As a parent of three children, I deal with personality disputes, skill conflicts, attention getting schemes, and various mini-wars all day long. I have finally concluded that sibling rivalry is one of the inevitable annoyances of having children. Truly, it is exhausting.
Naturally, brothers and sisters fight. Their ages and personalities play a role, but my children sometimes see themselves as rivals. They compete for attention and for resources in our home.
Sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up, but it literally drives me bonkers. How to minimize disputes at home? Basically, ignore them! Really, I can't play referee all day long!
Ignore Most Of It: Practice ignoring non-life threatening situations for a week. Trust me, you will be happier.
Referee Squabbles: I know, I just said ignore it all. But, there is a time when you have to step in as a referee. This is always a round-by-round judgment call. And if my children are in danger of hurting the other or damaging property, I stop the fight in its tracks. Also, if they continue to quarrel as children - they will do this as adults and that will make for a very miserable life!
Extend Grace: Trying to teach my children to pick their battles and give, extend and accept grace is an uphill battle sometimes. Not every situation warrants an argument and each child does not need to be "right" in every situation.
Stay Positive: If I have a smile plastered on my face - I can usually get all my kids to smile too! Easiest tool in my mom toolbox!
Promote Team Spirit: We try to work through situations as they come up for the bet resolution for everyone. This may mean scheduling times on games, but if I can get my kids to do this on their own without my referee skills, I breathe a big sigh of relief that day.
Alternatives: They either work it out or I work it out for them. My alternative is not the first choice - ever. My alternative is either the get-along shirt (you know, when two kids have to wear the same shirt together) or completing a task together whilst holding hands.
Children Are Not Equal: Children are like little lawyers arguing for their rights. But what my children quickly realize is that a 10 year old does not get 14 year old privileges! My children get different privileges and more responsibilities as they get older. They need to look forward to growing up instead of growing up too fast.
Everyone is My Favorite: All my kids are my favorites and they will all say they are my favorites. They may tell each other that so and so it the most favorite, but , basically, they all think they are the favorite and that works out well for me!
Listen to Both Sides: investigate to determine who’s at fault. Simple as that. I never know who or what started a simple squabble and ask each to tell me their side.
Siblings Are Forever Friends: This is one I really try to hit home. My husband and his brother are not the least bit close and this makes me so sad for my husband. I am very close to my brothers and I keep telling my own children, you will want this important relationship when you are older. Your siblings are the ones who will always have your back.
As a parent, it is our role to promote sibling harmony. We act as a facilitator and we set conditions that foster a great relationship between all our children. My job is not to control how my children relate to each other, but rather to shape their relationship with each other.
Netflix has a number of family-friendly shows that have real-life issues. Chances are there is a show that can begin a dialogue with your kids just by watching it together. Quite possibly the best conversations with your children could be sparked by watching shows together.
Disclosure: This post is part of my involvement as a Netflix #StreamTeam Member. All opinions are my own. #NetflixKids #Netflix #NetflixMoms Want to learn more about Netflix Streaming? Subscriptions start at $7.99/month.