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Video:Reducing Sibling Rivalry Conflict

with Kathy Moore

Constant fighting between siblings can turn a happy home into a house of horrors. Learn ways to reduce sibling rivalry conflict between children in the home.See Transcript

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Transcript:Reducing Sibling Rivalry Conflict

Hi, I am Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. As the mother of two kids, it is very frustrating to see them fight. I think every parent wishes their children could always be sweet and cooperative but sibling rivalry is a fact of life so I am working on some new strategies to try to reduce fighting, teasing, and conflict in our home.

Track Daily Behavior

First of all I have started to keep a little journal so I can track the time of day that my kids fight, cry or whine. After just a few days I noticed that most incidents occur just before a meal or nap time. After making this discovery, I have already become more proactive at working to avoid conflict at these times of the day.

Reduce Mealtime Crankiness

If you notice that conflict seems to happen when mealtime is approaching in your home, try getting the kids involved in meal preparation or setting the table. Engaging in a closely supervised activity can limit behaviors that lead to those annoying little spats.

Focus Your Attention

It is important to remember that often kids are wanting more attention from mom or dad and they will pick on a sibling just to get more attention. If you know the times and triggers for conflicts in your home you can work to head them off before they become full-blown problems.

Teach Empathy

Even with toddlers you can teach coping skills and simple tricks to avoid conflict. I am working with my kids to resist the temptation to shout, cry, or hit in favor of calmly expressing their feelings and wants to one another. I also try to get them to look at the situation from the other's point of view.

Respond to Different Interests

My children are relatively close in age so they often enjoy the same type of activity but it is important to encourage individual interests and provide unique distractions that cater to each child's age and interest level. Some children might be more interested in reading while others might need a tactile activity.

Send Positive Conflict Messages

Remember the old saying, the apple does not fall far from the tree? Both my husband and I have been paying closer attention to how we behave in front of the kids. Children are sponges when it comes to absorbing the atmosphere in the home. If you and your mate model a caring, supportive relationship, your children will learn to behave that way with one another. On the other hand, if you shout and holler at one another your children will learn that behavior too.

Sibling rivalry is as old as Cain and Abel so do not feel bad if your kids seem to clash a lot. Helping children learn to avoid and manage conflict takes lots patience and a sense of humor. And you know, teaching these skills now will benefit your children for their whole lives.

Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at Parenting.about.com.
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