Dr. Antoine Chartouni
Kids fight all the time whether out of fun and laughter, or out of anger and malaise. In spite of all the disadvantages related to kids’ fights, psychologists consider that fights help kids know the weaknesses and strengths between brothers and sisters. During fights and disputes, kids discover new emotions such as the feeling of excitement and victory. But why do siblings fight? And what is the role of the mother and the father during these fights?
Several reasons lead to a fight between siblings, chiefly:
- Jealousy, especially when parents treat one of their kids in a particular way and pay special attention to him or her.
- Feeling of inferiority, namely if the child feels somehow oppressed by his parents. When parents neglect their children and don’t cater to their basic needs, their children can feel sad, which can lead to anger and disputes.
- Some children’s’ attempt to control their siblings toys.
- Violence between parents or violence against children can be also a main reason for fights among kids.
The mother’s role
Parents tend to be stressed out by the conflicts that emerge among their children and that they cannot prevent. The mother usually questions whether her kids were raised well. She feels bad and guilty when she notices that they are constantly fighting. However, some mothers consider that recurrent fights among their kids are normal, without knowing that this might develop aggressiveness and permanent anger towards the others.
The mother can follow these steps:
1- Make sure that the kid doesn’t suffer from any health problem at the level of the Thyroid hormones that make him oversensitive and angry.
2- Play the role of mediator among her children and immediately intervene to prevent any danger that can occur to them, especially if one of her children might get physically hurt or if they were fighting loudly. When mothers intervene they use the imperative form. It is noteworthy that girls tend to shout while boys use physical violence and force.
3- Listen to her children when they explain the reasons behind the conflict. The adult should try to calm them down meanwhile and not try to figure out the root causes of the fight because sometimes it is hard to know the true story.
4- Be fair and impartial when she tries to settle the conflict among her children.
5- Allow her kids to quarrel but verbally only, because quarrels among children can benefit them; in fact, they will figure out how to settle the problem with the other person in a convenient way for both of them.
The father’s role
The father plays an equally important role when his kids fight. He also plays an essential role in the settlement of the dispute through several means including:
1- We recommend that the father remains calm and controls himself as much as possible when his kids are quarreling. As a matter of fact, children look up to their parents and several cases of disputes among children are due to the aggressive behavior of their parents.
2- The father shouldn’t be biased. On the contrary, he must explain to the oldest child that he must protect the younger brothers and sisters, and he should tell the youngest child how important it is to respect the older brother or sister
3- The father often rushes into punishing the guilty child. This behavior can develop a feeling of vexation and retaliation among kids. If he rushes into punishment, the innocent kid might be punished, thus children won’t trust their father in the future and will question his decisions.
We advise the father to try to figure out why his children were fighting, to avoid punishing the guilty one the first time and to explain it to him instead.
We would like to draw the parents’ attention to the importance of not allowing a child to fell as if he “won” against his brother even if he was right. Instead, they should encourage both of them and congratulate the calm one.
4- When the parents compare one the children with his brother or sister, he feels guilty and angry; therefore he will hate the person they are comparing him with.
Finally, we would like to shed light on the fact that children fight to draw attention to them. In fact, violence or anger isn’t always the causes of the fight. In this case, parents should ignore those situations in which kids aims at getting some attention and not fighting with his or her sibling.