Question: Hi Jennifer, Could I ask you for some parenting advice about dealing with sibling squabbling? This is a new problem I am just starting to have in the last few weeks. The girls are just bickering constantly. It’s like they can’t be in the same room together without fighting. It’s just non-stop pettiness…
“She said I did a bad job on my chore.”
“She keeps moving my paper into her box.”
“I have more grapes than you do.”
“She glared at me.”
“I’m glad I didn’t get your chore.” etc etc etc etc.
I alternate between feeling like I need to referee each incident to deal with the problem-causer and try to teach good manners and virtue (We don’t say things to hurt others. We use a nice voice to talk to others. God wants us to be kind, etc.) and being overwhelmed and telling them I don’t want to hear about their bickering and they need to work it out (which they do not seem to have any ability to do). Any advice would be much appreciated!
Answer: As I’m sure you’ve realized, there isn’t a fix-it-all answer to this question. Squabbling between siblings is just an inherent part of mothering. There are, however, various approaches that can be taken at various times. I will list my ideas here in no particular order.
1.) You gotta nip it in the bud. (We don’t normally turn to Barney Fife for parenting advice, but in this case, he’s on to something.) This is probably the most effective approach, but the caveat is that it requires mom’s attention and listening ear, and the children need to be playing where mom can hear them. As soon as mom hears the first child mis-step in their behavior, she nips it. Continue reading “12 Strategies to Squelch Sibling Squabbling”