Siblings fight because they’re competing for their parents’ resources and attention.
Siblings fighting once and a while is normal. However, constant squabbling isn’t—not to mention that it can drive you crazy. If your kids are always bickering about something, there are plenty of things you can do about it.
Know the Root Causes
Many fights happen because siblings are competing for attention. However, that’s not the only reason. Many siblings’ personalities clash. A shy and introverted child, for example, may feel that an extraverted brother or sister’s loud voice and constant activity is annoying. Also, your child may feel that you favor a sibling even if you don’t mean to. This often happens if one child is significantly older or younger or one child has special needs or disabilities.
Explain Why Getting Along Is Important
It’s tempting to yell “Stop fighting” and walk away—but this doesn’t resolve anything. Instead, explain that your family is a team. Your end goal is for everyone to be happy, healthy, and safe. When siblings get along, it makes it easier for the family to meet that goal. If your kids feel that they’re contributing to the greater good, squabbling may stop.
“Work It Out” Doesn’t Always Work
Yes, your kids can and should work through some conflicts themselves. But, there’s a time when Mom or Dad needs to step in. If one sibling constantly bullies the other, he or she needs parental intervention. If one kid always gets walked on and never gets his or her way, you need to explain how to take a stand.
Give Individual Attention
Sometimes, a certain child needs more parental attention. It can feel impossible to ensure everyone gets a fair share, but it’s not. Identify what your child does well with phrases like, “I know Andrew is great at soccer, but you’re excellent at math.” Do special activities with each child one-on-one. Set up small rituals for each child; maybe one kid likes a nightly bedtime story while the other prefers a favorite lullaby.