CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Many kids are lucky enough to become best friends with one or more of their siblings. But sometimes there can be some sibling rivalry that will make you feel more like a referee than a parent! Clinical Psychologist Dr. Elaine Ducharme shared some tips.
Why Do Kids Fight
1. Evolving needs…toddlers are often very protective of their toys, school age kids often preoccupied with a sense of fairness teens want their privacy and may resent being asked to babysit younger sibs
2. Individual temperaments
3. Special needs/sick kids
4. Role models…if you and your spouse are constantly fighting and yelling your kids will probably do the same
5. To get your attention
What is the best way to handle it?
1. Have basic safety rules
2. If kids are out totally out of control…separate them until they are calm..then discuss
3. Don’t put too much emphasis on figuring out who is to blame…unless it is an older child who you see really bullying a younger child.
4. With younger kids sit down and help them problem solve “what do you think we could do”…sometimes it can be a win/win. Other times it is an opportunity to teach kids that sometimes not everything seems fair. This is a really important life lesson
5. Whenever possible let the kids figure it out. Don’t get involved.
6. Try to have special time with each child on a regular basis.
When should I seek professional help?
If you feel one child is constantly being targeted, in danger of being physically hurt or hurting others, or leading to marital problems, talking to a psychologist or other mental health professional may be very helpful.