Calm Those Quarreling Kids, Build Stronger Bonds
"She hit me!" "He's bothering me!" Scream. Bicker. Scream. Cry. If this sounds anything like your house, then you probably have more than one child. Sibling rivalry can be attributed to many different things including jealousy, evolving needs and different temperaments, according to KidsHealth.org. But even though it might be a normal part of growing up, it can sometimes be grating on parents' nerves.
But, there's hope for your children who just can't seem to get along. Here are some suggestions for easing the tension in the toy room and allowing your little ones to see how much fun it can be to have a brother or sister.
It is easy to react negatively and hastily when your children run screaming and crying to you, spouting off different sides of the same story, and blaming each other for the trouble between them. Your first reaction might be to yell at the child you think might be to blame, but that will only create more anger and jealousy.
Instead, try being empathetic to your children's feelings about the situation. If one child says, "he took my favorite ball," then try saying something like, "I'm sorry that happened. I bet that made you sad and angry." Then, you can address why the first child took the ball without trying to decipher two conversations at once.
Spend time with your children individually
While this might be especially difficult for parents with multiple children, it doesn't have to be. You don't have to plan an entire day of activities. Just take one child outside and throw a ball around, have a tea party in your child's bedroom, or take a walk and play "I Spy". Not only will this help to ease tensions between your rivaling children, but it will give you a chance to build a stronger relationship and invest in them as individuals.
Correct them in unique ways
It is important to find creative solutions to solve bickering between siblings. "Time out" or taking away a toy might not always work to create stronger bonds and less fighting between brothers and sisters. Try coming up with some ways to correct their behavior that will not only teach them a lesson, but will foster a closer relationship between them.
One mom uses a method that squelches "put-downs"
and makes them "put-ups." When one child says something negative to the other like "you're mean," she quickly makes them say three nice things about their sibling. Genius.
Another mom makes her children hold hands and face each other
for several minutes or until they can apologize and hug.
Set a good example
If you want your children to keep their cool when someone has wronged them or when conflict arises, then you have to show them what that looks like. If you fly off the handle every time someone cuts you off on the highway or when the waiter gets your food wrong, then your child will imitate this behavior. Whether we like it or not, our children are watching our every move.
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About the Author
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.