‘”Because it is my birthright!” I think this is true for all the siblings.
Siblings! As protective as they are for each other they can be as mean. Especially during the summer vacations when they have to spend enormous amounts of time with each other, the home becomes a war zone and you have to be the UN who has to monitor at all times. Yelling and screaming just does not stop. While you do find solace in the fact that all the siblings fight, how do you live peacefully if you are living with ticking bombs. How long do you ignore it before intervening? Should you wait until they start pulling each others hair?
First thing I have understood is that it is okay for them to disagree or argue a little bit, in fact it helps them bond. My children sometimes pull each other just for fun and if I say something they just giggle. “She took my pencil for no reason”, “Stop blaming me, I didn’t even do anything”, Sound familiar? But incessant quarreling, complaining and whining about each other should be discouraged. Before a small fight turns into a major blow out, step in as the peace maker. Of course you cannot take sides. Listen to both sides of the story before you judge. And trust me no matter how fair you are, one kid will stomp out of the room saying,”Its not fair”.
Why do kids do that?
As they grow they start developing a sense of fairness, which is kind of a good thing but it also leads to the comparisons and eventually fights. Some of the younger kids have the problem that the older one gets to stay up for longer. My younger kid always complained that the older one got to go out alone on her own whereas he had to go with me. Whenever they feel that someone is not fair they fight. Remember for them fair means that they should get everything that they “Want”.
So what do we do?
- Try to get to the root of the problem. If one child is extra cranky make sure they are not hungry or sleepy. Once that has been taken care of, encourage the kid to talk about what is bothering him. Tell them both to be calm and express their emotions in words. The best would be that they resolve their conflict themselves without involving the parents. However, little kids are unable to do so, so you have to get in the middle.
- Spending quality time with each of the kids will greatly improve their behaviour. This has always personally worked for me.
- No comparisons between the two children. They are comparing themselves all the time, parents don’t need to do it. In fact that needs to be discouraged.
- You have to reiterate that you are fair but since everyone is unique they have to be treated differently. There is a difference between fair and equal.
- Fix your own actions as you are their role models :)
- Separate the kids until they’re calm. Make them stay out of each others way until they are ready to be best buddies.
- Make rules for acceptable behavior like no name calling or hitting each other.