection with family is incredibly important.

Sibling fighting is one of the behaviours parents and I talk about a lot. Discuss ways to stop or reduce the fighting is their number one aim.

So let’s look at some strategies for what you can do with your children if you are facing this.

  1. 1. Look after each child’s needs.

Simply put, if children feel that they are not loved and valued equally, then this will cause conflict. 

Spending quality time with each child regularly is important. It doesn’t have to be expensive.  A walk together or spending time doing something that they love, like colouring or talking about their favourite thing.  Anything that centres just around them during that time.

The power of hugs and I love yous goes a long way to looking after your childs individual needs.  We all love to be loved.  So making sure that they know this and are told this frequently will help build up self esteem and self worth.  And hugs are just the best! 

No One likes to be compared to someone else.  It makes us feel like we aren’t achieving and can cause resentment towards the other person. 

  1. 2. Set up a family charter

At the beginning of each school year, I use to set up the class charter with my kids.  We would set out what was acceptable behaviour for being a member of our class.

They were phrased in a positive way, so not We don’t, or I don’t statements weren’t used, rather In this class we….so to adapt it to home, In this house we…

By involving the children in making up these ‘rules’ it gave them ownership of the expectations.  And they were eagle eyed to make sure everyone followed the charter.

We also set up the consequences that happened if one of the ‘rules’ were broken.  This was always the fun bit as children always come up with the most extreme and way consequences.  It was always a time where we laughed a lot and sometimes had to vote if the stocks was really the right consequence for the modern day!

All the children then signed the charter and it was displayed with pride at the front of the classroom.

And this is simple to replicate at home.  It allows you all to agree on what is acceptable behaviour and what the consequences are.  And when things go a bit haywire, you can refer back to that charter and say something like, Hey Frank, what does number 7 say?  Would you say you are doing that right about now?

  1. 3. Catch them being good.

Sometimes we fall into the trap of feeling like we are being negative towards our children all of the time.  To avoid that and a great way to boost their self esteem is to catch them being good.

A simple, well done buddy for putting your shoes away, or high five for speaking nicely to your sister, goes a long way to helping stop the arguments.  Children will seek out attention, and whether that is positive or negative is irrelevant.  So if they learn to fight to get your attention, then they will continue with this behaviour.  By catching them being good creates a positive environment and therefore it is far more likely they will do more of that to get your attention.

  1. 4. Be a good role model.

If you are fighting or shouting in the way that you communicated with your children or significant other, then that is what your children see, and think is acceptable. 

If we want our children to talk softly, then we must model this behaviour.

If we want our children to apologise, then we must model this to them.  Show them that no one is above an apology.

We are the first teachers of our children and we hard wire a lot of what they believe to be ‘normal’ family behavours by the time they are 7. 

So as Gandhi said Be the change you want to see.  

  1. 5. Identify fighting hot spots and cool them down.

Boredom is often the cause of fights.  Children only have a limited attention span and even with all the toys in the world, they will get bored.  Listen out for the tell tale signs of boredom started.  A raised voice.  A whinge.  Someone begging the other to listen to them or give the toy back. 

This may signal it is time for you to jump in with a distraction. 

These are just a few ways that you can help reduce sibling fighting.  For more conversation about behaviour and strategies that can be used to help come and join our Facebook group, The Mums HQ, click here to join.