There is a fine line between love and hate. One minute my children absolutely adore each other, the next they are winding each other up beautifully. Sibling arguments happen daily in this house, usually over nothing, and at times it makes me want to pull my hair out! Siblings are bound to fight and bicker, but sometimes us parents just want a little peace, is that too much to ask?
Raising siblings of the opposite gender was always going to be challenging, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Mia and Theo are best friends, they’ve been incredibly close since day one. They both inherited my fiery temper, and that combined with their close relationship causes them to clash regularly. They are utterly hilarious, a comedy double act when there is no rivalry or bad feeling between them, but when one is tired or the other has had a bad day, the peace and harmony is obliterated within seconds. My mum always used to say ‘it’ll end in tears’. Now I find myself saying the very same sentence almost every day!
It’s been over half a decade since I became a mother of two.
As the years have gone by, the amount of squabbling has increased, but as the children get older I am finding it much easier to diffuse any sibling hostility. I think the most important thing to remember is that no two children are the same. Each child has their own unique needs and qualities and similarities and differences between siblings need to be respected. Not just by each other, but also by parents. For years now I have been very guilty of expecting the same from each child, however, my children are very different. Since I have become more aware of their differences, I’ve gained a better understanding of the reasons why they clash.
It’s also important to set clear rules and boundaries. Mia and Theo get five warnings each day. If they receive five warnings they lose a privilege such as their tablet for the rest of the day. This has worked well, especially with Theo as he’s usually the one who gets the most warnings!
Never take sides. Siblings can usually resolve disputes on their own.
However if you need to get involved make sure you don’t favour either child, even if you know which child is in the wrong. Whenever I sense an argument brewing between the children I make sure they have some time apart, usually in different rooms of the house. This usually dissolves any bad feeling before it evolves into a battle.
Each child needs to know they are loved, even if they have been displaying difficult behaviour. 1-1 time with each child is massively important. I love spending time with just Mia or just Theo. It doesn’t happen often but when it does happen it benefits us all. I often find that the amount of sibling disagreements lessens with family or 1-1 time. I also make sure I praise the children when they are getting along nicely.
Of course, what works for one family may not work for another but hopefully these tips will ease any anger within your home. Sibling arguments are inevitable, but keeping the sibling bond in tact is vital.