Fighting Children: How to Handle Sibling Rivalry

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Although there are more chances for siblings to become good friends, it is normal to experience sibling rivalry and understand how to deal with fighting children at home.  More often, a rivalry begins when another child is about to come.  The conflict may grow deeper.  They will start looking for things like toys, dress, food, and even parents’ attention.  As they continue to grow, their needs will have impact on how they deal with each other, and then fighting begins.

It is annoying to see fighting children most of the time. It is upsetting to live in a home that’s noisy and full of anxiety.  It is even harder to stop their sibling rivalry going on.  But it’s not bad at all because parents can have guideposts to work for peace between the two siblings.

There are a number of reasons why sibling rivalry and fighting never leave your home.  There’s a degree of strong competition and jealousy that causes arguments and backbiting.  But more factors can further create siblings rivalry that worsen the condition.  They may include the following: 

1. Needs for growing up. It is but common for fighting children to experience anxieties and varying needs that have direct influence to their lives.  For instance, toddlers shield their toys with exaggeration.  They are assertive most of the time.  When a baby grabs that toy, the toddler becomes forceful.  From there comes a sibling rivalry.

School-age children possess the concept of equality and fairness.They may wonder why their younger siblings get better attention.  Teens, on the contrary, have developed independence and individualism.  They dislike helping in household chores like caring for younger siblings.  These differences will strongly influence sibling rivalry.

2.  Unique Personalities. Fighting children take place when there’s individual temperament. Things like moods, flexibility, and character play roles that directly relate to a sibling rivalry.   For instance, if one of the children gets easily upset while the other one is relaxed, both may have sibling rivalry.  In the same manner, a child who lacks comfort, love, and support from parents would have hard feelings on his sibling who freely receives good treatment.

3.  Illness of sibling.  At times, there are some special needs that require more time and attention of parents like when a child is sick. Kids always feel jealous when parents do this since they don’t fully understand the reason why.  They may complain and feel envious.

4.  Fighting Parents. How children see their parents deal with conflicts is likely to be imitated by them.  If the husband and wife resolve a conflict with respect, and not being hostile, fighting children will embrace your technique of facing problems. On the other hand, if parents habitually slam the door, noisily debate, and disrespect each other, the same bad behavior will be replicated by the fighting children.

What to do when sibling rivalry fight begins

Obviously, it is not comfortable for all members of the family when sibling rivalry occurs.  There is always a tolerable level for the fighting children.  When the match begins, what should parents do? The following are highly recommended:

1.   Separate the struggling kids and wait till they have both calmed down. When things get worse, the best thing to do is give space to the siblings.  If not, the fighting becomes heightened.  Wait till anger and resentment have disappeared.  Then it’s time to talk about the sibling rivalry when both are not fuming.

2.   As much as possible, avoid joining the quarrel.  If you keep getting involved, you’re making it worse. You may intervene only if you think there’s physical injury going on. There is a tendency that you will favour one and dislike the other and a bigger problem may arise--more fighting in home.

3.   Parents may coach the fighting children using gentle words of advice. This is not the same with intervening.  They can be encouraged to resolve the issues themselves.  If you think there’s a need to step in, address the conflicts with both siblings.

4.   Avoid highlighting the sibling rivalry by pointing out who is at fault.  Don’t blame either one of them.  There’s a fight for two siblings, and if you join the fight you are relatively accountable.

5.   Prepare a win-win position for the fighting children to achieve something.  For instance, when a favourite toy is the source of the fight, probably an interesting game could be set up by you.  Both could enjoy and play together.

Always remember that sibling rivalry happens to receive the attention of their parents.  In this situation, why not take a time-out option for yourself. Fighting children may disappear when a parent leaves at the moment.  And if your patience reaches the limits, consider handing your children over to a third party—a relative or a friend probably. There is always a solution for fighting children.

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