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7 Ways To Deal With Sibling Rivalry

7 Ways To Deal With Sibling Rivalry

You’ve probably had to referee sibling fighting and rivalry from time to time, and maybe you’ve had to do more than you’d like. Sibling rivalry is a fact of life. And it can be hard to deal with if you let the children sort out their disputes themselves.

A harmonious home starts with the siblings. When you have peace in your personal space, it’s easier to provide harmony for others too! But when one brother or sister has issues trying to get along with another? It can be challenging – that’s why parents need guidance on how best to handle these disputes before they become big problems down the road.

In This Post

7 Ways To Deal With Sibling Rivalry

1. Take Some Deep breaths

Counting to 10 helps keep your emotions in check.

You don’t want to lose your cool during a fight between siblings, and if you do, you also become part of the problem, and the situation will only worsen. So breathe deep and stay calm. If you can tell that the situation is getting out of hand, you want to 

2. Step In And Guide

Some parents believe that it’s best to let their children handle conflict on their own. That can be true, as long as children have the tools they need and are taught how to argue constructively with positive outcomes for all parties involved—and if not?

Intervention should happen immediately, Intervention should happen immediately, that way you don’t see an argument heating up or physical aggression taking place at home!

One of the best tools parents can teach their children is

3. Conflict Resolution

Sibling Rivalry

Learning how to resolve conflicts is so essential for children’s development. It helps them avoid future fighting and teaches constructive dispute resolution skills that they will use throughout their lives!

Children who learn how to handle conflicts in a constructive manner know what is essential, not just for themselves but also on an everyday basis with family members.

They are taught the importance of patience and empathy, making settling disputes much easier down the line when they start dealing with these issues outside their home environment.

When children learn to resolve disputes with their brothers and sisters, they will become adults skilled at resolving differences. Additionally, this helps kids develop better relationships with others as well!

For conflict resolution to be successful, every person must be willing to

4. Listen To Each Side

In sibling fights, there will be two sides to each story. The goal for the children involved in the battle and their parents is to feel like they are being listened to without judgment or interruption.

This often helps them realize that what happened has been heard while also allowing room for negotiation on how an issue may be best resolved. Giving feedback can sometimes do just enough to open up lines of communication between parties, so we don’t end up repeating past mistakes!

But to be able to listen to each side without judgments, there needs to be a

5. The Non-Negotiable Rule About Respect

This is important because it teaches children to treat others with kindness and respect. Having a rule which doesn’t allow name-calling, hitting, or other physical aggression against one another teaches children how effectively work through a difficult situation.

Be sure they listen carefully before speaking up so that you can give them credit for their opinions, too, even if he ends up disagreeing on certain things.

Before the problem can indeed be solved, the issue at hand needs to be identified. So

6. Encourage Your Children To Clearly State The Problem

Sibling Rivalry

Your child should focus on what they are upset about rather than how their sibling is acting. For instance, if your child feels that they get no say in choosing the games, then your child should state this problem by saying something like

“I want to choose the games sometimes”

Rather than

“You never let me choose, you’re not being fair.”

By being specific regarding an issue (the need for both parties to have equal representation), problems can become more easily solved instead of getting caught up in fighting between each other because some sort of dialogue has been created regarding the issue.

Now for any problem to be solved, 

7. There needs to be a solution

You want each child involved in the problem to come up with some solutions.

Encourage your children to put themselves in the other person’s shoes before making suggestions. They may be able to come up with a fair solution for both sides and will work best. It is important to write down ALL the answers, even if you know they will not work as parents.

It’s up to your children to learn which solutions work and which ones won’t.

Encourage your children to name possible solutions and then write them down. Once all solutions have been written down. Next, 

encourage your children to pick a solution and give it a try. 

If it doesn’t work, they can continue down the list to find an answer that fixes the problem.

Why Do Siblings Fight?

One second siblings may be getting along great and then the next second they are arguing. It makes parents wonder what happened in those short brief moments.

The way your children interact with each other is affected by their personality, age, and which needs they have. This can lead to conflict as well!

Here are a few factors that can contribute to sibling rivalry:

1. Age

Children who are closer in age tend to fight more than children who are farther spaced out. Now, that doesn’t mean that children closer in age will never get along or siblings with a bigger age gap will never fight. Studies have shown that siblings closer in age tend to fight more than children who are farther apart. 

2. Temperments

Your children’s moods and characters can affect how they get along. For example, if one sibling is laid back while another has an outgoing personality trait then it might be difficult for them to stay calm around each other at times.

3. Parenting Strategy For Handling Conflict

One of the most significant factors in fostering family peace is controlling and disinterested parents. This parenting style has been shown to stimulate more rivalry among siblings than it does when parents are mediators or coaches for their child’s differences with another person (or thing).

What Does Sibling Rivalry Look Like?

Parents often marvel at the clever and devious ways that children fight with their siblings. Here are just a few examples of how sibling rivalry can look:

  • Lying
  • Power Stuggles
  • Tatteling
  • Name-calling
  • Putting another sibling down
  • Blaming
  • Stealing eachothers things
  • Hitting
  • Arguing
  • Ruining something that belongs to another sibling
  • Throwing things at eachother
  • Glaring at eachother
  • Sticking tounges out
  • Taking something important
  • Playing Mom/Dad’s favorite
  • Phycial agression

Some of the things that parents find themselves doing to resolve conflicts between their children might be agonizingly familiar.

Many feel like they have no choice because it’s just so frustrating when you see these little disputes getting out of control, not only hurting feelings but also relationships between family members who love each other very much.

Concerns About Sibling Fighting?

It’s normal for parents to be concerned about sibling fights. Many parents wonder if the fighting will never stop if someone will get physically hurt if self-esteem will be affected, and what seems to concerns parents the most is that they hope their children will have great adult relationships with each other.

There are a few things that parents can do to help reduce the amount of fighting between siblings, but it’s important to remember that some fighting is normal and even beneficial for children.

The Benefits Of Sibling Fighting

 Yes, it may sound strange that there are some benefits to siblings fighting with each other. What is most important to remember is that leaving siblings to “figure it out on their own” doesn’t work.

This doesn’t work because the aggressor (the child causing the fighting) is learning that they have power over a weaker person or in this case their sibling. The victim (the child who is being picked on) is learning that they have to submit to the will of their sibling to stop the fighting.

Children who are taught how to effectively deal with disputes and who have proper negotiation and compromise skills can be left to “figure it out on their own” but even then, parents should remain nearby to step in as a guide if they see things are escalating. 

Now through fighting, children learn:

  • How to resolve conflict
  • How to express their feelings in an appropriate way
  • They also learn how to negotiate and compromise
  • To resolve differences
  • Assertive and stand up for themselves
  • How to find solutions that benefit everyone

This doesn’t just happen by leaving siblings to “figure it out on their own”. By being a guide, parents can help their children learn how to effectively hand disputes between one another. When this skill is taught it can lead to children doing this on their own without their parent’s engagement, therefore, taking you out of the picture. 


Start looking at sibling rivalry from a new perspective. Instead of seeing it as annoying, frustrating, or something you just don’t want to get involved with.

Start looking at sibling fighting as opportunities for you as a parent to help teach your children some very valuable life skills and remember the 7 things we covered in the beginning because they will help you successfully mediate sibling rivalry.