Teaching kids to resolve their own fights

Why did I research this?

My two children argue and fight and I am tired of it.

What did I find?

There is conflict in all relationships, including sibling relationships.  It is up to me to coach them through it so that they come out with strategies to manage their feelings responsibly and later solve their own arguments.

Fighting happens for one of three reasons: boredom, parental attention and/or resentment that has accumulated.  Like anything there are helpful and unhelpful ways to respond to your children’s conflicts.  Unhelpful ways include being the judge without listening to both sides of the story, taking away toys or privileges, giving time outs and punishments, giving negative attention and ignoring the conflict then giving punishments.  Helpful strategies include listening, acknowledging feelings, giving 1:1 time to each child regularly, noticing when your children are playing respectfully and cooperatively with each other, directing your bored child to a new and interesting job or activity, avoiding punishments, helping them to come to resolutions that suit both children through modelling of problem solving.

Why is this useful?

Coaching your kids through conflict now is useful for three reasons.

1. Feeling heard feels good.

2.Respectful conflict resolution skills are much harder to learn as an adult and if left too late can result in aggression and violence.  (Early childhood is the time for mastery).

3. It helps children identify their emotions, express them appropriately and become socially responsible.
~ SM
The Supernanny Team (2014). Sibling rivalry remedies.  Retrieved from:
http://www.supernanny.co.uk/Advice/-/Family-Matters/-/Relationships/Sibling-rivalry-remedies.aspx
Stephens, K (2007). Teaching kids to resolve conflict respectfully.  Retrieved from:
http://www.easternflorida.edu/community-resources/child-development-centers/parent-resource-library/documents/teaching-kids-to-resolve-conflicts-respectfully.pdf