If there is one thing parents of multiple kids have in common… it’s the desire to know how to stop sibling rivalry.
One day while we were driving the kids started bickering. The timing was funny so instead of getting irritated my response was light and in that moment I stumbled upon the perfect way to stop sibling rivalry.
Instead of letting out a frustrated sigh, I giggled a little…
“You know, it’s funny that you started arguing now. I was just about to compliment you.”
And here it is. The sentence that stopped them in their tracks…
“You two are together so much, I’m so impressed with how well you get along.”
That was all it took. Within seconds Big M was apologizing and Little M was chatting about what they would do together when we got home.
I’ve tested this theory a few times since then and it works like a charm every time. I try to find very specific examples if possible.
When the kids start in on each other I’m quick to hear the “they are ALWAYS fighting” line run through my head. If I take a minute to think about it, I realize that isn’t really true. The truth is they get along much more then they don’t — the not getting along is just louder. It stands out.
The reason complimenting their relationship is so effective is that it reminds them how lucky they are. It reminds them that they do like each other… most of the time.
More ideas for how to stop sibling rivalry
The sibling relationship is the perfect place to learn how to be in a friendship. Your brother or sister is going to love you no matter what. They are going to still be there tomorrow… you get a second chance (and a third and a forth).
- Teach them how to compromise, how to empathize and how to apologize. By using their squabbles as lessons you will be reducing the amount of squabbles that occur. Win win!
- Make an intentional effort to notice anything positive. Then compliment it. This will help you and your kids to see the bright spots of their relationship.
- Be present but stay out of the middle. Support their connections as a bystander. If the problem is that one sibling doesn’t want to play right now, help them find the words to kindly say that.
Books about parenting siblings
It’s always a good idea to read and learn many different techniques when looking to focus on a parenting goal. Here are some books to use in your journey to make those siblings good friends.
- Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings by Dr. Laura Markham
- Siblings Without Rivalry by
Now it’s your turn… how do you stop sibling rivalry?