Solve Sibling Rivalry

Researchers tell us that 36 million acts of sibling rivalry occur every year. Some are severe. Most are normal. When your kids fight, they want you in the middle. They want you to be the judge and jury. They want you to take their side. I remember my own mother's reaction.

When I was a kid, fights with my brother were constant. We kicked, we teased, we shoved, we called each other names, and we rolled over and over on the ground punching each other as hard as we could. Later, my mother said, "I knew you two would kill each other."

Many of our fights started in our backyard. In my excitement to win, my yelling grew so loud that the whole neighborhood knew we were slugging it out. My mother, a rather shy person, used the common problem solving solutions of the day. She'd open up the nearest window and holler, "For Pete's sake Jeanie, shut up!" Then she'd slam the window shut to emphasize her anger. The whole neighborhood heard her. Her shouts embarrassed me and hurt my feelings but they didn't stop me. Fighting with brother continued almost every day. And almost everyday mom's problem solving solutions for our sibling rivalry echoed throughout the neighborhood.

Looking back, I can't remember what my brother and I fought about. I can remember my mother's words. How about you?

When your kids fight, do you have any problem solving solutions for their sibling rivalry? What will your kids remember?

5 Problem solving solutions for sibling rivalry that FAIL:

Yell when your kids fight
Swear when your kids fight
Hit when your kids fight
Lecture when your kids fight
Let your kids fight until they're hurt each other

Knowing what to do in the heat of the moment isn't easy. What is easy, is letting your own anger explode. If you do, what are you really teaching your kids?

5 Problem solving solutions for sibling rivalry that HELP:

Talk the situation over with your partner or someone you trust.
Come up with a logical plan for handling future fights.
Tell your kids (when they're not fighting) what will happen the next time they fight.
Determine to respond with your reason and not your emotion.
Follow through with the plan.
If you react to their sibling rivalry with yelling, arguing and hitting, you can change.

3 questions to discover your best problem solving solutions:

What will my kids remember about my reactions?
What am I really teaching them?
What do I want to teach them?