Sibling rivalry teaches life long lessons

Consider this: If your child starts a fight with her sibling and you as the parent continuously run over and get into the mix, your child may be learning to connect with you by fighting with her sibling. One of the most important things to our children is their connection with us. Could our response of always trying to break up the fight, actually be part of the problem?

Helping our kids learn how to live with someone who moves through the world differently from them is part of what helps them live well with their siblings. Once we have taught them some skills in managing conflict, sometimes the best solution is to let them work their disputes out themselves.

Read this week’s column in Jackson Hole News & Guide titled “Sibling rivalry teaches life long lessons” to dive into thoughts about sibling rivalry.

Jackson Hole News & Guide:

“Mom, he hit me!”

“Dad, she knocked over my blocks!”

“She’s calling me names.” “He’s sitting too close to me.” “She’s wearing my favorite shirt.”

The list of how siblings fight could go on. It’s one of the most grating sounds to a parent’s ear. And it’s ubiquitous. All siblings fight to some degree during their childhood.

Siblings fight for a host of reasons. The two that stand out the most are vying for a parent’s attention and lacking the skills to compromise, negotiate and manage conflict.

While hearing our kids fight can cause our tempers to accelerate from zero to 60 in a heartbeat, lessons can come from these tense situations. Research suggests that sibling conflicts can result in an increased ability to understand others, manage difficult emotions, negotiate and problem solve.

So what is a parent to do both proactively and in the moment of a knock-down-drag-out fight? Here are some ideas:

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