These four words are enough to make parents want to stick their heads in a bag of Doritos and lock themselves into the kitchen pantry away from the chaos also known as children.
Sure, we love our kids dearly. But, no matter how sweet, loving, and wonderful they are, the constant back and forth of “Timmy did this” or “Sally did that” is enough to drive any parent insane.
And if you have intense children–perhaps a child with ADHD, Autism, or giftedness–you know the challenge of taming sibling rivalry and breaking up fights is only escalated.
This is why it’s super important to have strategies on hand to help your kids resolve conflicts–without the tears and screaming. (Ahem! This includes parents, too!)
If you’re not sure where to even begin with putting an end to sibling rivalry and conflict, never fear…your Mad2Glad Parent Coach is here!
Today, I’m going to share with you a role-play video that a Mad2Glad parent client sent me that beautifully demonstrates our solution to helping kids resolve conflict. As you can imagine, her kids are excited at the prospect of being seen by you, which makes them “famous.”
Along with the video, I’ll also be sharing a few tips from articles I’ve written in the past, which may give you some much-needed relief.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in…
Sibling Conflict Resolution Technique
As promised, here is the role-play video I wanted to share with you on sibling conflict resolution. It works well for kids ages 5 and up, but can be modified for younger children.
I just love how it demonstrates a simple and easy-to-implement strategy for getting your kids to talk through conflict so they don’t rely on you to fix everything for them.
Isn’t that neat?
The best part…it’s so easy to follow that even your kids themselves can memorize and learn to use this strategy.
Model this conflict resolution strategy enough times, and who knows…your kids could eventually resolve their own conflicts without having to involve you.
Shifting Sibling Rivalry to Love and Respect
When you have a child who is demanding, inflexible, and impulsive, it becomes the perfect cocktail for sibling rivalry.
But here’s the thing…
Children can learn to handle stressful sibling situations on their own. How? They simply need skill training to develop this gift.
Watch this video to learn the step-by-step method for teaching your kids to handle stressful sibling situations…
To see a recap of everything I talked about in this video, I encourage you to head over to the full blog post here.
Strategies for Sibling Conflict Resolution
The last thing you want to experience after a long day of stay-at-home parenting work or office work is your precious children screaming, yelling, and fighting.
Am I right, mom or dad?
Despite what that angelic picture of your children posing lovingly with their arms around each other on your Facebook profile portrays, the reality is that no sibling relationship is perfect.
While it’s not a behavior that’s to be encouraged, it’s actually natural for brothers and sisters to fight from time to time.
Depending on how your children’s brains are wired, such as a tendency toward intensity and being in control, some are going to fight, bicker, and scream at each other more often than others.
The more harmonious child who wants to please is not wired that way.
If you feel as though your children are fighting with each other more often than they are being kind and respectful, I have good news for you.
Constant fighting and sibling rivalry doesn’t mean your children hate each other. In fact, two siblings could deeply care about each other yet still antagonize and drive each other crazy every single day.
The reason that the screaming, taunting, and hair pulling occurs is most likely due to your child’s lack of skills.
Sibling rivalry is often a result of poor emotional coping skills, communication skills, and self-regulation skills, which are super important when a brother or sister is driving a sibling nuts.
Lack of these skills is very common in children with ADHD, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, or Giftedness.
That’s because these children’s brains tend to be wired as less flexible, more demanding, and more impulsive. These tendencies themselves generate aggressive responses from both the agitated child and the agitator.
If this sounds like your situation, and you’re feeling overwhelmed, I have the solution for you.
Correcting aggressive behavior between your children begins with developing skills.
You can teach your children how to appropriately interact with each other in a way that’s calm and respectful, and solves problems.
Here are Three Ways to Stop Siblings from Fighting, Yelling, and Hurting:
- Teach your child to express his or her feelings – Many children don’t take the time to tell their siblings that they feel angry, hurt, sad, etc. Teaching your child to say something like “I’m sad. I don’t like it when you take my doll,” is a great way to help her communicate to her sibling and develop independence in using her voice (extra important for times when you aren’t there to step in and help!).
- Teach Your Child About Second Chances – Billy may have knocked down Timmy’s block tower–a very legitimate reason for Timmy to be upset. In this situation, teach Timmy to ask Billy to help make it better by rebuilding the tower. Instead of fighting, this gives Billy and Timmy an opportunity to work together as a team to make the problem better. As a parent, you can support this by entering the room and saying, “You have one chance to work this out together so that you can keep playing. If you don’t, you’ll need to take 10 minutes alone, and then you can try again.”
- Calmly Step In to Help Diffuse the Situation – There are going to be occasions where separating siblings is the best thing you can do to interrupt the bad behavior pattern. Discuss this at a family meeting so your children hear that “in our home, we play nicely with each other.” Be consistent with this rule.
Teaching Kindness So Older Siblings Are Nicer
Teaching kids how to be kind and to get along is tough! And if you have questions on how to help your kids get along, you’re certainly not the only parent.
Take a minute and listen to these questions that come from Anka, a mother of a 4-year-old and 2-year-old.
Here are some take-away nuggets I want you to think about.
There are Proactive and Reactive approaches…
- Teach kids values by identifying your Top 5 Family Values.
- Discuss with your child what it means/looks like to have those values.“What does it mean to be kind to each other?”
- Catch success! Acknowledge when your child is demonstrating your Family Values. “You were so kind when you let Anna pick the game.”
- Reflect! “What did you do today that was kind?”
- Set an intention. “What can we do to be kind today?”
- Family Rules will have already been established. You should have a rule about how to treat siblings (i.e., “no teasing”).
- Once the rule has been established, follow through with consequence: “You broke a rule, take a break.”
- Newscaster reporting after the moment of infraction: “Remember when [you pulled Anna’s hair]? How did you feel inside?”
- By using these techniques, you are teaching your children the values and skills they need to get along with others and, most importantly, bringing more peace and joy into your home!
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Wishing you a house full of peace, quiet, and fewer “Mom, she’s making me mad because she’s looking at me” moments!