6 Ways to Stop Sibling Fighting
Point Out What's Really Important For a while, when the girls were 4 and we were having our alone-time afternoons, they each asked that we do exactly the same activity and eat the same food at the same restaurant. "Vivian saw the monkeys, and it's not fair if I don't get to see the monkeys," Sasha would say. No amount of playing up the rockin' reptiles (that Vivian didn't see) could dissuade her, and things got mighty boring, at least for me. Because it's still tricky for kids this age to get that "fair" doesn't mean "identical," Myers says it might have helped to remind them that even if they did different activities, the prize was Mommy time, which they both got in equal measure.
Listen to Their Feelings You know you're being fair, and, deep down, they may even know it, too, but they're still plenty pissed off. Joel Jacobs, a dad in Berkeley, CA, recalls an incident in which his 8-year-old daughter, Talia, didn't want to go to a holiday gathering at her Aunt Nancy's house. "She thought it was unfair that her views were being ignored," he says. Rather than dragging her to the car (which we all resort to in a pinch), he encouraged her to talk about her feelings. "I saw that she was conflicted about it," says Jacobs. It wasn't that Talia didn't want to see her aunt; it was just that, because her mom had been seriously ill that year, she wanted the holiday to feel like it used to, before all the tumult. That meant spending the holiday at home. Jacobs then asked her to imagine how her aunt might feel if they canceled at the last minute, and she came around.