Dear mom: how to handle fighting among siblings; Curbing sibling rivalry and developing relationships to help your children grow up to be best friends.

Dear mom, how handle fighting among siblings

Ruthie Rearing 4 Comments

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I’ve a good friend who’s the brave mama of five kids.  FIVE.  Needless to say, she fields a lot of squabbles.  Today’s question comes from her dear, brave mama’s heart.

How do you handle fighting among siblings?

Dear mom: how to handle fighting among siblings; Curbing sibling rivalry and developing relationships to help your children grow up to be best friends.


When I was a young mama with two toddlers, a mother shared something with me that revolutionized how I navigated the sibling squabbles.

She told me that tattling breeds resentment among siblings.

I’ve found this to be the gospel truth!  Fostering bonding in relationships means letting them work it out on their own and developing problem solving skills.  If you mediate every fight, they won’t know how to get along with others when you’re not around to tell them!

However, kids shouldn’t be allowed to hurt one another intentionally. So it is our place to protect them as well. We need to tailor punishment to fit our crowd – and that takes LOTS of prayer and wisdom from the Lord!

There is a natural pecking order among siblings.  The elders like to control everyone else and sometimes that involves bullying.  We must be careful to be aware of this type behavior and wise in our dealings in order to protect our younger children.


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Wrapping it up

1.)  Don’t let them tattle

Unless someone is really hurt.  You can tell the difference between a whiny cry and a scream of pain.  I always told my kids to work it out, and I didn’t get involved unless there was blood or bite marks.


2.)  Don’t tolerate mean behavior

They’ll wear you out on this but don’t let them be mean. You’re building character and that was always a priority with my kids. Discipline and character were paramount to everything else.

Maintain consistency.  If you’re in the room and notice the older picking on the younger, nip it in the bud.  You may have to separate them for a time.  Sometimes that resolves itself because kids get bored and want to play with each other.


3.)  Make them apologize

It is necessary for them to learn to say, “I’m sorry”.


4.)  Give it lots of time

It sometimes takes years for kids to grow out of this kind of behavior .  Practice consistent discipline – don’t grow weary in well-doing and when you witness mean character, stop to address it.


5.)  Commend good behavior

If not, certain ones will think you’re always picking them apart and think they’re the worst and least favorite – which will in turn reinforce bad behavior.


6.)  Spend one-on-one time with trouble makers as much as possible (but group time is good too)!

Focus on doing things they like or even just making sure you’re listening to them chatter about the things that matter to them.

My kids fought growing up too.  I had a biter and a controller.  And I’m a natural peacemaker, so I didn’t tolerate lots of friction.

Today, my four are best friends.  I’ve 3 girls and 1 boy, ages 20-27, and they cherish the rare times they spend together.

Keep working, mom.  Anything of real value takes lots of time and patience, but you can do it!


Comments 4

  1. No quick formulas for perfect children?? Lol! Thanks for the sound advice and wisdom as usual! I like the idea of spending one on one time with the trouble maker. 🙂

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  2. These are great, Ruthie. I, too, told my kids not to get me unless there was blood … And lots of it. Lol. Also love making them apologize … Nothing more humbling that saying those 3 words …

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      I love it when other seasoned moms tell me about the no-tell unless there’s blood rule at their house too. It makes me feel loads better. Like, I can be compassionate, but telling me 3475854 times a day your sister sat in your chair is not buying my compassion. Come on. 😉

      Love ya, girl!

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