Sibling relationships can turn from love to hate and back several times a day. You can hear them playing happily in the backyard one moment, and the next thing you know they hate each others’ guts! It’s a normal occurrence of childhood. We parents try to mediate and help them make up ASAP. However, children must learn to resolve their own conflicts. Sometimes, it’s actually a good thing to let your children argue.
LET YOUR KIDS LEARN TO ARGUE
When you see your children quarreling, your first impulse may be to separate them. But resolving their own conflicts helps children deal with other people. They will learn that if they insult someone they may be insulted or belittled in return. Solving their own arguments and fights helps them to mature emotionally and develop interpersonal skills.
Children between 3 and 10 are able to easily make up with their siblings or friends without a trace of resentment. Now the challenge lies in helping them grow up to do the same as teenagers and adults.
HOW TO HELP WITHOUT INTERVENING
- Never ask the children who started the argument. There’s no point in that; they already know it and you don’t need that information as you aren’t going to step in as judge or referee.
- Don’t give the children a solution to their argument. Let them figure it out.
- Sometimes you must be present as a mediator to encourage them to find their own resolution, especially if you need to prevent them from really hurting each other.
- Adults must give children the opportunity to resolve their own arguments, express their points of view and stand up for their rights. Development of social skills and social intelligence happens when they learn to resolve a dispute, whether it be battling over a toy, choosing what game to play or stepping away from a fight.
Read Related: Teaching Sons to Grow Up to Be Gentlemen
- Whether the spat takes place at school or at home, you should discuss the situation within earshot of the children and their peers so they can learn from you what the appropriate and noble thing to do is.
- All that said, adults should step in if the argument doesn’t come to an end in a reasonable timeframe, when the children turn violent or when one kid becomes a victim of bullying.
- Younger children’s disputes can be resolved amongst themselves, but when it comes to older kids and especially if there is bullying involved, adults need to take immediate action.
- 10-year old kids are already able to resolve one-on-one situations by talking it out, if they have been raised to do so. In these cases, when an adult steps in, he should not point fingers but facilitate dialogue between the parties.
As important as it is to allow children to resolve their own spats, this doesn’t mean you have to leave them to their own devices at all times. Family support is essential. They need to feel safe and comfortable telling their parents about their world. If they feel isolated, they may keep to themselves.
Above all, use your best judgement when your kids argue. You don’t need to be their referee at all times but, by following your gut, you’ll know when it’s time for mom to break things up!