Sometimes, as hard as we parents try, siblings just don’t get along.
Maybe there’s a clash in personality, perhaps one sibling is much older than the other, or maybe it’s just a phase. Whatever the motivation, there are many reasons for sibling rivalry.
The key to successfully teaching kids to get along is to jump in early on and redirect behavior as soon as possible.
Small disagreements between siblings can quickly escalate into full-blown fights without intervention from an adult, but when parents step in and show children how to respectfully disagree with each other and resolve conflicts — not just brush them off — kids learn vital social skills that will help them throughout their lives.
Parenting Kids Who Don’t Get Along With Each Other
It can be hard on parents who are parenting children who don’t really get along with each other. Finding things to do in the holidays is tough, making sure each child has adequate alone time with each parent is tough, and getting the kids to spend time together can be a real challenge.
So why do siblings fight? Here are some reasons:
- Family matters
- The media
- Perceived unfairness
- Friendship groups influence
- Disability status
- Personality differences
- Intelligence differences
- Different interests
If your kids don’t share interests, you’ll have to find ways to encourage them to be around each other and hang out as a family.
Dealing With Jealousy
The desire for what another person has that the other doesn’t can cause serious jealousy issues between siblings, and should be addressed as soon as possible.
For example, maybe one child wants a toy the other doesn’t, or one sibling is disabled and appears to be getting more attention than the other.
It’s important to remember, especially in that last example, that children are not fully formed adults, they don’t have the capability of reasoning that adults do and should not be held to the same account if they do get jealous over things that can’t be helped.
That’s not to say that the child should be given a free pass, but any discipline you do invest in should be within reason to their understanding of the situation and should be compassionate to their feelings too.
Dealing With Fighting Children
Children under the age of five or six can’t really be expected to reason their way out of most situations and may need a little help understanding why their actions are not appropriate, but they should be held to the same expectations as an older child in terms of discipline.
For example, if they don’t share appropriately with each other then they need to understand that something doesn’t belong to them just because they want it.
Using this approach will hopefully give them a good education on how to work with each other to resolve future issues because if you don’t talk about what’s happening at home then whatever is going on outside will become more important than what’s happening inside.
As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children learn these important social skills and it is never too early to teach them how to effectively disagree with each other and how to empathize with feelings.