Children of all ages will have disagreements that can quickly escalate into a fighting kids situation.
No matter how many toys there are, they always seem to want the same one and strong-willed children will try to control games and activities.
Here are some useful strategies that can help fighting kids learn from the experience, but remember, it is normal and healthy for children to fight, particularly siblings. [Sibling Rivalry]
It is how they learn to cooperate, stand up for themselves, about conflict resolution and independence.
Perhaps the most important strategy in dealing with fighting kids is to be a good role model.
Children will behave the way you do, and if there is constant fighting and angry voices in the home, they will behave the same.
Demonstrate a peaceful lifestyle to your children. If your children do fight a lot, look at the way you and your partner communicate with each other – maybe the kids are copying you.
Siblings will often fight just to get your attention, so be on guard for these occasions. Ignore the fighting (as long as no one is getting hurt) and the incentive is removed.
Shortly afterwards, change the scene for them by calling for a snack break, DVD or story time, or a walk. A break from what they were playing will lighten the mood and if they were fighting for your attention, this strategy will defuse the issue that started the fighting kids.
Children learn best by doing, so teach them the spirit of cooperation by doing things together to help each other.
Talk about how cooperating with each other allows everyone to achieve more, and let them see that when they cooperate with you, there is more of your time for them.
Praise children when they are being cooperative and getting along together. Avoid games that promote competitiveness between siblings and treat each one as an individual.
Try to let each child have their own room, or at least, their own space within a shared room. This room or space is their own area, and siblings should ask permission to enter.
This strategy gives a personal space for each child to retreat to if they are feeling anti-social or needing to be alone. When personal space is respected, you will find that you have less trouble with fighting kids.
When you need to intervene in your kids’ fights, remain impartial and calm. Very few fights have a single cause, (there is ALWAYS two sides to every story!) and no one is blameless.
By keeping your cool and avoiding blame, you are teaching your children how to resolve their differences without resorting to fighting.
Calmly ask what they were doing before the fight started, going right back to before the first strike. Talk through how things could have been done differently to avoid the conflict, and even role-play an alternative solution (kids love role playing).
Consider punishment a cause of constantly fighting kids. Punishment makes kids angry and they will take their anger out on someone else. Make the punishment fit the crime by using logical consequences for misbehavior or bad attitude, rather than issuing a standard punishment for all events.
Be mindful of the situations that cause fighting between kids, and work to reduce them. Tired or hungry kids are more prone to fighting; jealousy can lead to fighting; kids who are feeling insecure are more likely to fight.
Treat your kids equally, praise them often, regularly tell them they are loved, hug them daily; then harmony kids will rein more often than fighting kids.