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6 min read

Understanding sibling rivalry 

- Stop your children from fighting all the time 

Things you can try

  1. Accept that siblings fight

    Arguments between siblings are a normal part of family life. It’s not that you are doing something wrong, or that something is wrong with your children. In fact, arguments can be a helpful way for them to learn how to manage conflicts. And how to have a disagreement without getting too angry.

    It sometimes feels like my children will do whatever they can to hurt each other. Now I know that it comes with the turf of having more than one child, I’m not blaming myself.

  2. Try to make a special time for each child every day

    It can be hard for brothers and sisters to share their parents’ attention and love. When a younger brother or sister is born, children often worry they’ll be pushed out or forgotten.  

    Try some preventative actions to take the worry away. It doesn’t need to take up lots of time each day but try to do something that they have chosen and enjoy doing.

    Don’t worry about treating your children differently. That’s actually ok. They are unique and need different things at different times.

  3. Try not to get over-involved

    It’s easy to become the judge of who is wrong. But that can make things worse, both now and in the long run. If it’s a minor argument, try to let them work things out themselves.

    If things get out of hand, then take a deep breath, step in and calmly separate them saying something like: “Woah, you two are really angry! But this isn’t ok.”   

    Here are some other things to try:

    • Think of your role as a coach, rather than as a judge or a referee. Coach your children to express their needs in words. For example, by saying, “I don’t like it when you push me!” instead of hitting back  
    • If they are arguing over an object, take it away until they are calm. Then return it 
    • Give them time to cool down before trying to resolve things
    • When they are calm, let them know it’s good to learn how to manage disagreements by doing it with each other.

  4. Keep calm and set an example

    Be aware of how you manage disagreements yourself and try and set an example of a respectful approach to deal with conflict. Children learn by watching us.

    It’s important we set an example of how to handle conflict without losing our temper.  Staying calm and helping children to think things through can also help them understand each other better. It can even prevent future disagreements.

    Your child is unique and we hope there are some takeaways here that work for you. If you’re looking for help parenting children with additional needs, you can get specific advice from specialist organisations. Check out our list of support that we can recommend.

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