• Donae

7 Steps for Managing Sibling Conflict

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

With multiple siblings especially the ones closer in age, there will always be opportunities for sibling conflict and rivalry. Whether there is a fight for a toy, or sharing the same space, you can expect a challenge with behavioral issues that may arise as a result. What can we do as parents however, to lessen the effect or the possibility of aggression that can result from it? I have provided some tips that I have used on my 2 and 3 year olds that can help you to understand and better manage sibling conflicts. Feel free to express your own views or ideas in the forum section as well.


7 STEPS FOR MANAGING SIBLING CONFLICT


Sibling conflict can happen for many reasons. One of the major reasons can be because of frustration or anger when things don't go the way that a child wants it to. Many times children may fight if they do not know ways to handle conflict or in some cases expressing their emotions.

Getting your childs attention is the way we give instructions.”

Here are 7 steps that you can follow to manage sibling conflict. Remember it will take a little time and much needed effort on your part as a parent to implement. However after implementing these steps, the journey will become much easier.


1. GET YOUR CHILDS ATTENTION

This is important to first and foremost get their attention. They have to be aware that you are present and will be helping them to correct the unpleasant behavior. Remain calm when you do this and try not to stand over your child but remain at eye level as much as possible so that they can understand and acknowledge your presence.


2. BRIEFLY AND CALMLY SAY WHAT THE PROBLEM IS

Remember to keep as calm as possible. Yelling can sometimes reinforce negative behavior. Speak to them in a calm tone of voice about what the problem is. For example, if John hit Sarah with a toy, then as the parent your respond would be: "John we do not hit others with our toys when we are upset that Sarah doesn't want to give her toy to you."


3. SAY WHY IT IS A PROBLEM

Saying why it is a problem is explaining to your child the reason they are being spoken to. When we don't let them know why hitting for example is a problem it does not offer an opportunity for them to learn other ways to solve conflict. They have to be aware of what the issue is so that they can help to choose another appropriate behavior response. For example: "John when we hit Sarah with the toy it can cause harm to her and it does not solve anything."


4. ASK THEM WHAT THEY SHOULD DO INSTEAD

Asking your child the next step in resolving their conflict gives you as a parent the opportunity to help them state the rules about how they should behave. If they can't remember, then reinforce the rules at this point. For example: "John and Sarah what is the right thing to do here in this situation?" "Yes John, you can ask Sarah for the toy nicely instead of throwing it at her." (You can also use picture cards that has several examples of sharing toys etc. that you can use as a visual aid as well for them to point out the correct behavior.)


5. HAVE YOUR CHILD PRACTICE IT

Practicing what you should have done instead further teaches and reinforces the positive behavior. This is a crucial part because not only do they get to role play the expected behavior, but it also helps them to fully understand the situation. For example: "John and Sarah, lets practice now on your own what you should do instead."


6. PRAISE YOUR CHILD FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING

In addition, after practicing the correct behavior, praise them for asking nicely and responding politely. You can also implement a rewards system which is optional if they have cooperated with the process for solving the conflict themselves. For Example: "Good job John and Sarah, you have done a terrific job of showing mom how you asked Sarah politely for the toy. Also because you asked Sarah for the toy nicely, you can both get to play together for an additional 10 minutes."


7. IF THE PROBLEM CONTINUES...

If the problem continues, repeat the consequence for a longer time or use quiet time to ensure not only that your rules are being implemented, but that they are being taken seriously.


TIPS FOR THE TWO AND UNDER AGE GROUPS

* For younger children under the age of two, since they are limited in their approach to understanding the situation, it is ok to demonstrate to them by using your hands to direct/lead them in the correct way to respond. The earlier you start with this age group, the better they will become anyway later in the journey.


Overall these tips and tricks can help you to screen and change certain behaviors that are unpleasant by implementing new ways to remove such behaviors from occurring in the future. Rather than always being the referee in every conflict, helping them solve their own problems will not only help them to follow your rule now but long term will prepare them for every stage of life from childhood to the teenage years to adulthood.


Check out our 'This is Parenting' blog as well for more information to help you on your parenting journey.


If you really liked this blog post and it was helpful for you, please share it with your friends and family or leave a comment below. I would really appreciate it and would love to hear from you.

If you have further comments, questions or your own suggestion, please feel free to do so in our forum section.



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