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Siblings - what to do with their fighting?

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

Have you been wondering how to handle sibling rivalry from a Positive Parenting perspective? You may find my advice quite surprising!

I realise I didn't really finish my sibling series (here's Parts 1 and 2) - I figured I needed to complete the series with some concrete 'action' and advice.


I told you you might be surprised! Let's take a deeper look at what is going on in a sibling argument.

What is happening? Sibling Rivalry explained..

Often, our kids are fighting because they are looking for some form of attention from an adult - you'll notice that they fight more 'within' than 'out of' earshot (or if they don't, then very soon one of them will make enough noise for you to be able to hear them VERY easily.

And, I've said in my previous posts, we tend to 'side' with one of the siblings (more often the younger one, who cries when they have been hit, or treated unfairly, by their older sibling). But BOTH kids are, generally, getting something from the fight.

Positive Discipline encourages us to put both kids in the same boat, to treat them equally, and there are three options for that:

1. Beat it

2. Bear it

3. Boot 'em out.

I promised you concrete solutions, so: When your two boys are fighting (believe me, I have quite a lot of experience in this ;-) ,

  1. Beat it: If you are in the room, then make eye contact, and leave. Let them know that you will be available in the kitchen, and that you have faith in their ability to work out their disagreement themselves.

  2. Bear it: You can choose to stay in the room (or come in, if you're elsewhere in the home). Make eye contact, and then simply sit there as a silent observer. Make sure that you are able to stay regulated, keep calm and say nothing if you want to try this option (it could be good to have a book to read). This response, when our kids are expecting/appealing to us to get involved, can surprise them. Once they realise that they're not going to get anything from Mum, then they often stop and move on to something else.

  3. Boot 'em out: Go into the room and ask both kids to leave - you can suggest they go to their own rooms, go to the peace table to find a solution, or, if they want to continue fighting, they can take it outside to the garden (in our case the courtyard of our shared building). The important thing is that you treat them both in exactly the same way.

Individual Parent Coaching

If you are fed up with your kids' constant bickering and fighting, I can help. I work online with parents as a Positive Parenting coach and can help you transform your family. Book a chat to find out more .


Or perhaps, you'd be more interested in Group workshops? I run Positive Parenting Club - 6 months of support including a 7 week workshop series to help you set your family up for success. You can read all about it here.


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