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How do I stop my children from bickering?

This is a question I read all the time and can defiantly remember feeling like a ringleader at times when mine were younger.

I seem to remember the saying “ding, ding round 3 “or whatever number I was at for the day was a common saying!

Truth is all children bicker to some extent and there will be nothing you can do to stop it!

And you should not (this in no way encourages violence or bullying this blog is for everyday squabbles between siblings!) learning to build your own relationship with your siblings and how to resolve your own conflicts are important skills.

Children learn some amazing skills when they are bickering with their siblings.

So, when do you step in and how do you make sure it is not all the time and driving you barmy!

The important thing is to make sure that they are learning the skills to resolve sibling disputes respectfully and in a way that matches your family systems and beliefs (for example, some families don’t mind swearing, others do )

Firstly, stepping in?

When it gets physical, or you judge that this has turned hurtful!

And I do not mean step in like a raging bull.

“IF you two don’t stop bickering by the count of three I will…….”

I mean take a deep breath and start the long journey of teaching them how to handle conflict and their big emotions, if you meet their high energy aggressive stance with your own it is just bashing two stones together and will not get you anywhere!

Stepping in to mediate and teach will initially take longer and is not an instant fix,

You need to be the calm one to step in, shouting will not help in the long run!

We have a no shouting rule in my house and a no hurting each other rule.

Although it felt impossible to not shout at the start you do end up retraining yourself as you teach them, now as teenagers my boys do not shout because it is just not something we have ever done. I promise it is worth it!

  • · If they are debating, discussing, and not taking it too far make sure to praise them for example “you two are working this out really well I am impressed”.

  • · If it is the start of an argument try suggestions of a way to handle the disagreements for example “make sure we know all the facts, what really happened?”

  • · Join in the discussion with them and lead the conversation.

  • · Keep an eye out for repetitive situations and catch them at the start, join in and coach the discussion from the start!

If coaching and encouraging just is not going to work this time and the emotions are too high it's time to give them some space, its easy to lose control and escalate a disagreement, this can then turn physical.

  • · Separate your children, tell them it’s time to take some deep breaths and control that temper because we don’t want to hurt each other.

  • · Avoid saying anything that will hurt your child, it's best for you to take some time as well, it’s easy to meet their energy at the higher levels which is not a good place to stay in control!

  • · Make sure you don’t make negative comparisons to each other “you should have known better because!”

  • · Identify the cause of the fight. Get down to their level to make sure you are not towering over anyone and discuss what this fight is about making it age-appropriate.

  • · Make sure you treat them fairly if you have consequences in your house or just let them learn natural consequences of having upset the family status quo.

  • · Brainstorm together (if age appropriate) how you can avoid having to be in this situation again. Write it down so they know you are taking it seriously.

  • · If you cannot get to a solution to this now then come back to it, ask for help if needed!

These are generic tips and not the end of the road if you would like any support or ideas on how to support your children in learning conflict resolution, then please get in contact with me.

There are also facilities to gain support threw the country if you need support finding a local service then drop me a message.

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