How do you handle fights between siblings?

Many of our parenting techniques are outlined in Love in the House.

Many of our parenting techniques are outlined in Love in the House.

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 Fighting

The Jeubs are pictured here fighting as play.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • Amanda Perkins

    Hello Jueb Family! I really enjoyed your story about your family…also kuddos for standing strong on dealing with your troubled daughter! You gave many parents some much need courage I am sure…so I wanted to tell you as a mother of 4 that happend to include a set of boy girl twins age 5..I am often faced with this delima of sibiling bickering..something that has worked for me is to have them doctor each other up if it happens to get physical..It doesn’t happen often, but the occasional bump or scrape has occured..by having my guilty one hold the ice or put a band aid on I have found it to really teaches them a great deal about empathy..end result less boo boo’s.

  • Allison

    I appreciate so much all the advice you give along with your openess. I feel like ya’ll are friends and we’ve never even met! What a gift you have given us all. And your children are so beautiful! I’m so glad Jesus is Lord in your home.

  • Stacie

    Great ideas! I have a similar approach and most of the time it works. We too, make them say sorry to each other and we always make the offended one say they “forgive them”. It helps a lot! Thanks for sharing.

    Stacie from Oregon

  • Angela

    Wow, I really like what you have done. I have watched your show and many of the others on TLC and Discovery Health about large families. I myself have 5 kids (and my husband and I would like more) and I home school them. I have been doing research on the Large Families because of your great way your families are all organized. I know that not every child is perfect and an angel so I have used alot of your idea’s and they work great. I have combined some from each family that I have read about and/or watched and you have been a true inspiration to me and my family. Thank you. We have also become much closer to God because of your inspiration. Thank you for that. Because of learning of you and other larger families from these cable shows & internet my family is getting better at life and learning how to enjoy the little things that we missed out on and we have a more relaxed way of living now. You are truely an inspiration to everyone. Congradulations on the upcoming arrival of your newest blessing. God really is the way to a greater way of life. I now really see that. Thank you for showing everyone this.

  • Carolyn Syvers

    I love what you said in #4. It is very wise. I teach elementary school. More teachers should handle disipline in this manner with “problem children” as well—focus on the behavior and not the personality.

  • Vicknjeff

    My children(8 & 4 both girls) fight from the time they open their eyes until the time they go to bed (no exaggereation).  Rarely are there peaceful moments between the 2 of them.  It’s constant tattling and bickering.  She said, She did, she won’t is all I hear.  I have never seen children fight as much as they do.  I honestly am to the point where I have NO IDEA what to do.

  • Lori B

    Can you give an example of “focus on the behavior and not the personality”?

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      Example: A child who is goofing off and ignoring his homework. “You’re not funny” would be a personal attack. “Settle down and get going on your homework” is focusing on the behavior.

  • Tammie E.

    I understand totally what you mean. This year has been a bad, bad one for us and we have been off schedule alot ! In doing so I have noticed it has caused all of us alot of strife. We aren’t particuarly strict about the schedule – I mean if something used to pop up or a chance arose to go someplace off we went. But when Mom and Dad are stressed so are the kids. I have seen that alot this year ! I suppose when things start to change and get settled they will do better as well.