Mind & Spirit

Doctor's advice: How to help when siblings fight

Author: Canadian Living

Mind & Spirit

Doctor's advice: How to help when siblings fight

This story was originally titled "Your Kids: 6-11 Years" in the July 2009 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!

The situation
: My house is a battleground for my daughters. The fighting is getting physical and one or both goes to bed crying almost every night. Help!

The solution:
Fights among siblings are very common. Parents generally find these battles stressful and exhausting. Often they become judges, ruling on who's right and who's wrong. Or, they tell their children to work it out themselves. But many children don't have the ability to resolve conflicts on their own.

Your girls are at a good age to learn these skills, with your guidance. Ask them to describe what happened and help them identify where they disagree and agree. Encourage them to express their feelings and what they would like to see happen. Then, have them propose some solutions and help them assess how realistic their suggestions are. The goal is for them to find a solution they can both live with. With practice, they can do this independently.

Elizabeth Church is a psychologist, professor and the author of Understanding Stepmothers.
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Mind & Spirit

Doctor's advice: How to help when siblings fight

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