What To Do When Your Kids Fight

February 22, 2020

Quote of the Week

"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

What To Do When Your Kids Fight

"My kids fight over everything — not just toys (but oh God, yes, toys), but also things as mundane as who gets to brush their teeth first in the morning. Don’t get me wrong: My children can be ever so sweet to each other too, but sometimes it feels as if their relationship is more “Game of Thrones” than “The Brady Bunch.”

If this sounds familiar, I have good news: Your kids aren’t monsters. “It’s normal to have conflict,” said Laura Markham, Ph.D., a Manhattan-based psychologist and the author of “Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings.” “Every human relationship has conflict because it’s two individuals with different needs.” Or, sometimes, two individuals who need the exact same stuffed animal at the exact same time. That one happens a lot in our house, too.

But the fact that sibling conflict is normal doesn’t mean you’re doomed to another decade of pretending you don’t hear your kids screaming at one another while you cook dinner. There are steps you can take to prevent conflict before it happens, and even things you can do to help your kids start resolving disputes by themselves. As I learned when I dug into the research on sibling conflict, I’ve been doing pretty much everything wrong — which, on the bright side, suggests that if I change my approach, I can look forward to less yelling and more hugging. Well, maybe not hugging. That’s asking a lot." [read article]

Reading Corner

Title: Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings"
By: Laura Markham
Stage: 2 to Pre-teen

Why? "This book is so helpful in understanding how to calm tensions between siblings. I found a few of the insights absolutely mind blowing. I always thought I shouldn't intervene in my kids' fights - that I should let them work it out. But she explains why kids sometimes need our guidance or they can get into bad habits where one kid always gets his way just because he's bigger. We shouldn't be the judge, telling them who is right, but we should coach them in expressing themselves and coming up with win-win solutions. This book will have an immediate impact on how I help my children work through their differences." -- Amazon Reviewer

Be the Change

Next time your kids are fighting, take a moment to pause and remember the steps Dr. Markham suggests for serving as a mediator instead of a judge in their conflict. Reflect on how things unfold differently, if at all, and how your children feel about the situation after things have calmed down.