How to… cope with fighting siblings

If ‘Muuuuum, he changed the channel on the remote’ or ‘she scribbled on my book’ and ‘the baby isn’t my friend anymore…’ is leading to tantrums, tears and even fisticuffs you might be feeling like slamming the door behind you, driving at full speed to the gym,  donning the boxing gloves and taking it out on something made from leather…

Siblings scrapping is totally normal (think back, you did it too) but that fact doesn’t make it any less stressful or the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel any more illuminating.

Supernanny Judy Arnall says we should analyse the root: boredom, attention seeking, resentment or deeper issues… General advice is that taking something away from the child in the wrong (ie banishing them to their room) won’t work but one on one time and a new hobby might (yep, let’s find a few extra hours somewhere shall we?) have a more ‘non nonsense’ approach: listen to their feelings (yes) but if you need to end the conversation with something matter of fact (‘life is just like that sometimes’)

Partial separation is a helpful tool – although not always possible. If Daddy is around and can take one child (ideally the wronged one) to the park then the other might feel their victory is somewhat hollow.

And remember it’s a phase. Even if it takes 25 years, they will get past it.

SM tip: look after yourself as well when kids are bickering, or it can just become totally draining. We have a Nespresso machine and the 2 mins it takes to make a coffee is sometimes the little break I give myself between breaking up a fight and then returning to the scene of the crime (as it were). I often find they’ve resolved it by then without my intervention. 

Editor’s Tip: right back from when they were little, after a tantrum, if I put them to bed to calm down I would dab a little lavender oil (or my own perfume) on their pillow. Now the boys still ask me to do this – sometimes just at bedtime. Jo Malone’s Wood Sage and Sea Salt is lovely and calming…