Easing Sibling Rivalry

"Mom, she hit me!" "But she started it!" The sound of squabbling siblings is enough to make your hair stand on end. How can two members of the same family love each other, yet treat each other so horribly? The parents of Parent Soup decided it was time to put their heads together and figure out how to smooth sibling relationships, so they instituted the Sibling Rivalry Community Challenge. During the challenge, parents shared their tips for easing sibling conflict. Here are some of their tried and true solutions.

Dispelling Tension
"I have two children who are 19 months apart. When they are fighting, the most horrible thing I can do to my kids is make them share a chair and look at each other in a mirror. With all the goofy faces they make in the mirror the disagreement is soon forgotten and they are laughing like best friends. And if they feel the need to continue the fight after a few minutes in the no-no chair, I assign them some physical labor. Then, the excess energy they are directing toward each other is soon put to better use hauling rocks."
~ iVillager NINInRIE

Starting with You
"I have eight children. We had a house full of teens for many years. There was a lot going on with that many hormones and that many agendas to fill. About 11 years ago when my daughter was 15 and there was a lot of fighting and misbehavior going on in our home, I took a parent education instructor course and began to teach parent education classes. This was the best thing I ever did for my children. I really enjoyed helping other parents with their families, but I always got more out of the classes than they did. Slowly, things began to change around our house. The children fought less and less and we began to have a lot more fun as a family. As the misbehavior diminished, the relationships improved as well as the communication and honesty. The key to this great change was me. When I changed my attitude towards my children and the way I treated them, they began to change. But I had to change first. You can have the kind of family you want if your willing to work at it and be patient for the improvements to come."

~ iVillager Pwcourage

A Book Recommendation
"A couple of months ago, I couldn't understand why the two children who I love so much (girl, age 5, and girl, age 2) seemed to hate each other so much. I came across a book that saved my life and sanity. It is called 'Siblings Without Rivalry.' I love it and have recommended it to all my friends. I still have problems once in a while, but the book has helped me so much. Don't be afraid, it is easy and entertaining reading and the principles taught in the book really worked for me."
~ iVillager talitao

The Element of Surprise
"My pre-teen daughters who are 15 months apart really can go at it sometimes. A friend was over once and witnessed the insipid mayhem and she gave me this advice: just take a deep breath, put your hands on your hips and say with a completely serious face, 'Girls, I am just APPALLED that you would continue with this RIDICULOUS behavior.' And you know what, sometimes this works at our house. It takes them by surprise!"
~ iVillager sfcabot

An Arsenal of Tools
"I have a daughter, age 9, and son, age 6-1/2. A couple of things we do to keep sibling rivalry at a minimum are: 1) unless there is bodily injury, we refuse to become involved in incidents we did not witness, this way we are not manipulated nearly as often; 2) try to see that the younger one CAN be the aggressor, and not always rush to his defense; 3) if the two are fighting over something, take it away. This really cuts down on squabbling over stuff."

~ iVillager SandwichMom

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