The Solution To Squabbling Siblings? Do Nothing!
Okay, if you have more than one child you probably haven’t gone through a day without breaking up some sort of fight or argument.
Typical scenario: You’re in the car. Everyone is happy. You start to drive.
Then one child pokes the other. One child screams. The other child screams. “Stop it!” “No you stop it” “He hit me!” “She took my book!” They both scream. You scream. Until it’s such a loud high pitch you are ready to pull your hair out while trying not to get into an accident!
Siblings, that’s what they do. They love each other, they hate each other, they bicker and squabble, it’s how it goes right? Well, it may be okay for them, but I don’t exactly feel like playing referee for the rest of my life. My kids are only 2 and 4 and I feel like I’m always in the middle.
At my daughter’s preschool we have parenting classes and this week we were discussing the topic of sibling rivalry. The solution to it all -do nothing! What? Do nothing?
Yep, our teacher says unless they are in real danger, if there’s no blood then let them work it out. You can’t always be there. They need to learn to be with each other on their own. Genius. You mean don’t get involved and they will figure it out? That sounds scary. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do as moms- come to the rescue? Well, turns out that’s not necessarily the best thing for them.
The Parent educator said if you always intervene you may be fueling the fire. They will wait for you to come to the rescue rather than working it out on their own. Also, there may be risk that you- inadvertently -make it appear that one child is always being protected, fostering resentment and that the rescued kid may feel like they can get away with more.
That’s what's happening in my house. My daughter was the baby, I had to always protect her, but now that she’s 2, she’s not always the innocent one. Doing nothing-it’s super hard, at first made me feel like I was being a bad mom, but you know what, it’s starting to work.
And by doing nothing I don’t necessarily mean just sit there and let them beat each other up, but don’t always try to figure out who is to blame- put them all in the same boat and encourage them to resolve it themselves.
What do you think? How do you solve sibling squabbles?
More parenting advice:
- 10 Things Not Worth Fighting About With Your Teens
- Move It! 8 Ways to Keep Your Kids Active
- How to Reality-Check Your Kids’ Talents