Kid conflict is natural. As a parent, you will realize that your children fight with each other for many reasons. And we often have difficulty knowing when to let it run its course and when to intervene and how to stop your kids from fighting. Kids, especially siblings, tend to fight for the silliest reasons, which can be a friendship maker or worse a breaker in the minds of your children.
While having disagreements or rivalry is an indispensable part of child development, parents can do a lot to prevent sibling fights by helping their children learn to get along as well as teaching them better ways of resolving conflicts. With our effort, we can minimize or keep our kids from fighting at all.
How to stop your kids from fighting?
1. Teach your kids problem-solving skills
Even small kids can understand the basic issues of no fighting and fairness. Parents should talk to children about fighting and other ways they can apply to solve the problem. It’s important that we teach our kids problem-solving skills at their early age.
Parents will be those who set the ground rules of what kids can and cannot do to resolve a problem. For example, let them know that yelling, crying, or hitting are never good ways of solving problems. Ask the child to come up with some possible solutions and then let them try it out. Your children are creative and you might be shocked at the way they do it. With your support, the kids know what works best.
As you are your children’s problem-solving coach, you will teach them how to handle disagreements and then guide them towards essential skills for managing angry feelings, negotiating, and playing fair.
Some steps for coaching your children in problem-solving you can try are:
- Give your kids chances to play with others. These playgroups will help siblings learn to play well together and choose positive alternatives to fighting.
- Support your children to find ways to express their upset through calm words or positive actions. For example, painting or playdough may help younger children express feelings. Older children may find that kicking a ball or playing music helps.
- Teach and model the “respectfully disagreeing” social skill. This includes saying something you can both agree on and then saying what you disagree with. For example, you can say “I agree that Dad gave you the doll for your birthday, but I don’t think it’s fair to stop your sister from playing it if she asks politely.
2. Minimize occasions for fighting
Consider all the possible reasons that kids can fight and try to do what you can to eliminate those situations. Parents should determine when youngsters are at their worst, for example when they’re hungry or tired or just had a bad day, and find effective ways to minimize any potential fight zones.
3. Don’t pay attention
How to stop your kids from fighting? Paying no attention to them is a possible way. It sounds quite unreasonable but there are times you shouldn’t pay attention to them. Usually, most kid fights are not meaningful and will quickly end on their own. Parents’ intervention may delay the process of children working it out themselves.
One of the reasons for sibling rivalry is to get adults’ attention. If we ignore the fighting and don’t allow it to become a “center stage” in the house, the kids will find less reason to do it. An ideal way you can try is to declare a separate room in your house as “the fighting room”. Anytime siblings fight, just tell them to go the “fight room” and they are not allowed to get out until their fight is worked out.
4. Use praise and positive reinforcement
Notice and give compliments to your children when they are having good behaviors. Praise and positive reinforcement help are good ways to build positive child behaviors. The key point is to ignore fighting and then pay more attention to their positive behavior. In this way, children will quickly get a notice that good behaviors will get them more attention than negative ones.
As you tell your kids clearly and specifically what they are doing well, they are likely to do those good things again. Consider these praises as suggestions to help your kids.
- “I really like the way you help the elderly cross the road.”
- “My lovely kids! You are sharing and playing nicely together! I love it!”
- “You’ve worked out that issue really well! How about celebrating with a movie tonight?”
5. Show your children how to get along
Just always keep in mind that you are your children’s number-one role model. Kids will notice if their parents work out differences without fighting.
If you want to raise kids who can work things out calmly and respectfully, they need to witness you doing this. If you want them to know how to say sorry to others, you need to let them see you apologize to kids when you have mistakes too.
All of us want to raise close-knit siblings. And to achieve that goal, it’s super vital to know how to stop your kids from fighting! Kindness is important. Take the time to foster it in your own home, and you should know that you’re doing your part to create a gentler world.