Because feelings between siblings are often more heightened than with friends or more distant family, fighting and conflict at home can occur even with children who are normally very well behaved. This can begin very early on, and may cause you a lot of distress, as you start to worry that your kids may never get along. By seeing these conflicts as opportunities to grow as a parent and to help your children learn how to manage anger, they can be far more positive than you may think.
- Set a good example
If you and your husband spend most of your time shouting at each other, losing your temper and exposing your kids to hostility and anger, you’re sending a powerful negative message. Work together to communicate calmly and effectively and your influence will spread to the rest of the family. You can teach your kids that screaming and making threats doesn’t help anyone, and that arguments can be resolved peacefully.
- Teach anger management strategies
If your children struggle to control their tempers, help them develop positive coping mechanisms to manage difficult feelings. Sometimes tricks as simple as closing your eyes and counting to ten, taking deep breaths with each count, can be a great way to slow the rush of emotions and stop a fight in its tracks. Separating your kids and putting time outs in place may also help soothe hot tempers before fights escalate out of control.
- Know when to intervene
Sometimes, it’s okay to let arguments play out on their own, especially between older kids. If the children are too young to express themselves properly or violence comes into the picture then its usually best to step in and calm things down, but otherwise it may be best to observe from the outside to see how things progress. If they can’t resolve the argument on their own, step in and point out what you’ve noticed taking place, and encourage apologies where you think they may be necessary.