We love our children, and we love to see them get along with their siblings at all times. However, this is not a possibility, since it’s the nature of siblings to fight with one another…sometimes, constantly and over the smallest of details. It’s tough to play referee between them, and sometimes it’s a little messy. I have some ideas to help sibling conflict. Teach them to negotiate resolutions while maintaining a little bit of your sanity.
Let Them Work It Out Alone
Yeah, this is the “hands off” approach, but that doesn’t imply that you don’t care or pay attention. In fact, this is when you finally get to use your highly developed spy techniques for good. Eavesdrop on what they are saying, how they are saying it and noting the different approaches each of them takes in order to work through a conflict. Don’t jump in just to keep the peace immediately, but, rather, let them take the journey to its conclusion on their own. There are many lessons they can learn from this process, and you may even pick up a tip or two along the way. They are often more in tune with their real emotions, where we adults are trained and conditioned to react one way or another, so allow the purity of their opinions and processes work themselves out. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Be a Mediator, Not a Dictator
It does no one any good to jump in the middle of a disagreement between young siblings and begin to dictate how they should act, respond or where they need to go in order to calm things down. This only puts up a speed bump (at best) in the middle of things, and may even create a worse situation by forcing them to clam up and just stew on the situation instead of working through it. Instead, remain calm and the voice of reason between them as you attempt to lobby for both sides. Ask questions of each of them to help them both to see the other side of the argument. As you go along, create a path for each of them to take that will allow for a compromise and a full understanding of where the other sibling is coming from. Yes, this takes a great deal of time and even more patience, but the end result is worth it. This is a learning and bonding moment for all of you. Don’t let it pass you by.
Find the Humor
Humor is the best medicine for almost every situation in life. Many sibling disagreements come from things that we may consider to be “childish” or insignificant – to us. However, to our children, this is a monumental deal, so don’t treat it with disdain or disrespect. You may use humor, not in a sarcastic manner, but in a way to help alleviate the tension enough that things may be able to be talked about in a calmer manner. Lift the tension even a little, and words will become gentler and far more productive than in the heat of anger.
It’s all about bringing understanding, so find a route that works for all parties that build up instead of tearing down. It’s a simple thing to do, but not always easy. However, all the hard work is worth seeing your children find ways to work together and create a life-long bond that no one will be able to break.
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