10 Tips to Avoid Fights Between Siblings

Fights between siblings occur frequently and can't be avoided, but you can teach your kids to resolve them in a respectful manner.
10 Tips to Avoid Fights Between Siblings
Mara Amor López

Written and verified by the psychologist Mara Amor López.

Last update: 23 November, 2022

Fights between siblings are very frustrating for parents and can bring them to the brink of a nervous breakdown. In some cases, they’re mere arguments that end in tears and shouting, while in other cases, siblings may hit, push, or break something. This situation stresses out even the calmest of adults. Do you want to know what you can do in the case of fights between siblings? In the following article, we’ll share some helpful tips.

It’s important that, when siblings fight, parents try to calm them down and encourage them to talk about what has upset them. Also, each one should have the opportunity to state their reasons. From an early age, we must teach them to take into account the feelings and emotions of others and to know that their behavior can have an effect on others.

Tips to avoid fights between siblings

Young children express emotions in a less controlled way than adults because they don’t yet have the tools to know how to do so. That’s why, when a child wants something and doesn’t get it, the basic emotion of anger appears. Older children are better able to manage it, but younger ones are still unable.

For example, if the anger is with the sibling because he doesn’t lend him a toy, they will end up in a fight to see who can do more. On many occasions, it is a way to get the parents’ attention. So, what can we do to avoid fights between siblings? Here are some tips for you to keep in mind:

1. Teach them to share

Many times, fights between siblings start because they both want the same object. Hence the importance of teaching them to share with each other. We must explain to them that they can both have the object, taking turns, and in this way, both win.

2. Don’t show a preference for any of your children

If we show any kind of favoritism or preference for any of them, the only thing we’ll achieve will be producing jealousy between siblings. This can also lead to continuous fights. Therefore, the best thing to do is to be impartial, listen to both, and then take action.

A mother helping her children to resolve a disagreement.
Showing preferences for one of the siblings when mediating in the conflict will only cause more problems between them. It’s best if both can state their case.

3. Teach them to control their anger

When children get angry, they feel frustration and rage. At that moment, their whole body speeds up and this prevents them from thinking. For this reason, it’s important that we teach them to stop for a few seconds before pouncing on their sibling. This way, little by little, they’ll be able to have control over their anger.

4. Positively reinforce their good behaviors

If a child tries to resolve a conflict with their sibling in a calm way, based on dialogue and negotiation, we should congratulate them for that. However, when they resort to fighting as a way to solve a problem, we must be firm and withdraw, if necessary, some privilege in case this behavior persists over time.

5. Avoid making comparisons between siblings

All of us, at some time, in frustration or anger in the face of a situation, have said the typical phrase “Look how well your brother behaves!” Well, we must repress this type of phrase because the only thing we do is foment more conflicts between them. When one of the children has a behavior that displeases us, we have to clarify it with him, without involving what the other sibling does or doesn’t do.

6. Don’t intervene when they argue

Although it’s very difficult to stay out of conflicts, it’s important to let them try to solve them on their own. This way, they’ll learn to negotiate and won’t reproach us because they think we’re choosing sides.

If the discussion becomes more aggressive, we’ll listen to both of them, one at a time, so they can explain what has happened. We won’t take sides and we’ll be able to offer them possible solutions so that they can choose the one they think is best. However, if they do hit each other, we should intervene and separate them immediately.

7. Teach them to ask for forgiveness

When one of the children does something that’s not right, they should know how to ask for f orgiveness and recognize their mistakes. This is a positive attitude that will prevent multiple fights on different occasions. In addition, it’s important that your children also learn to accept their sibling’s apologies.

Three siblings fighting over the same toy.
It’s important to teach children to resolve conflicts through dialogue so that they can reach agreements that benefit all involved.

8. Teach them to negotiate

Educating our children so that, when there’s a conflict situation, they’re able to negotiate, is very important in order to reach agreements and avoid fights. If they, from an early age, are clear about this, they’ll know how to make exchanges to benefit both parties.

9. Be a good role model

It’s useless to ask children to treat others well and not to argue if they observe that we have those same attitudes. If they hear us say that this or that person is stupid and doesn’t understand anything, among other things, they’ll also start to use those phrases. If we display aggressive behaviors, how do we expect our children not to try to solve problems in the same way?

10. Control what they watch on TV and what they play

Monitoring the content they access and the games they play is very important. For example, there are many television programs that aren’t intended for children and yet parents let them watch them. Any program, series, or movie in which violence is the way to resolve conflicts will only encourage these behaviors in them.

On how to avoid fights between siblings

Now you know some tips that you can put into practice to avoid fights between siblings. It’s true that when they happen, they’re a source of stress for parents who sometimes don’t know what to do to stop them from happening. It’s clear that we must learn to manage conflicts because they’re part of life. Fights between siblings aren’t pleasant, but we can teach our children how to resolve them in a respectful way.

Maybe in life, they’ll find themselves in many situations where they disagree with each other, but that doesn’t mean we have the right to disrespect anyone, much less insult or hit them. These lessons are very important, as they’ll help them, not only to avoid fights with their sibling but also to apply them to the rest of their lives with anyone.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • de Miguel, P. M. (2010). Peleas entre hermanos. Escuela en acción. Infantil, (10636), 34.
  • Dunn, J. (1986). Relaciones entre hermanos. Morata.
  • Elias, M. J. (2014). Educar con inteligencia emocional: Cómo conseguir que nuestros hijos hijos sean sociables, felices y responsables. DEBOLS! LLO.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.