What to do when children fight: Five Guidelines

Parents usually fail to intervene in escalated sibling conflict, according to a study recently published in “Developmental Psychology,” even though they think they should intervene. And this lack of parental action often results in life-long psychological problems, often severe, especially for the younger children who were victimized.

Here’s how parents can help:

  1. AVOID TAKING SIDES, because it may spur feelings of jealousy or increased hostility.
  2. ACKNOWLEDGE children’s feelings, encouraging them to learn to communicate with one another.
  3. SUGGEST ways that children might learn how to solve problems independently.
  4. DON’T PUNISH children without an explanation – and don’t threaten them.
  5. SET LIMITS by clearly identifying the types of behavior that are not acceptable.

(Laurie Kramer,in “Developmental Psychology”)

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