Sibling rivalry is a part of growing up, but it can get tiring when kids are fighting all the time. Don’t stress; plenty of other parents are in the same boat. These tips may help to reduce unnecessary fights and resolve them quickly when they do happen.

Figure out the real problem

Many arguments start over something small, but there may be a bigger issue lurking under the surface. Your kids might be fighting over a toy, but really, they’re upset because they feel like their sibling always gets their way. They may even just want your attention, which isn’t a bad thing! Do your best to figure out the root of the problem and get your kids to express the emotions they’re feeling. And remember, there won’t always be a deeper reason, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.


Make it a team effort

Kids often get caught up in who “wins” an argument, which can lead to more frustration. Try to frame conflicts as a team effort rather than a competition. Encourage them to work through the problem together and come up with a solution they can both agree on. Make it clear to them that working together is something that will help everyone in the family because you’re all a team. It will help them with their problem-solving skills and give you a break from being the peacemaker.


Set a good example

It’s one thing to tell your little ones how to fix their conflicts, but it’s another to show them. Model good behavior when you have a disagreement of your own. If they see you getting frustrated all the time or yelling at your partner, that will be the example they remember, no matter how much you try to teach them otherwise. If you think a discussion with your partner could turn into an argument, try moving it away from the kids and only coming back once your emotions are in a healthy place.


Have your kids practice

Telling your kids how to handle a fight and giving them positive examples are great steps in reducing conflict. At the same time, it may be hard for younger kids to remember what they’re supposed to do in the middle of an argument. Big emotions make it tricky to focus. To give them a better chance at success, practice with them when they’re in a good mood. Give them a scenario they’ve struggled with in the past and ask what they might say. You can give them guidance from there and hopefully the practice will become a reality.


Don’t try to be perfect

Kids are always going to fight. It’s a normal part of growing up and according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, it’s even more common with kids less than two years apart. If you see every argument as a failure of your parenting, your mental health won’t thank you. Do your best to reinforce healthy behaviors and give proper consequences for undesired ones, but give yourself some grace too.

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