Sibling rivalry. Really it's one of the joys of parenting isn't it? The yelling, the fighting for no reason, the crying, the constant badgering of each other. One thing that keeps me sane when the kids are trying to kill each other is what a parenting coach told me: sibling rivalry is good because it teaches kids how to handle conflict.
See? It's good and you have been worried all this time that siblings hating each other was a bad thing. Phew.
As I have three kids the alliances are always shifting which puts them on particularly unsure ground. But gives them so many opportunities to get at each other. There are so many ways that the kids get at each other that I can not name them all. The predominant reasons for fighting in our house (this week) are:
- Computer time
- Control of the TV remote
- Setting the table
- Correcting the other siblings behaviour (this one is fast becoming a favourite)
- Random elbows to the gut and toe stepping
- Touching each other in the car
- Being born
My personal favourite is when they are laughing hysterically together and then suddenly realize they are getting along so they then turn on each other.
Honestly, sibling rivalry is a serious topic and there are lots of good techniques to deal with it, some of which are contained in this article. That same parenting coach said that we had to put kids "in the same boat". Don't assign blame (almost impossible); assume they were both in it together because it takes two to fight. Unfortunately it is very hard to be rational in the face of two or more screaming, out-of-control children. It is too easy to fall into the traps of blaming one child (the instigator); coddling another (the victim). We all do it. But that sends a message that the instigator is bad and the victim(s) can't handle the problems on their own. All this information adds up to a big: Stay Out of It.
Because it's all about you. So don't give them what they want -- your attention (and a little blood). I am sure at least one of my kids is scheming right now how to get on someone's nerves (hopefully not mine).
What do your kids fight about? (I'm not sure I want to hear about it if they don't.)