Do you ever find yourself in a feeling of crisis when dealing with conflict between siblings?
It is a tough spot to be as a parent because they are our babies and yet we see that one of our precious littles is wronging another of our precious littles. It can leave us feeling sad, appalled, triggered, or helpless.
Sibling squabbles can really send a parent into a frenzy.
We live in a world where there are always things fighting for our attention. And when one of these bickering matches breaks out when we are already late for church, heading out the door...
Or have been really pre-occupied all day, we find ourselves saying things like:
“Go to your room right now!”
“Stop that immediately!”
“Apologize to her right away!”
“He said he was sorry, you need to forgive him now.”
I want to suggest to you, as someone who has been there…
We must learn to shift our mindset from dealing with something immediately to dealing with something effectively.
We can help our children learn to be people of peace by teaching them how to hold onto their peace and how to get it back if it somehow slips away. The scientific world calls this emotional self-regulation. And it is a skill that takes years to develop.
If we can teach them this beautiful skill, as well as how to communicate their needs and listen to the needs of others, they will begin to navigate conflict confidently and correctly.
It doesn’t matter if it is a simple game of copycat that got out of hand or something like hair-pulling.
Dealing with a dysregulated child’s behavior immediately will almost always involve hurt feelings, angry words, and a lack of direction moving forward.
Dealing with a dysregulated child’s behavior effectively will almost always involve reconnecting, co-regulation, and resolution.
A simple pause to read a book or do a puzzle might be just what your child needs to get into a space where they feel safe with you to work through the issue you want to help them resolve. Some of my favorite ways to reconnect with my children are puzzles/chapter books/back scratches/petting our dog together/sharing a handful of chocolate-covered almonds, and painting together.
So next time you find yourself in a tizzy over sibling conflict, look for a way to reconnect and then focus your efforts on navigating effectively rather than immediately.
Looking for more help or not sure about how to teach respectful conflict resolution to small children?Check out our Sibling Conflict workshop: