Putting Sibling Rivalries to a HALT!

How to stop sibling rivalry

There is something special about sharing your childhood with someone close to your age. You and your sibling(s) are the only ones who have gone through some of the same things and the only ones who truly understand your household and your parents. But let’s face it, we’ve all seen those little kids at the grocery store or a neighborhood park screaming at each other, hitting each other, or fighting over toys.

I have a sister who is two years younger than I am and growing up we bickered all the time. We would fight over who got to lick the batter off the spatula, who would get to use the special cup, and numerous other pointless things. Today, however, my sister and I are closer than most siblings. She is my confidant, my comedian, and my best friend. And I must say that I owe most of our strong relationship to my parents.

Yes, my parents sometimes imposed timeouts when we fought. However, there are two specific things that my parents did that I use with my own kids. The first is something my mom would tell us, whether or not we were fighting, from the day my sister was born. She always said, “Your sister is the best gift I will ever give you.” Coming from a family of five girls, she knew that statement to be true and now I completely agree. There is no gift she could give me that would be better than having my sister. Having our mom always instill such a strong importance of sisterhood in us really helped my sister and me realize how lucky we are and taught us to appreciate each other more. My dad used another strategy. Anytime my sister and I would fight or argue about something, he would make us stop whatever we were doing and he would make us put our foreheads together. We were always hesitant at first, but as soon as our foreheads touched and we locked eyes, we couldn’t help but laugh. The unimportant thing we were arguing about before became meaningless the second our foreheads touched.

So, to the parents out there who want their children to get along, I suggest those two strategies. Always show that you value your family and have a strong relationship with your siblings. Just as my parents did, many other parents have found that making their kids do something like holding hands, squeezing into one large tee-shirt together, sitting nose to nose, or hugging until the anger ceases, helps stop the arguing. Other successful strategies include scheduling weekly one-on-one time with each child, staying calm while your children talk out their frustrations, and creating a chore jar with all kinds of chores children must do if fighting breaks out. Every child is different, so try out various strategies to see what works best and then stay consistent!

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