• Anita Ness, EMBRACE Your Spark

Top tips on Surviving Sibling Rivalry

Updated: Aug 27, 2020

By Anita Ness, Founder of EMBRACE Calmer Kids

This blog post is a little later than I had hoped, but I have been super busy working on an exciting new project around coaching kids to become more resilient. Stay tuned for more details.

BUT… Just in time for the school holidays here in Australia, I wanted to share some of the top tips I’ve learnt* about SIBLING RIVALRY. I truly don’t think we can stop it, so… How do we reduce it? How do we best manage it?

Well, as you know, it’s pretty much impossible to get any sense out of the kids once an argument has happened. Everyone needs time to calm down before you have any chance of sitting with them and having a rational discussion. So, it's best to separate the kids, give them time and space to calm down and let them know that you will chat about it later.

When you feel that some calm has returned to the household, bring the siblings together. Sit them down at a table, grab a pen and your Sibling Rivalry Printable.

Inspired by the wonderful Dr Justin Coulson, I have created this free printable for you, so that you have a ready made template to print out and use when Sibling Rivalry rears its ugly head.

Just click here.

Then, go ahead and…

  1. Ask one sibling to fill in the top box ‘They did…’, writing down what their sibling did (the other sibling can have a turn when the first page is finished if they want to), then

  2. Ask them to fill in the box on the right ‘I Felt…’, writing down how all of this made them feel (hopefully creating a sense of empathy from the other sibling, as well as building their emotional vocab), then

  3. Ask them to fill in the box at the bottom of the printable ‘I Did…’, writing everything that they did (this helps them take ownership for their part, creates accountability and a sense of responsibility), then

  4. Ask them to fill in the box on the left of the printable ‘They Felt…’, writing what they think their sibling may have felt. Then ask the other sibling, if this sounds about right? And, is this how they felt?

Once the 4 boxes are filled in, ask the following questions to both siblings:

  1. When you look at this picture and these arrows, who do you think started this conflict?

  2. Who is contributing to this vicious circle?

  3. Who is responsible for fixing it?

  4. How do you think you could fix it?

Hopefully they will come up with some great solutions together. This could also be a good time to remind them, that the best way to apologise is to say:

  • "I'm sorry"

  • "I did..."

  • "and it made you feel..."

  • "Will you forgive me?"

Good Luck and Stay Awesome!

Warmest wishes

Founder of EMBRACE Calmer Kids

* These great ideas came from a Sibling Rivalry video by one of my favourite experts in the business of kids and parenting; Dr Justin Coulson @ www.happyfamilies.com.au

- The video with additional details and many other informative videos can be found @ Parent TV www.parenttv.com

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