When it comes to sibling conflict, it’s common for all of us to focus on the wrong problem—their relationship with each other rather than our relationship with them.
Healthy parent-child relationships are characterized by two things. First, the child feels unconditionally loved. Second, the child sees their parents as the undisputed authority figures in the home. People who care enough to study Love and Logic materials… such as this tip… rarely have an issue with the “love” part of this equation. It comes naturally! The part they struggle with… and so do I… is the authority part.
Perhaps it’s helpful to remember that when we provide strong leadership… not just friendship... we see:
- Happier kids who tend to get along far better with us.
- More secure kids who have fewer conflicts with each other.
- Kids who respect us enough to stop arguing with each other when we ask, “Guys? Will you stop that, please?”
When we display relational weakness, chronic sibling conflict is a sure result.
Too frequently, all of us slip into the habit of addressing symptoms rather than core causes. When we do so, we find ourselves endlessly spinning our wheels, dealing with recurring symptoms as well as symptoms that continuously erupt in new and unpredictable ways.
Real and lasting solutions to recurring family issues involve taking strategic steps toward reestablishing loving authority in the home. The first step involves asking the following questions:
- Are we setting enough limits that we can actually enforce?
- Are we enforcing these limits with empathy and logical consequences rather than trying to do so with empty threats and lectures?
- Are the kids able to manipulate us… their parents… against each other?
- Are we trying too hard to be their friends rather than focusing on remaining friendly authority figures?
Remember, building healthy relationships with our kids by setting firm, loving limits, is the key to resolving sibling conflict.
Thanks for reading!