1. If you have more than one child, expect sibling rivalry.
  2. Focus on the good things about having siblings.
  3. Teach your children that fair does not mean equal.
  4. Do not favor one child.
  5. Spend one-on-one time with each child.
  6. View each child as an individual. Do not compare.
  7. Teach skills to settle conflicts peacefully.
  8. Treat others how you want your children to treat each other.
  9. Only get involved in sibling problems when someone may get hurt.
  10. Have a home that values respect and understanding.

The following information can give you some guidelines about what might be an appropriate stance to take about when and how to intervene.  Think of it as the “green light to red light” guideline.  

With this in mind, you can think about what your children need from you when they engage in fighting with their siblings.   That can help you decide if, when, or how to intervene.

  • Green light 
    Normal Bickering, minor name calling
    Parent’s role – Stay out of it.
  • Yellow light 
    Borderline, volume is going up, nasty name-calling, mild physical contact, threats of danger
    Parent’s role – Acknowledge anger and reflect each child’s viewpoint.
  • Orange light
    Potential Danger, more serious, half play/half real fighting
    Parent’s role
    – Inquire: “Is it play or real?” Firmly stop the interaction, review rules, and help with conflict resolution.
  • Red light
    Dangerous Situation, physical or emotional harm is about to or has occurred
    Parent’s role– Firmly stop the children and separate them. If a child is hurt, attend to that child first, review the rules, and possibly impose a consequence.

For more tips and strategies about this topic
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