Stop the Fights! Understanding Why Kids & Siblings Fight
If you're a parent, chances are you've heard it all before- arguing, bickering, tears, and the kids fighting. Whether it's between siblings or with friends, it can be hard to manage the situation and comprehend why it keeps happening in the first place.
In this article, we'll explore why kids and siblings fight and offer some tips on managing them.
The root cause of sibling fighting often comes down to the same reasons that adults argue about:
lack of resources
feeling scolded or put down,
having one's physical boundaries violated.
A child may even feel insecure about the sibling who is getting some attention from the parents.
These underlying issues manifest in numerous ways through typical sibling behavior:
competition for attention
rivalry for possessions,
jockeying for social status among peers,
disagreements regarding boundaries and rules
disputes on who is responsible for chores.
While these behaviors are to be expected and are even healthy, when they become too frequent or extreme, it's time to consider there might be something deeper going on.
Understanding the link between age and conflict is essential for sibling fights. As your children grow older, messing around and fighting increases. Why?
Your older children are likely trying to establish their independence from one another and prove they can stand on their own two feet. This competitive urge can make them gun for more autonomy and power within the family, leading to arguments and scuffles over seemingly trivial topics. So don't be surprised if you hear more disputes between your older kids than between your younger ones!
Another thing to consider is the time gap between siblings. For example, if there's a 10-year gap between two of your kids (maybe because you had more children later on in life), they'll have different experiences growing up, which could lead to a lack of understanding or respect between them. This lack of understanding between siblings can often snowball into arguments over everyday things like who gets what seat on the bus or who gets first pick at the ice cream shop.
Lastly, jealousy is another factor that plays a part in sibling fights since some kids might feel parents favor the older sibling. They think their siblings get away with more things or get better gifts for their birthdays. That kind of thinking can lead to unfair comparisons from one child to another, which isn't healthy for either party involved!
It's important not to jump in immediately to stop them fighting, or it can frustrate and anger them. Firstly, take a few moments to assess the situation, then follow these steps:
Stay calm and reinforce expectations
Help each child manage their emotions by talking calmly about what happened
Ask questions so each child can express their point of view
Be firm but fair when mediating - consider both sides carefully and come up with an appropriate solution
Focus on positive behavior rather than punishing bad behavior.
Use humor - this can help diffuse tension and bring fun to the situation.
There are ways that you can reduce, or even prevent, the bickering and fighting between siblings if you know what triggers it. To start with, try the following strategies:
Create a set of rules and guidelines that your kids must follow in the same room. Establishing clear expectations can prevent bickering and allow your kids to coexist peacefully. Additionally, ensure your children know and understand the consequences of not following these rules.
Set a good example for your children and show them how to work together and solve conflicts constructively. Also, be mindful of your behavior. Research suggests that when parents are hostile towards each other during disagreements, it increases aggression between siblings.
When chores have to be done or tasks tackled, encourage cooperation between siblings by assigning team-based rewards for completing tasks together. This can help foster positive relationships between siblings and teach them how to work together. Things like playing board games or puzzles together can help too!
Teach your children problem-solving skills so they can resolve conflicts without getting into fights. This could be as simple as teaching them how to listen to each other's opinions respectfully or coming up with a plan of action if they disagree. Teaching these skills is vital in helping them resolve disputes amicably.