It is great to have siblings.
You have someone to grow up and to play with.
However, we do know things are not always rosy between the siblings and they do squabble and fight with each other.
They can be lovey dovey one moment and the next fighting like cats and dogs.
It can be extremely tiring having to play referee and constantly mediating quarrels.
If only they are able to be nice to each other most of the time instead of getting on each other’s throats.
There is always an “aggressor” and a “victim” in squabbles, and the way the victim reacts is by screaming/complaining or even hitting back.
Here’s how I deal with my kids when they fight.
1. Find out the reason behind the squabble
It is easy to jump to conclusions that the non-crying party is the aggressor while the crying party is the victim.
Although this may be true in most cases, I have also experienced the opposite with my kids. One of them ends up crying as he didn’t get his way in manipulating his sibling.
2. Teach them other ways to expressing feelings
As kids, they do not know how to express themselves well.
The only thing that they have learned so far is to cry, scream or hit out at the moment.
Teach them the words that they can use and how to express themselves properly so that they will be understood by others.
Ex: ” I am unhappy/sad because of what you have said.”
3. Practice patience
Many squabbles start because of intolerance.
Learning to take turns and being tolerant of others are things which the kids need to learn. Everyone’s needs are different and are at different stages of growing up.
By modeling patience and teaching your kid how he can be tolerant with his siblings, it will help improve his relationship with them.
4. Positive reinforcement
It is important to highlight the behaviours which you like your child to display.
Ex: Being gentle with his younger siblings, helping out with the family chores, etc.
A simple acknowledgement of your child behaving himself or giving him a small reward does wonders in getting him to repeat the said behaviour.
5. Let them settle among themselves
If I deem the issue too trivial I will let them settle it among themselves.
I will not be able to be there to mediate over every single disagreement which they have with their siblings.
It is best they learn how to settle their own issues with their siblings and work out any problems which they might have.
What do you do when your kids fight?
Dominique Goh, Singaporean elementary school teacher, freelance writer and mom of three who is passionate about parenting and educating kids. In her free time you can see her dabbling in photography, cooking and cake decorating and blogging at Dominique’s Desk.