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Break it up!

No matter what you do, siblings will have a scuffle every now and then. Here are some tips for containing the damage when fights break out.

  • Let siblings express their feelings. It’s OK for Joey to be upset that Josh broke his favorite toy. But instead of hitting Josh or calling him names, Joey should explain to Josh why he’s mad.
  • Be impartial. It’s normal for you to want to protect the younger sibling, but don’t take sides—play mediator. Find out how each child wants to fix the problem and then help the two reach a compromise.
  • Give them a five-minute warning. Tell them, “If you guys don’t figure out a solution in five minutes, I’m going to find one for you.” They will be sure to quiet down before the time is up.