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Photo by Sharon D. Pruitt

If you have more than one child, then you most certainly have seen sibling rivalry. It is a natural part of the sibling relationship. How one handles the ugly monster can make all the difference in the world. Trying to figure out who started what and dolling out some kind of consequence seems like the right decision. The flaw with that decision is that without really knowing what happened one child will always feel that they “won” and the other that they “lost”. This further ignites and continues the rivalry.

In 3 Steps to a Strong Family written by the Eyres, the problem of sibling fighting is solved in a simple but very effective way. When the Eyres encounter their children fighting, they have them sit down together until both of them ask each other for forgiveness for their contribution to the problem. It takes two to fight and with this system each must delve down deep and come out accountable. I have found in my home that one child often feels that they are “right”. This solution helps each child step into the others shoes for a minute. It helps to create empathy—the ability to identify with the feelings of another. It also allows you as the parent to stay out of the middle of the situation which is ultimately the perfect solution toward reducing the fighting.

Next time you catch your kids fighting, try this technique. Twice I’ve used this technique just before we were going out to do something. The kids had to work things out and apologize sincerely before we were able to leave. Having this impending outing turned out to be great incentive for them to expedite the process of forgiveness.

As always, please share how this works for your family or if you have other effective ways to this very common family problem.

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