Mom is often synonymous with the term “referee” when more than one child is involved and sibling rivalry sets in. The oldest feels put aside, the youngest never feels as good as her older siblings, and the ones in the middle get ignored. There are other ways that it goes but, for the most part, you hear these stories all the time. You can save yourself many trips to the emergency room and stop them from killing each other with a few simple tips.
1. Separate them.
Sure, it’s the oldest technique in the book, but sometimes kids just need time to cool off before they try to work it out in any way. Use separate rooms where they can’t see each other or you’ll just be dealing with yelling from across the room instead of in each other’s faces.
2. Ignore the tantrums.
Let your children know that tantrums won’t work if they want to win an argument. If you can reduce the amount of tantrums that happen, the siblings will very likely get in less fights with each other or risk getting even less attention.
3. Give them something to do.
You can’t force camaraderie, but your kids do grow up together and probably don’t truly dislike each other. Give them a task that requires them to work together to get it done instead of putting them in time out or some other punishment.
4. Hold a mock trial.
When one child says that she didn’t break the vase or throw the ball through the window and tries to blame it on a sibling, hold a mock trial to decide what really happened. Mom plays the judge and let the kids represent themselves or each other, depending on how many siblings are involved. Let each child present her case in turn, review the facts presented, and make a judgment. By letting them each have their say and turning it into an institution that they may find familiar, they might feel better accepting your judgment in the end.