Sibling Rivalry: 5 ways to stop the kids fighting

Sibling rivalry is common in every home. It’s only natural for siblings to fight occasionally. It’s how you deal with sibling rivalry and sibling fighting that will help your children to get along.

Sibling Rivalry: 5 ways to stop the kids fighting

Sibling Rivalry: How to diffuse it

1.) Don’t play favorites

Have you ever been asked “Mommy/Daddy, who is your favorite child? They go quiet while they eagerly wait for your answer and look at you with pleading eyes while you ponder, so anxiously hoping you would say their name so they can “one-up” the other. You know that you have to choose your words very carefully…

Ask them how it would be possible to choose a favorite when they are both so very different? Then remind them of a few of the very unique qualities you love about each of them that endears them to you in a special way.

Be very specific when listing their good qualities. In our case we mention the fact that Alex always does her chores without being asked and loves to help mommy. To Josh we acknowledge how smart he is and how much we appreciate how he always teaches us interesting facts about space. I mean, how would we otherwise have known how many planets there are in the solar system, their order in the galaxy according to size and matter, and when we can expect the next solar flare from the sun?

2) Encourage their friendship

Remind them of all the friends you had in the past that you’ve lost touch with. Teach them that friends are fleeting but family is forever. They might as well learn to get alongbecause they are in each others’ lives forever.

3) Force them to co-operate

Put them in a situation where they are forced to work together. If they are fighting it means they are bored. A boredom buster can be chores.

You can give your children a list of simple chores they have to complete together. No playing until their chores are done. It forces them to work together and to communicate with one another. Giving them a common goal will go a long way to resolve the conflict.

3) Help them to serve one another

Ask one child to assist the other instead of helping them yourself. In my experience, when I give my son an opportunity to do something “brotherly” for his little sister, he spends the rest of the day LOOKING for other ways to help her.

4) Unplug them

Switch off the TV, take away the games and computers until the only entertainment they have is each other. You will find that the best imaginary games emerge when the children are unplugged from technology.

5) Separate them when necessary

Sometimes the squabbling and fighting gets so bad that the only thing you can do for their own safety and your sanity is to separate them. As much as they couldn’t stand each other in those moments of fighting, they would rather be fighting together than lonely apart.

Are your children fighting even though they have a close relationship? Share a comment below and tell me what works for you?


Anthea O'Neill is a wife and proud mom of three. She is front-end web developer, blogger and a self-proclaimed glitter & yarn addict. Anthea's Project Life is a blog for the modern mom.

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  1. This is such great advice. My 2 older ones are forever at each other’s throats but at the same time can’t live without each other.

  2. Anthea, your suggestions are absolutely spot-on! I only have one child. However, I had a very close friend who had three kids all around the same age as my son. Therefore, there would be fighting. I used all of your suggestions at some point or another with the four of them and it worked! These are tried and true methods!

  3. pamela says:

    I’ll never ever get tired of seeing pics of my two favourite grandchildren in all the world & it helps that they’re the only ones I have at the moment:)

    1. Anthea says:

      Secret confession: I read this post often too just for the pics 😀 Especially when they’re fighting and I’m pulling my hair out!! xxx

  4. pamela says:

    A case in point was my christmas presents last year. Both you girls bought me the identical products which happened to be my all time favourite, the difference was in the variants. I valued my life too much to admit to prefering one above the other when questioned 🙂 and so it continues…however, when I’m taken out of the equation the three of you are the best of pals.

  5. This is a great blog. We did this with our sons who used to try to beat one another to death, We always treated them the same, loved them the same. After the teenage years, I got them to see that they were different people, like dad and I. Everything you’re saying works and I can now tell you that they’re best friends, totally trust one another; they worked together on a business and are really close.

    1. Anthea says:

      Thanks for letting me know that your sons are so close! I must say I worry sometimes!

  6. Teresa says:

    Wow u getting good na. Just one thingie… Why did’nt u use a pic of Jose & Alex together for the opening. Mwah

    1. Anthea says:

      Thought you might be getting tired of seeing their faces hehehe

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