is a major issue in our household. It can be a source of severe
stress for most parents. Although it is true that most siblings
fight, and considered completely normal, I have put together some
ideas that may help keep peace in your family. You may not be
able to solve all the problems and eliminate fighting, but you can
help them reduce the number of fights and learn to fight fairly when
they do fight.
that cause bickering:
- Togetherness. Your children are
with each other more than with anyone else. They listen to each
other's accomplishments and foibles, and usually have to share the
- Territorial rights. Spaces often
are invaded as siblings raid each other's rooms, borrow toys or
CDs without asking, and switch TV channels on one another.
- Attention. What better way to get a
parent's attention than to start a fight - even if it's negative
- Competition. A fight may take place
if one sibling gets a privilege or possession the others don't.
Competition for friends, grades, and popularity at school also can
lead to fighting.
- Anger. Sibling fights can be
outlets for anger - not necessarily at the sibling, but from
school or self esteem problems.
- Physical factors. When children are
tired, hungry, or fatigued from sports, they are more likely to
fight. This is why so many fights occur right before supper.
to avoid fights:
- Separate. Children do not need to
be in all activities together. Individual interests and activities
need to be pursued.
- Create individual space. If
children cannot have their own rooms, create separate areas by
- Take turns. Create schedules for
bathroom time, choosing TV shows, and other things that may cause
- Find outlets. When children feel a
fight brewing show them alternative outlets for their energy:
jogging, bike rides, shooting baskets.
- Refuel. Make sure that children
have "down time" when they can relax and rest.
for a fair fight:
- Avoid name-calling. Names like
"brace-face" or "idiot" show a lack of respect
for the other person.
- Avoid cutdowns. Comments like, You're
so stupid you... - and similar ones should be banned. Fighting
needs to lead to a solution, and slamming each other won't
- Listen. Each child should tell his
or her side of the problem, then listen while the other tells his
or her side, making sure each understands the other's point of
- Don't get physical. Kicking,
hitting, and pushing don't lead to a peaceful resolution of the
problem, especially if one child has a size advantage.
- Attack the problem. Keep in mind
that solving the problem - not destroying the person - is the
- Resolve the problem by bedtime.
Don't let anger, hard feelings, or hurt carry over into the next
- Forgive and forget. Once the fight
is over, it's over. Teach your children to forgive as Christ
forgave them - completely and forever.
- Seek peace. Even though fighting is
normal among siblings, strive for peaceful times in your family.