Why Siblings Fight

Although jealousy is what often what comes to mind when siblings fight, it is not the only reason. Sibling squabbles start after the second child is born and continues until both grow old enough to leave the home. Even then, arguments among adult siblings are still not uncommon.

Changing needs

The different needs of children as they grow can affect how they relate to siblings. For example, toddlers are overly possessive of toys and even parents, and seeing a brother and sister playing with a toy he considers his own may trigger this possessiveness. School age children typically have a strong sense of fairness and equality and seeing preferential treatment coming from parents may bother them. Teenagers are at an age when they want to be independent and develop a separate identity from the family and they may resent having to interact or take care of their younger siblings.

Unequal family dynamics

There are times when, even if they are not aware of it, parents give unequal treatment to their children. The perception that parents treat one child from another may trigger the childs anger at the favored sibling.

Special needs

There are times when parents need to focus more attention on one child, such as in cases when the child is sick or is recuperating from an injury. Other children may act out in order to get the attention of the parents.

Individual temperaments

There are children who are especially clingy or want to stay with the mom for most of the time. Other children may perceive this as the parent giving more attention to the other child and this could trigger anger and acting out from other siblings.

Exposure to role models

The kind of role models that the children are exposed to can also influence how children interact with siblings. If the parents resolve conflicts by talking sensibly and listening to each other, children can pick up on this and adopt this way of interacting with their brothers and sisters. If the parents and other visible role models argue loudly and are physical when resolving conflicts, this is often the kind of behavior that can be adopted by children.

What to do when kids fight

Experts advise that parents avoid stepping in when kids are fighting, unless there is danger of physical harm. Parents can inadvertently give signals of placing one child as more important than the other when trying to resolve a conflict and this can add fuel to the fire. Parents should allow kids to resolve conflicts by themselves. The possibility of name calling can be reduced if parents coach the kids in how they should use words when having a conflict with their siblings. It is important to learn how to work with kids when trying to resolve a conflict with them. The best way to go about this is to allow the kids to cool down before trying to resolve the conflict and to not put too much emphasis on who is to blame. Help them reach a suitable compromise. For example, when fighting over one toy, device a way for both to play with the toy together instead.