- Set Ground Rules for acceptable behaviours. Kids need to know that certain behaviours are not okay. Examples include; swearing, name calling, yelling, door slamming, etc. Get their input into the rules as well as the consequences if these guidelines aren't followed. Kids will learn that they are responsible for their own actions regardless of how provoked they might feel and prevents slipping into the negotiation of who was "right" and who was "wrong".
- Remind them that things aren't always going to be "fair" or "equal". There will be times that one child is going to need more than the other. That being said, parents need to be sure that one child's needs aren't constantly being ignored due to the fact they are more easy going or less demading.
- Plan to spend time with your kids, one-on-one. Make sure that this special time is directed to their interests and needs. This is when really knowing your child and waht interests them is key.
- Make sure kids have their own space and time to do their on thing. Help them develop the skills to play with toys by themselves, and play with friends without siblings always having to be with them. This helps them develop their own sense of self and personal interests.
- Through actions and words let your kids know that your love for them comes without limits. From a young age, children need to know that parental love isn't something that has to be divided up.
- Let your kids know that they are safe, important and needed. Let them know that their needs (as unique as they are) will be met.
- Have fun together as a family. Whether you are watching a movie, throwing a ball, or playing a game, you are establising a peaceful way for your kids to spend time together
and relate to one another. This can help to ease tension between them and keeps you (the parent) involved. Since parental attention is something many kids fight over, fun family activities can help reduce conflict.
- If your children frequently squabble over the same things, (video game, computer time, tv remote) post a schedule showing which child is in charge of that item at what times during the week. If the fighting continues, remove the time completely until they have figured out a way to share the item peacefully.
- If fights between your school aged children are frequent, hold weekly family meetings in which you repeat the rules about fighting and review past sucesses in reducing conflicts. Having your kids earn points for dealing with conflict peacefully that can be put towards a fun family event might add an extra incentive to stop constant squabbling.
Good luck as you attempt to reduce fighting and aggression in your family. In recognition of Family Violence Prevention Month the Town of Beaumont FCSS is hosting a Parent Workshop on the topic of Sibling Rivalry on November 16, 2009. At the Beaumont Community Youth Centre from 7-8:30pm. Childcare (4+) will be provided. Phone Jenny at 780 929 9271 too register.