In an ideal world, your kids would sing songs like 'phoolon ka taron ka', share their toys and play quietly in their room. But in reality, they scream, pinch and raise hell. You're not alone. Here are some tried-and-tested and expert approved ways of dealing with fighting siblings.
Don't wait for your kids to come to you with bloody noses and scraped knees. If you see a fight brewing, step in. A fight that is resolved while it is solved will close the door on deeper resentment and 'unfair' treatment later. If no one has to stand facing the wall, you can hardly be blamed of taking sides unfairly.
Take sides, if you must
Having said that, if one of your two is clearly in the wrong, don't not take sides just to maintain peace. The wronged child will lose faith in your authority. But make sure you explain why you think one of the two is wrong. 'Would you like to be pinched?' will often make the 'pincher' question his action.
Punish, with love
This discussion is also the point to set out the punishments for breaking your rules. Be serious about implementing punishments-this will reassure the wronged kid that justice will be served. When a child breaks the house rules, explain why the curfew or TV ban is deserved and justified.
Tip: Do not ridicule or allow the sibling to ridicule the punished child. Humiliation will lead to resentment and more insubordinate behavior.
Ensure fights end on positive note
Make them shake hands, hug and apologise to each other. It's an attitude they'll carry through life. Don't let the anger and resentment fester. Give them a task that makes them a team again-like carrying a heavy basket for you to the living room; or pair them for a carom contest agaisnt your spouse and you. The fight will be forgotten in minutes, as they high-five each other in glee.
If your kids are fighting for the same reason over and over, chalk out a middle path, like taking turns to sit ahead in the car or watching TV, etc.
Think of creative solutions. London-based Delnaz Patel found her sons fighting every time they'd have to share a chocolate or other foods they loved. "I laid out a simple rule: whoever divided the chocolate couldn't choose his half first. Within no time, the pieces were coming out almost exactly equal!"
Simple, and yet, genius, right?! You've come up with simple, creative solutions to your kids' fighting too? Tell us all about it!
Happy harmony to you!