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Quibbling Siblings: How to Defuse the Rivalry (Part II)

(...Continued) In 'Quibbling Siblings: How to Defuse the Rivalry (Part I)', Rick Harper discussed how developmental stages and waysmad-kids to recognize possible unrest between your child. Rick continues to share important behavioural management steps in, 'Quibbling Siblings: How to Defuse the Rivalry (Part II)'. Read on!

So, what is a wise way to handle sibling quibbling?

Rule # 1 - Don’t Take Sides

- Do not  intervene unless there is  a risk of harm

- If you must intervene, DO NOT TAKE SIDES !

- It is better to say: “ The two of you, stop it !” rather than, "Bill, stop hitting your brother!”

Rule # 2 - Act Fast (or not at all)

- If you must intervene  (threat of harm, you are nearing the end of your rope) do so before you get angry

- Separate the combatants

Rule # 3 - Don’t Listen

- Do not get involved in their argument

- There are times when we should listen but during sibling bickering is NOT one of them

- A common parent problem is we have a tendency to assume too much and we jump in with our own agenda thereby denying our children an opportunity to resolve the problem themselves

- A parent entering between siblings in a dispute immediately sets up a contest of who can get the parent on their side and any commitment to resolving the problem is abandoned

Classic day-to-day struggles can include: 

- Children taking things from the other

- Purposely saying / doing  things that “bug”

- Making faces

- Won’t take turns or play correctly

- Property & space rights

- Saying, "I'm telling"

- Saying, "Sally keeps singing and it bugs me!:”


Here’s a good question and feedback to this in the comment box below is valued!

“How important is it that your child believe they are being treated fairly as compared to their siblings?”

It’s good to be conscious of fairness - but you don’t always have to be. If you always have to be fair - you are in trouble because in our real world life is not always fair. I don’t believe you want fairness to be the absolute dictator of your actions. Even if you could be exactly fair your kids would not believe you are. It is a very human condition to believe in our heart that we are sometimes not being treated fairly when the other party believes they are.

Also, a kid saying, “it’s not fair” can be an effective parent stopper if you let it be!

A Manipulative Kid :

- Can use it to cancel out unpleasant requests

- Could use it to divert from the real issue

- Can create a huge fight

- It becomes a permanent take off point for repeated, endless fussing.

What you decide to do with one sibling should not be inextricably tied to what you do with another as some children are more mature, more responsible, or more impulsive. What is right in one situation for one child may not be right for another one. With regards to belongings, it probably is a good idea to keep fairness in mind and aim for some kind of balance but expect your kids to sometimes pull the “it’s not fair” trick.

When children are not getting their way they can say things that are very hurtful, so it's suggested that parents think long and hard before you take what they say during those episodes very seriously.

ex. - “I never / you always”

- "You don’t love me”

- “You don’t trust me”

- “I hate you”

- “But why?”

It is imperative that you use some tricks to keep perspective because it is common for children to try to knock you off your game.

If you have any questions/suggestions or feedback for the question answered above, please post below! 

Posted by Rick Harper in Parent, General ← Previous Post Next Post →

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