PWTG: Episode 031 – How to deal with fighting siblings.

In this week’s podcast episode of Parenting with Truth and Grace, we talk about how to deal with siblings who are fighting. You can listen to the podcast here. Also, if you haven’t already subscribed, why don’t you subscribe now so you automatically get each week’s newest episode?

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We’ve had many parents ask for help in this area. They’ll tell us… “I don’t want to referee!”… I don’t want to play judge and jury.”… “I hate seeing my kids be mean to each other!”… “They’re always fighting.”

Kids Age Order
Hopefully, your experience with sibling children isn’t nearly this intense, but we’re guessing you still have moments where you are wondering, “What can I do!?!?” Obviously we can’t fully solve the dance we call sibling relationships, but we can offer some sage advice regarding this age old dynamic.

In today’s episode of “Parenting with Truth & Grace” we talk about fighting siblings. More to the point, we share specific ideas about preventing, or more accurately improve on the health of their relationship with brother or sister.

Medicine has a little something to offer us when it comes to this topic of sibling relationships. As it turns out, do no harm is a good idea for doctors, but it’s also good for brothers and sisters. Today, armed with the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, we are more passionate than ever. That’s the reason for this topic of siblings.

Here are three practical tips that help diminish the sibling rivalry and enhance the sibling affection!

    1. No friends unless… quite simply, if two of your kids are fighting or being mean to each other, then having other friends over or visiting someone else ISN’T an option. Away from the actually moment, when tensions aren’t so high, do a little teaching. We explained multiple times to our children, “You’re not going to go out there and be kind and loving to your friends, only to come home and be awful to each other.” Until they learn to better manage their relationship with brother and sister, “friends” are being taken away from.
    2. Twins for a day (or week)… this one is the natural progression from #1 above. When a particular pair of siblings really struggle with each other the tendency is to separate them. We believe in just the opposite. I won’t mention it was Jordan and Tana that had a hard time. On a couple of occasions when they were really struggling with each other. So one day, we left Jordan and Tana, and told them, other than bodily functions, they were to be joined at the hip. If they are unable to get along for the day, then the one day turned into two which could easily turn into three.
    3. The Gospel Re-enactment… This strategy is so very important. When they mess up with each other, teach them to keep short accounts. Teach them to say, “I’m sorry for ____________. Will you please forgive me?” Teach them to respond with, “I forgive you!” We could go on and on, suffice it to say re-enacting the gospel has changed our families life. I pray it does the same for you. Here is the link for the free pdf I mentioned:
    4. Send me The Gospel Re-enactment

      So there is a lot more about parenting siblings than we can possibly cover in one podcast or even a a series of three. Hopefully it’s given you a little encouragement and challenge with your children.

      We’d love to hear your sibling stories. “What was it like for your children growing up as siblings?” “What do you do when your kids are fighting?”

2 thoughts on “PWTG: Episode 031 – How to deal with fighting siblings.

  1. Hi David and Kelli!
    My name is Katy and I live in Portland- attend church at Imago and am good friends with Maurice and Lesly! 🙂 Was chatting with L about your podcasts on siblings recently and she suggested I email you about my question. I do really want to start implementing these standards of “people over stuff” and “twins for a day” … BUT… I have a 2 1/2 year old girl and a 10 mo old boy. They certainly are starting to get on each others’ nerves (he will get into a puzzle she’s working on and she’ll get in his personal space) but I’m not sure how to start talking about this stuff with them (her, mostly). She is a very bright girl and I have definitely started talking to her about generosity (instead of ‘MINE!!’) along with the people over stuff idea but am a little stumped on how else to put these into practice during some of their most formative months as my babies. Any enlightenment would be helpful!
    I also am curious about more info on the teach by act. My daughter is very verbal and I find myself explaining things too often to her and we easily can get into the trap of negotiating and reasoning all too easily… but the train by act seems a little challenging for me to get into the habit of doing it. Is that all it is? Just making myself do it? Feels a little unnatural for me to do with her because I know she understands and can do it she is just choosing to not listen. Thanks for all these podcasts. They have been awesome for me as a new mom learning the ropes of parenting and now having two… keeping me on my toes and constantly wondering how I’m doing.

    • Hi Katy!!

      Nice to meet you!! Hug Leslie and Maurice for me please!! Ok, first of all, you are on the early end of implementation with the sibling affection training. I would focus on language as you mother and watch for your kids doing it right and going crazy, “Nice job sharing with your brother” or ” I liked it that you stopped when sister asked you too” I am especially aware of making sure the younger honors the older as a good foundation. But again, this is more training for you then for them right now. You say this like, ” Sister asked you to stop” and help him stop. You give her ideas on how to lead well ie “Let’s show brother this game on how to pick up fast”etc.

      We are not against talking with children. It’s when you find you are negotiating like you mentioned that the line has been crossed. That is when I go over and bring them along if I have asked them to do something and they are not doing it.It is lots of work right now but I promise the payoff is so great you will not want to miss this opportunity.

      We can talk more. We would rather FT as this is a little harder for me to make sure I am not misunderstood. I am hoping to do some teaching using our grandkids to model the kinds of things you are asking…very relevant and important stuff for parents!!

      Thank you for writing…Big Blessings on you as you mother…David and Kelli

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