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Sibling Squabbles

Working through these inevitable disputes

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Curtailing conflict

While arguments between siblings are to be expected, there are several things parents can do to minimize occurrences.

With younger kids, parents may notice certain times of the day (naptimes, mealtimes) or specific scenarios (sharing toys, screen time) when their kids are more apt to argue. In these cases, parents can intervene by making an activity or toy "off limits" at a certain time, and ensuring that children are well rested before possible stressful situations.

Older kids often begin to develop their own definitions of what is "fair," which can create tension within the household. Sagebiel says that parents should respond to each child based upon their own needs, strengths and personalities, and avoid making comparisons between kids.

For Eileen, managing sibling feuds is a work in progress, but she tries to remember these arguments are not indicative of "bad" kids or "bad" Parenting. And from her own experience with her siblings, she says it's comforting to know that "intense rivalry as children doesn't necessarily spell doom for adult sibling relationships!"

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Tags: Featured Article, Featured Article, In This Issue, Parenting

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