Oh, girls. Beautiful, sweet, sugar and spice. But sometimes, they’re not so nice! What can you do to help little sisters get along – and before you pull your hair out? Here are some tips that might help on days when the fighting is just too much.
5 Tips For Stopping Sister Rivalry
#1 Hold hands until you’re friends again.
This is a great tip to stop a mild quarrel in a hurry. Instruct your kids to face each other and hold hands and look at one another. They are not allowed to break apart until they are friends again. Watch for arm pulling, but this works well for us for smaller fights.
#2 Don’t say it’s ok.
In response to an apology, we never say “it’s ok.” This is my personal philosophy because it’s really not ok otherwise there would be no need for an apology. Instead, if my girls can forgive the offending sister, they say “I forgive you.” They can also say “thank you.”
#3 Repeat what you said or did, the right way.
We just started doing this and it’s such a great practice for the whole family! We call them “do-overs.” When one of the girls (or me!) says or does something wrong, we take a do-over and do it the right way. Here are some examples: One of the girls runs into the room whining that her sister did something mean, so I instruct her to take a do-over and leave the room, then re-enter it and say it the proper way with an excuse me and a calm attitude. Or, one of the girls takes a toy out of her sister’s hand – I instruct her to give it back, then ask nicely for a turn. And you know what? This works wonders for me too! If I catch myself yelling, I tell the girls I’m going to take a do-over and say it the proper, calm way.
#4 Do an act of kindness for every injustice.
I love this idea because it’s practicing repentance – changing the bad behavior and choosing to turn around and do the opposite. So if one of my girls does something mean to their sister, we instruct them to apologize and then do something nice for them.
#5 Your smile is your secret weapon.
I’ve been trying this one on my girls to help them deal with a sister being mean to them. I tell them that their secret weapon is their smile, and they can fight meanness just by giving a genuine smile to their sister. It’s a difficult idea to teach, but I think it’s great opportunity to practice repaying evil with good.
What are you favorite parenting tricks to help your kids resolve conflict?
If you liked this, check out my Parenting Mantras For Little Ones!
My mother is a woman with a lot of patience and can handle a great amount of stress, but when it comes to siblings fighting with each other it is a matter of when you will snap, not if you will. We have two girls. One of them is a delightful, talkative, precocious four and a half year old; the other is a delightful, active, imitative one and a half year old. The combination is often not so delightful. My two girls are at different stages of their development and need different things from the world, from their playthings, and from their parents. The older child often feels like the baby gets preferential treatment; and if she could tell us, the younger one probably feels like her older sibling gets all the good stuff.
Everyone has a different outlook on life and a way of handling life called temperament, which includes moods, disposition, and adaptability. My girls’ temperaments are different: the older wants to play alone with her beloved toys in sight of me, and the younger just wants to play, and doesn’t care if she is alone or not as long as she has the toys she wants. Too often, those toys happen to be the same one.