The following Parenting Tip is from the National Center for Biblical Parenting. Click on the link to subscribe for FREE E-mail tips. The Elkhorn Hills UMC Adult Education Committee has sponsored parenting classes from the National Center for Biblical Parenting in the past. A number of their books are available in the Elkhorn Hills UMC library.
One of the most challenging aspects of family life is sibling conflict. You want your children to have close relationships as they get older but knowing how to get there is not easy.
An important strategy for addressing sibling conflict is to discipline the children separately, not together. When two children are fighting, call one out of the room and talk about how to deal with the conflict. By removing just one of the children you’re able to help that child develop better conflict management skills. When your son complains that you’re only disciplining him and not his sister, explain to him that he and his sister need help in different ways, and right now you’re helping him.
Teach children how to confront, ignore, negotiate, compromise, talk about problems, and be a peacemaker. And when they’ve reached a point of frustration, rather than lash out, they need to get help, typically from you. Do some brainstorming together and then end the child back into the situation to try again. You may call the same child out of an activity five or ten times to continue to point out the change that needs to take place.
Recognizing that sibling conflict is an opportunity for relationship training gives the conflict a whole new perspective. As you listen to your children’s interaction you’ll be able to identify specific skills they need, buttons that are easily pushed, and relating weaknesses that need to be addressed.
For more heart-based strategies for your family, consider the book The Christian Parenting Handbook by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. A great reference book for every home.