As parents, we are the happiest when our kids are peacefully playing with each other but let’s face it, it only takes a few seconds for the treaty to fall apart and for the kids to go to war. In an instant we find ourselves refereeing between all the tears, name calling and fighting.
There is no way to completely prevent this situation but these tips can help you navigate your way towards brokering peace again.
You can’t clap with one hand
It’s very difficult to know who launched the first strike but war only breaks out when the other retaliates. So instead of assigning blame, listen to both parties and identify the roles they played. This eases the process of dealing with them individually.
Be fair, not equal
The most common mistake we all make is favouring equality over fairness. If you feel one of the kids made a mistake and the other didn’t, be fair to both and discipline the one who needs it. However, punishments should be a private affair and not subject to the whimsy of each other.
Celebrate each of them, together
Celebrate your kids’ achievements and accomplishments equally and without assigning any labels. Some trophies may be bigger than the others but they are all equally important to us. Sometimes we unknowingly start calling them ‘the smart one’ or ‘the sporty one’ which doesn’t always work in the other’s favour.
Attacking for attention
Most squabbles are a cry for attention and kids tend to believe negative attention is better than none at all. So, make time for individualised attention for both by asking each of them about their day, their activities and problems. Choose to do it when their sibling isn’t around so that they don’t feel their time is being shared.
Sharing is caring
The toughest of tasks is to teach them the value of sharing their belongings and boy, does it take a while. Our little ones take time to get accustomed to sharing their toys, clothes, attention and affection so it’s okay to give them the time they need. However, you can always better prepare them for sharing by teaching them to do so before their sibling comes along. You can also start by getting them to share with their friends.
Sibling rivalry is inevitable and often very draining but as they grow, they’ll grow out of it. As parents, try to build a collaborative environment even before the older ones meet their little brother or sisters. Half the war is won the earlier they realize they are a team and not opponents on a battlefield.