Children fight with each other for many reasons. And let’s face it, as parents it can drive us insane. It is common for parents to ask me the question – how can I stop my kids from fighting? Why can’t they just get along?
Every relationship has conflict – it’s normal and inevitable to disagree. However, the determining factor in the quality of the relationship is how the fights get resolved.
Whilst it may not seem like a bonus, having a sibling to fight with is actually a good thing.
Having arguments can provide skills in assertiveness, problem solving, conflict resolution and relationship repair.
Having disagreements is a normal part of child development, but there are things parents can do to minimise the fights and teach your kids the skills they need to be successful in life.
Listed below are my top 4 tips for reducing fights at home:
- Establish limits
- Children need to know the rules before they can get in trouble for doing the wrong thing
- Work out what your children usually fight about and establish appropriate rules
- Rules should cover ownership, the use of joint property, personal space and acceptable behaviour
- g. this belongs to your brother. It cannot be touched without his permission
- g if you don’t share the toy it will be put in time out for 15 minutes
- g. at dinner we use an inside voice and keep our hands to ourselves
- If the children struggle remembering the rules write them down
- Encourage conflict resolution
- Don’t solve the problem for your children
- Instead ask them – how can we solve this?
- Suggest some options if they have no answers
- Give them one minute to think about it
- Avoid assigning blame and intervening unless necessary
- Learn to take the peaceful path
- Ignore squabbles unless intervention is absolutely necessary
- Try suggesting they take their problem elsewhere so you don’t have to hear it
- Praise co-operative behaviour
- Catch your children doing things right and thank them for it.
- Behaviour is more likely to change by focusing on positives than it is punishing negatives.
- Don’t fall into the trap of expecting your children to get along, be laser focused and find examples of them doing the right things and let them know how happy it makes you. This will ensure they show you more of this behaviour.
Hopefully by putting in place these steps you will find things a little quieter within your home.
If your children’s fighting goes beyond squabbles and involves physical violence towards one another or if one child is really struggling with rivalry against their siblings it may be worth seeking additional support from a Psychologist.
Please don’t hesitate to ask us questions or seek support. Give us a call on 6381 0071.