Children in warThe title is a question that every parent has at one time or another. Thanks to Helen Neale from Parenting Tips for 10 and Under for asking, “Tips to Reduce Sibling Bickering…Before I go Totally Mad!?!?”

Sue Atkins responded by saying, “Give each child 10 minutes of undivided attention on their own each day for a week and do some fun stuff – fills up their emotional bucket so reduces competitiveness.” That’s so true, kids need to know they’re loved for the individual that they are. 

I don’t think sibling bickering can be stopped, nor do I think it should be stopped. Bickering and how it’s resolved teaches kids way too much about relationships to stop it. However, it can be handled differently. 

Here’s an idea to use when a sibling disagreement breaks out. Become a neutral observer who’s only job is to ask each child the exact same question so they learn how to resolve things themselves—as you stand there. Explain to the kids that everyone has a different way of seeing things, and that your questions are about hearing your siblings thoughts and feelings, not about correcting your sibling or making them wrong. 

Ask the exact same question to both kids, and then say nothing else. You’re role is the facilitator, not the judge or jury.

EX: Tell your sibling what you think started the fight. 
Tell your sibling what you were feeling as you were fighting. Were you mad or sad etc? 
Tell your sibling what you think should happen now. 
Tell your sibling why you think this will work or not work? 
Do you agree with the suggestion that’s been made to end this? 
This type of questioning teaches siblings that respectful communication is how we handle disagreements in this house. Come on back and let me know if this works.