Cincinnati Family Magazine

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July 13, 2024

Sibling Snow Day Woes?

The kids can start getting on each other when they’re cooped up too long.  While it’s natural to pick on one another when we’re bored, parents should try to exercise patience rather than participate in the problem, making it worse.

When your children start bickering or even fighting, it’s time to separate them, says Peter Goldenthal, Ph.D., author of Beyond Sibling Rivalry: How to Help Your Child Become Cooperative, Caring and Compassionate.  When kids communicate with anger, contempt, or dismissiveness, they need to learn how to communicate without the negative.

Teach your children how to get across what they are trying to say without resorting to a harsh or resentful tone of voice.  If you want your children to behave respectfully to one another, you need to model that in your home for them.  For instance, if you ask your child to help with the dishes and he says, “Do it yourself!” and you reply, “You little brat!”  You can expect conflicts to go that way with the siblings.  Remember to consistently treat your children with respect so that when the going gets tough – as in when cabin fever sets in – they will learn how to not dissolve into bad behavior toward others. 

When the kids melt down, separate them into different rooms or even different corners of the room and impose quiet time.  After emotions have calmed down, redirect them with an activity or project.  Often kids just need help finding something new to do and are fine on their own once they get started.

About the Author

Susan Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief of Cincinnati Family Magazine and a mother of four.