“She started it; it wasn't my fault!” It's normal for siblings to fight, and squabbling and arguments are more or less part of family life. Here are some tips on keeping the peace around the house.
Further reading: Getting a new sibling Tips for dealing with sibling jealousy
13 tips for helping your children to respect each other
• Never compare your kids with one another. No competing, like “Who can put their shoes on first?” That approach creates stress and competition – as well as unnecessary fighting.
• Encourage them to cooperate where possible. For example, let them team up against you when playing games, and praise them when they work together.
• Nurture their differences and shared strengths and praise them.
• If they share a room, give them a little privacy. Time alone without each other's company can have a positive effect.
• Set aside time to be alone with each child separately.
• Encourage them to be friends with other people.
• Teach them to show respect for one another – especially when they're fighting.
• If you respect yourself and others, your kids will learn from you.
• If a fight is underway: wait and see what happens sometimes, so you know for sure. Give them a chance to resolve the conflict themselves. It's good practice.
• If a fight is underway and you intervene, let each child tell their side of the story without interrupting. It's important for their self-esteem that they are heard. Remain neutral at all times and then help your children resolve the conflict constructively.
• After the fight, when everyone's had a chance to speak, ask: “How can we resolve this problem?” Listen or offer suggestions if the children don't have any.
• Another solution is to anticipate and distract if you notice a fight's underway, maybe even before the kids are aware of it themselves. It asks a lot of you to always be within earshot, but during some periods, intervening before the argument escalates can be a sensible solution.
• If you then point out that you just deflected a conflict, the children may learn a lot about themselves and how to go about avoiding fights. Your guidance is important.
Read more about scrapping children.