How to Help Your Children Not to Fight
Sibling disputes are common during childhood and can be a real headache for parents. As parents, we want our children to get along with each other, to respect each other, and to learn to live together in harmony. But we need to teach them how to achieve this, just as we do with so many other skills. For the same reason, we’ll share with you some keys to help your children not to fight.
Conflicts between children can occur for any reason: From not wanting to share a toy, to fighting for the TV remote control, or due to a simple disagreement or misunderstanding. This can lead to shouting, crying, accusations, and even mutual aggression; Therefore, as adults, we must prevent and teach them to resolve these unpleasant situations in the most civilized way possible.
If you have more than one child and conflicts occur daily, this article is for you. Don’t miss it!
Keys to helping your children not to fight
Helping your children not to fight among themselves is a matter of perseverance and a lot of patience. Keep in mind that it’s not a matter of scolding, yelling, or punishing them when they argue, but of educating them in values, emotions, and assertiveness so that they know how to face discrepancies properly. To achieve this, we propose some guidelines. Take note!
Avoid encouraging rivalry
On many occasions, sibling fights arise from a rivalry that, without realizing it, parents create or feed. For example, when they compare them and tell a child that their brother is better at something; when they show clear favoritism for one child and always take their side, or when they neglect one of the two to attend to the other.
Practice respectful parenting
This is the fundamental key to teaching your children not to fight. It’s not a matter of acting once the dispute has occurred, but of educating in a way that helps to prevent its occurrence. This parenting style accompanies and validates children’s emotions, helps them to understand and manage them, and thus creates children who are better able to regulate their emotions and relate to each other.
In this case, you’ll be the main role model. When your children have an emotional outburst, express anger, frustration, or disgust, don’t lose your temper or try to repress these expressions. On the contrary, be patient and understanding, help them understand what they feel and why, validate their emotions, and accompany them with serenity until they can return to their center.
As they grow older, your children will be able to understand and manage those emotions themselves in a way that doesn’t involve outbursts or aggression, as they will have learned to do so from the beginning. In addition, they’ll be more sensitive and empathetic to other people’s emotions, and this will help them in their social relationships.
Offer emotional management tools
An argument is always produced by an emotion that overflows us and that we don’t know how to handle. Therefore, it’s very useful to teach children simple emotional management tools. They can use them when they feel irritated, angry, offended, or sad, especially to calm down before exploding against other people.
One of the best examples is breathing techniques, but you can also create a calm corner, encourage children to draw to get rid of that excess energy, or create a song with instructions to manage that feeling.
Instruct them in assertiveness
Assertiveness is the most important skill for dealing with disagreements and, in general, for improving relationships with other people. It refers to the ability to assert one’s rights without losing respect for those in front of us. Therefore, we have to teach children to express their wishes and opinions, to make requests, and know how to refuse them, negotiate, and reach agreements.
This isn’t an easy task and we have to model these strategies day by day when we talk to them so that they can integrate and imitate them. Therefore, giving them orders and ignoring their opinions isn’t the most appropriate thing to do; on the contrary, we must encourage them to say what they think with respect, to ask for what they need in a good way, and to know how to give in when necessary.
It’s important to keep in mind that children need to practice these skills until they manage them. Therefore, instead of resolving their disagreements yourself, encourage them to express themselves and negotiate among themselves, adopting the role of guide and mediator.
Set clear limits
Although we shouldn’t intervene excessively in children’s disagreements, we do have to set limits and be firm about them. One of the most important is the following guideline: “Aggression of any kind, whether physical or verbal, isn’t allowed, no matter how upset we are”.
So, if one of your children assaults the other, you must separate them immediately and, when they calm down, help them reflect on what happened. It’s also important to teach them to apologize for what happened and repair the damage as much as possible.
Encourage a strong bond to help your children not to fight
Finally, make an effort to encourage the bond between your children, to encourage them to see each other as friends, companions, and accomplices. To do this, besides avoiding rivalries and competitions between them, make sure they spend valuable and enriching time together; share experiences as a family, play games or dynamics to get to know each other better, show affection, and generate emotional intimacy.
There’s no need for your children to be the same to love each other and get along well, they just need to learn to respect and appreciate their differences.
Be the example and teach them to relate without fighting
In short, to help your children not to fight, you must be an example of conduct, a guide, and a teacher. Validate their emotions, listen to them, negotiate, and be patient and assertive. This way, they’ll learn to be patient and assertive with their siblings.
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.
- Lansbury, J. (2014). Elevating child care: A guide to respectful parenting. JLML Press.
- Thompson, C. (2021). The Impact of a Classroom Calm Down Corner in a Primary Classroom. NWCommons. Recuperado 2022, de https://nwcommons.nwciowa.edu/education_masters/302/