At the beginning, it’s all about feelings.

Sibling rivalry is a routine part of growing up in families, but don’t let it turn into continual arguing that could lead to fighting. One tip that can reduce the frustration for yourself and your quarrelsome siblings is to encourage them to  express their feelings.

Rather than trying to talk children out of their feelings, help them to find the words to describe their feelings. Instead of saying “Stop complaining and suck it up.” show them how to talk about their feelings, without yelling, name-calling, or violence.

Once again, Marshall Rosenberg’s giraffe talk, as discussed in Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids, comes to the rescue. Teach his four step process: state your observation, identify the feeling, express needs, and suggest appropriate action.

But, don’t tell the child what he is feeling. Teach him to go through the steps on his own. Your impressions may be well-intentioned, but they will probably come off as presumptuous, intrusive, and be way off the mark,

One of the worst mistakes a parent can make is to exacerbates sibling rivalry. Don‘t yell or lecture. It won’t help.

At the beginning it’s all about emotions. Give your kids a chance to express their feelings about each other. The better they get at it the less they will argue and fight.

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