Bickering Siblings

Do you have kids that bicker constantly? Mine certainly do. If the three year old is not copying everything the six year old says (and driving her insane), the six year old is perfecting the art of taking all his toys away and driving him insane. In the process I often want to lock myself in the bathroom. In many ways I know this is a karmic payback for all the fighting and squabbling my brothers and I did. We get on well now but between the ages of 3 and 16 years I am pretty sure we fought constantly and that my parents wanted to run away from us. What’s good to know is a that sibling bickering is less about toys and being annoying and more about that age old chestnut – sibling rivalry. Certainly the six year old feels her brother gets more love than her and the three year old feels his sister gets more of everything. One parenting experts I know suggests the best way to deal with bickering siblings is: 1. Don’t take sides. Make both kids accountable every time, telling them it doesn’t matter who started it both will either get no treats or go to bed early (stay true to your threats). 2. Don’t referee their fights. Getting in the middle and sticking up for one over the other doesn’t help. Stick to step one above. 3. Help to diffuse the jealousy (much of which is natural) by praising both kids, not just when they say they don’t feel loved etc. 4. Sometimes bickering is down to spending too much time together. Distract your kids with different activities and work between them. 5. Accept that bickering is normal, but whacking each other and hurting each other isn’t. Set limits for what is and isn’t acceptable between your kids with repercussions. So do your kids fight a lot? How do you cope with it?