When kids are stuck at home with their siblings, it can be pretty easy for them to start getting on each other’s nerves! Sibling Rivalry can get out of control fast!
A 4 Step Plan to Resolve Sibling Rivalry Fights
Sibling rivalry disagreements can be heated and involve lots of yelling, screaming, crying, whining, and fighting. Teaching your kids how to resolve these arguments on their own can be an invaluable tool for them!
I like to teach kids a simple 4 step plan to resolve arguments. Here are the four steps…
Step 1: Calm Down
The first step is to calm down. It is important for kids to understand that resolving a disagreement once they are calm will work so much better than when they are in the moment and feeling really angry or upset.
The “rules” that I have my kids follow is that they need to be calm enough to:
- Be able to stop fighting/arguing
- Be able to listen to each other without interrupting
- Be able to be honest about their role in the fight
There are lots of ways to calm down including separating from each other, doing a calm activity such as reading, or doing deep breathing.
You can check out this article on 5 different Deep Breathing Techniques for Kids.
Step 2: Figure Out the Problem
The second step to conflict resolution is to figure out the problem. This can be tricky when you have two kids who each have their own version of the story.
If kids are struggling with this and feeling frustrated, one great tool to use is a Problem Solving Worksheet. This walks kids through defining the problem and finding solutions. Depending on the situation, kids could choose to fill one of these worksheets out together or each does one and then share.
You can download a free problem-solving worksheet in my Parenting Resource Library.
Step 3: Remind yourself to LISTEN
It is really important to stop and remind kids to listen while they are working on defining the problem and before they move on to solving the problem.
One good trick that helps kids become better listeners is to try to be curious. Have them ask as many questions as they can of their sibling. For example: what do you think happened, why did that make you mad, how are you feeling, etc.
If your kid(s) struggle a lot with listening, you might want to check out The Be Heard Method which is a course that teaches parents how to get their kids to listen!
Step 4: Solve the problem
The final step to resolving sibling rivalry fights is to find a resolution or “solve the problem.”
In order to solve the problem the following rules need to be met:
- Both people should contribute ideas to solve the problem (Brainstorm ideas)
- In Brainstorming there are no bad ideas – remember we don’t want to start arguing again!
- One or both people may need to apologize (more on apologizing soon!)
- It’s okay to ask for help if you keep falling back into arguing
Encouraging Your Children to Be Good at Conflict Resolution
As with any new skill, kids will need time, encouragement, and practice in order to become good at solving their own arguments.
It is important to teach your children these skills at a time when they are calm and not currently in the middle of a fight. It can also be really helpful to practice the skills with pretend situations. For example, set up a pretend fight between your kids and have them practice working through the 4 steps to solve the argument.
When your children do get into real sibling rivalry style arguments, gently remind them to start their conflict resolution process by finding a way to calm down. Then, try stepping back and see if they will naturally go through the process with as little guidance as possible from you.
Sending You Love and Light!