The kids not getting along is one of the most common issues parents seek help for, according to parenting experts.
The good news is conflict between siblings of all ages and genders is very common and it can actually be a very good way to teach kids vital life skills such as negotiation, problem solving, conflict resolution and compromise.
ABC Life spoke with three child and parenting experts for their advice on how to handle your kids yelling at each other, or worse.
Disagreeing with siblings is a good way for children to learn important life skills such as compromise, negotiation, empathy and seeing things from another person’s point of view.
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Nicole Kingston, a family therapist based in Hobart, says while there is a place for helping kids to work out their differences, it’s good to wait a bit before you get involved.
“Even if they have a big blue with each other, five minutes later they can be really loving towards each other,” she says.
Though you should always stop a fight that’s physical or if anyone’s behaviour is unacceptable to you.
“If you intervene too much the kids will get in a cycle of trying to get you to intervene all the time,” she says.
“[If] they don’t [learn] how to manage the ups and downs of life because they’ve only had the ups, when something goes wrong … they find it really difficult to cope with, they’ve got no resilience at all.”
“Mostly you just have to be available to listen and to be present to support and comfort them when they come to you,” she says.
“Often [what’s bothering them] are things we don’t need to fix, we don’t need to manage, we just need to be present and listen.”
Is it bullying?
The Kids Helpline defines bullying as behaviour that is repeated, done on purpose to cause hurt, humiliate or otherwise evoke a negative reaction.
If you have concerns about your children’s behaviour or find it hard to handle, speak with your GP or a psychologist who works with children in your child’s age range.
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