Horizon SquabblesAlthough the children in our care at Horizon Education Centers are not necessarily siblings, they may compete with, or pester each other as siblings do. We encourage you as a parent to look for opportunities to work with your children so they don’t make a habit of getting into conflict with siblings at home. Here are a few great tips in an example on how to work to solve sibling squabbles.

In a Washington Post column, Marguerite Kelly gets to the roots of sibling rivalry to help parents find ways to lessen the conflict between their children. A parent wrote in because a younger child, a toddler, tortured an older, but more sensitive, preschool child. While of course brothers and sisters will bother each other for any number of reasons, the columnist pointed the parent to one of the prime motivations for sibling squabbles: attracting parental attention: “Your children will usually stop taunting each other, however, if you notice their good behavior far more than you notice their bad behavior.”

Kelly recommended separating the children after a spat but not giving them too much attention while they are separated—the son can be given space and told to apologize; the daughter can be given space to pull herself together. Once they get themselves together, a parent can praise them for that behavior to reinforce the idea of what is the preferred behavior.

In a calmer time, a parent can talk to both children to build their empathy for each other. Talking to the son about his feelings and times when he feels vulnerable won’t instantly make him stop teasing his sister but it will help. And while it may be tempting to think that the sensitive preschooler deals with feelings enough, talking to her also can help the parent understand her more and guide her into seeing why someone who teases her may also have hurt feelings too.