Sunday, May 30, 2010

Parenting Tip #41 Quarreling Siblings

Click here to see a comic from Baby Blues:
How do you deal with fighting in your family? It's natural for siblings to disagree with each other but how far do we, as parents, let that disagreement go? Arguing, shouting, hitting? Is that acceptable and normal?
My brother, parent to 6 children, has this to say about the problem,"the most important tip I can give is to not let siblings quarrel, pick on each other or annoy each other. If parents let that happen, then resentment is created that can last a lifetime. Stop the quarrel and make it a hard fast rule in the house. Send quarreling kids to separate corners, bedrooms or whatever it takes. This is what Mom and Dad did while we were growing up and it is a major reason why we siblings like each other as adults. If you can't stop children from quarreling, then you aren't in control."

The scriptures say, "Forbearing one another and forgiving one another if any man (insert the word "child")have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." Colossians 3:13 And in Mosiah 4:14 And ye will not suffer your children...[to]fight and quarrel one with another...but ye will teach them to love one another and to serve one another."

Easier said than done. So how do you keep your children from fighting?
1.Keep them busy. If your children are fighting, they must be bored, so give a chore to each child then quickly think of a fun game or activity they can do when finished.
2.Talk to your children separately and LISTEN to them. Many times I had to explain to one of my children that the very thing that their sibling was doing that annoyed them, was exactly what they were doing a few years ago that annoyed their older brother. Help them to see and understand age group characteristics so they can better understand their brother or sister's behavior.
3. Don't do a lot of talking and lecturing. Separate the children. Give a time out. Then regroup and focus on a new activity.
4. Make your children SING their disagreements. This usually ends up in a laughing session instead of a fighting session.
5. Distract your children with a story from your childhood. Let them know you understand they have angry feelings, but that hitting and name calling is not the solution.
6. Give your children the gift of words. Ask them to explain WHAT the behavior is that they don't like. HOW that makes them feel. Let them offer some solutions.
7. Be a peacemaker. Work together as a family. Don't make it a power struggle with you, the parent, now becoming the shouting or hitting person.
8. Teach your children to serve each other.
9. Encourage children and family members to express love for one another. Talk about family love and how team work helps everyone.
10. Don't compare your children or label them. Accept them and teach them.

Remember, there is no quick fix in life. But if you ignore fighting in your family, it will escalate and get worse. Be proactive! Teach your children to love each other. And work on it every day--because that's what it takes.


  1. Great post! I used to argue with myself all the time as a kid (being an only child)...and I STILL argue! I should have taken a page from your blog. Thanks for your words of wisdom, Cathy.

  2. I am just now entering this stage of my parenting journey, dealing with toddlers who are learning about sharing...this will help tremendously!




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