Home > Kids > Behavior and Discipline > Behavioral Problems > Behavior Modification > Behavior Makeover: Sibling Battles
|

Behavior Makeover: Sibling Battles

Use the following strategies as a guide in boosting family harmony and stopping sibling battles:
  1. Calm everyone down. Intervene when emotions are high but before an argument escalates. Use what works best to calm everyone down: running a quick lap outside, doing five jumping jacks, taking three slow deep breaths, lying down for a few minutes, cuddling a teddy bear. If needed, separate the two kids until they can calm themselves and work things through: "I see two angry kids who need to cool down. You go to your room and you to your room until you can talk calmly."

  2. Clarify feelings. Sometimes all that is needed is for someone to acknowledge the hurt kid's feelings. Try it: "You're hurt because you think your brother is being treated more fairly than you are." "You're frustrated because you're not getting a turn at Nintendo."

  3. Let each kid tell the story. To help kids feel that they're really being heard, ask each one to take a turn explaining what happened. Ask everyone to focus on the child who is speaking and really listen. No interrupting is allowed, and everyone gets a turn. If you think you don't understand, ask for clarification: "Could you explain that to me again?" When the sibling is finished, briefly restate her view to show that you do understand. You might then ask, "What can you do to solve this problem?"

  4. Make the kids part of the solution. Ask those involved what they plan to do to solve "their" problem. Making kids part of the solution often causes them to stop, think, and quiet down. Do set guidelines for talking it out: no interrupting, no put-downs, and only calm voices are allowed. By taking turns, kids can learn to make their points with words, not blows. One dad sets an oven timer and says, "Let's see if you can work this through calmly for three minutes. Then I'll return." Another mom sits her preschoolers on the couch and tells them they can't get up until they talk it out.

  5. See it from the other side. Kids often get so caught up in feeling they're being treated unfairly that they don't stop to think how the other person might be feeling. So ask, "See it from the other side now. How does your sister feel?" This also builds empathy.


|

From No More Misbehavin' by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2003 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

thanksgiving crafts & recipes

Make this Turkey
Day fun for the
whole family with
these essentials.

GO

highlights

7 Home Remedies to Soothe Cold & Flu Symptoms
The AAP does not recommend giving over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to children under 4, so treating children's cold and flu symptoms naturally can be the best course of action. Read about some home remedies that might help.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

11 Awesome Thanksgiving Games & Activities for Families
Looking for fun Thanksgiving Day activities for the whole family? Check out 11 kid-friendly indoor and outdoor activities that will bring your family together in the spirit of the holiday.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!