It’s incredible how siblings go from cheerful play to fighting furiously within split seconds; not only do they distort the peace and quiet in the home, they may also drag you into their issue to play referee. Handling sibling rivalry can be very frustrating, exhausting, and overwhelming, and quickly drives parents nuts.
The truth is, the feud between siblings is inevitable, regardless of how close they are, there are bound to be disagreements at times, but it is possible to manage these issues, so it doesn’t worsen or get out of hand. So how do you manage sibling rivalry as a guardian? There are probably thons of ways to handle sibling rivalry, but in this article, we highlight ten effective tips to restore peace in your home.
1. Keep your cool and pay attention
Paying close attention to siblings as they interact would enable your early intervention before small issues escalate. If they have any disagreement, try as much as possible to stay calm as you address them. Kids learn basically from their guardians; keeping your cool while resolving a conflict between siblings would make your kids learn to keep calm while addressing issues.
2. Encourage cooperation between siblings
If you want siblings to fight less, you should be ready to give them fewer reasons to. Favoring one child over the other is unhealthy for their unity and your peace of mind; it also encourages competition between siblings. Instead, create opportunities for a compromise between siblings and promote cooperation. As parents or guardians, you also want to set a good example for these kids. Avoid arguing with others in front of your kids, as they may take that as the proper way to handle their differences with siblings.
3. Acknowledge and celebrate individuality
There will be fewer chances of sibling rivalry if children know they are being appreciated for who they are. To achieve this, start by avoiding malicious tags or labels such as fat, stupid, or useless. Let each child know they are special to you, and you’re happy to have them.
Secondly, be sure to give equal attention to each child regardless of their likes and dislikes. If one child likes to play outside and the other prefers to sit quietly while reading indoors, try as much as possible to spend time doing the things they enjoy with them. Also, make sure each child gets the space and alone time they desire.
4. Quality family time
Spending time together as a family is a great way to get siblings to like each other; having dinner together, playing board games, going to the park are great ways to stay active and spend quality family time. Siblings get to bond and share positive memories through these family activities, and also give them less incentive to pick fights.
5. Be fair, not partial
Many parents want to treat their kids equally, which is a good thing in some stances. However, when it comes to punishments and rewards, you want to remain as fair as possible in your judgments. As much as you want to avoid rivalry and hatred between siblings, you also want to bring your kids up to know what is right and what is wrong, as this would help them understand how to behave next time.
6. Listen attentively
Children may often get tensed, frustrated, and emotional after a fight with their sibling; listen to them as they explain the situation individually and respect their emotions as they speak to you. Children are more likely to cooperate with you when they feel they’re being heard.
However, being emotional isn’t an excuse for hostile or aggressive behaviors. If your kids start to hit each other during misunderstandings, let them know that violence isn’t acceptable as it’s not the right way to solve problems and that they should always turn to you for hearing whenever they have issues.
7. Always listen from both ends
You may likely not be there to witness the initial incident, which led to the rivalry, and each child would have their part of the story to share. Instead of putting blames on the kids, focus on the role each child played in the incident by listening to them, asking them questions, and analyzing their stories. After that, you get to let each child know where they are at fault and tell them the right thing to do instead, incase similar issues pop up next time.
8. Give kids problem-solving tools
You can make use of their conflict to equip them with problem-solving tools; when there is a disagreement between the kids, demonstrate how they might achieve a compromise, understand themselves, share or approach a similar issue more appropriately and positively.
9. Punish them in private
If sibling rivalry escalates and demands punishment, you want to keep your conversation and penalty for each child private. Punishing a child is a means of correcting them to do the right thing next time, and not a public announcement of their flaws. Be cautious with punishments and don’t execute it in the rival sibling; this could cause shame to the punished child and create greater hatred between siblings.
10. Family meetings
Like a profit-oriented establishment, your family is also your business and the most important in every case. Family meetings are a great avenue to trash issues such as sibling rivalry, gather everyone around a table and give each person to bear their mind on things they feel uncomfortable within the household. It is also an opportunity to establish the household rule that members can agree to follow. You can paste these rules in public areas of the home to remind everyone what they are expected to do.
Siblings must learn to sort out their differences amicably; this helps preserve love, peace, and order in the household. However, it may take time and effort for rival siblings to understand each other and fight less. Although disagreements are inevitable, if parents help sibling scale through misunderstanding and achieve a compromise, the burden becomes less for the kids. Being a good role model is also an important role you must play as a guardian because your actions greatly influence them. We commend you for utilizing these ten tips to create a more peaceful, loving, and graceful home for you and your family.