Recognizing that sibling rivalry has been around since Cain and Abel can relieve much of the pressure. Kids will fight; they’re wired that way. The Jeub kids are no exception. However, we have applied some helpful rules in our home that keeps fighting at a minimum.
1. Setting Tone. Either Mom and Dad set the tone in the family, or someone or something else will. You don’t want it to be set by a bunch of fighting kids. Turn the TV off (or get it out of your house altogether), because TV shows typically make a joke about sibling rivalry. Starting the day off with devotions and discussions about how to get along with one another helps. When Mom and Dad are cool tempered and easy going, their children usually follow.
2. Routine. Fights typically start up when there is a bit of chaos going on in the home. When we (the parents) veer from our schedule, fights inevitably rise up. Instead, when the family routine is unfolding and kids are part of the events of the day, fights don’t happen nearly as often.
3. The Fighting Rule. We don’t have a rule that says, “No fighting.” Kids need to learn how to handle conflicts with one another. Our rule is simple and works most of the time. “If Mom and Dad need to get involved, both will get what they DON’T want.” This sometimes ends with unfair rulings (some fights are started by one ill-mannered kid), but they are the exception. If the kids, instead of going to Mom or Dad, choose to beat each other up in the other room (an abusive situation), we parents will consider Mom or Dad needing to get involved even when the kids don’t come to us initially.
4. Kids’ Personalities. Some of our kids are sweet natures and seldom get into fights. Others are controlling, manipulative, or annoying. We try to focus on behavior instead of personalities. Focusing on personality usually leads to a subtle ridiculing of a particular child and a favoring of the “sweeter” ones. Love that “annoying” child, but work with him or her to correct unpleasant behavior.
5. Apologizing. When the kids offend another child, we “make” them apologize. Sure, their hearts may still be angry with their sibling, but we believe at least “faking it” is helpful. They inevitably grow to see the benefits of forgiveness and love. Our kids have grown up in an atmosphere where saying sorry is easily done and accepted. This apologizing isn’t limited to the kids, either; Mom and Dad often apologize when our tempers get the best of us and we fail to be as “cool” as we should be.
Those are five tips that have worked well in the Jeub home. We would love to hear from you what your tips are. Use the comment section below to let us know what worked for you…
The Jeubs are pictured here fighting as play.