The researchers didn't look at how bad brawls have to be to trigger these symptoms (it may vary from kid to kid), but they stress that children get just as upset as we do when punched, pinched, or slapped. To curb spats, from bickering to belting, follow this advice from John Caffaro, Ph.D., author of Sibling Abuse Trauma:
Give your kids positive attention. "Fifteen minutes of one-on-one time a day with a child can significantly reduce aggressive behavior," says Caffaro.
Teach them to express their feelings verbally. Help them find words for their emotions so they don't resort to names or abuse.
Hold them equally responsible. "Parents often jump in and protect one child -- usually the younger," says Caffaro. "This can escalate the conflict." Instead, tell kids they'll have to find a way to compromise on their own, without whacking.