Sibling Fighting: When Does It Go Too Far?

Siblings fighting is common in most families. Kids who get along well in one moment can suddenly be yelling at each other the next. Arguments, jealousy, unwillingness to share, and competition are normal sibling behaviors. Sibling rivalry is motivated by seeking parental attention rather than harm or control. But there are situations where fighting goes beyond arguments or rivalry. In these cases, there is a repeated pattern where one sibling takes the role of aggressor and is characterized by bullying. 

Resolving Conflict With Siblings 

The first step towards resolving conflict with your children is to get to the root of the problem. Are there certain triggers for one child or situations that continuously play out and always end with a fight? Maybe a sister needs her space but her brother doesn’t get the hint to leave her alone. What starts with her telling her brother to go away can quickly escalate into pushing him out of the way when he won’t leave. Helping your daughter identify these triggers can help her learn how to communicate her needs or reach out for help before the situation worsens. 

It can also help to have your children make a plan for when arguments occur. Sitting down and creating clear expectations for how situations should be handled give siblings tools for dealing with conflict in the moment. Many children may be afraid to “tattle” and get in trouble, but it is important for them to know that they can come to the adults in their life for guidance and help. It is important for parents to remain calm during times of conflict. By not rising to their emotional level, parents can help de-escalate the situation and address underlying issues. Siblings should understand that being violent with each other is never an option. If that boundary is crossed and a sibling is creating an unsafe home environment, it may be time to seek outside help. 

When sibling fighting goes too far, family therapy may be beneficial to the siblings and the family as a whole. Sibling conflict can create a stressful environment for the entire family, where parents are exhausted from trying to mediate and even the siblings who aren’t involved feel frightened and on edge. Family therapy addresses specific issues within the family unit and encourages open communication and teaches healthy coping skills. 

Asheville Academy Can Help

At Asheville Academy, family involvement and a personalized therapeutic experience help strengthen family bonds. This is a large part of what makes Asheville Academy uniquely suited to help your child and family achieve long-term success.

Our family therapy is specifically designed to include the family unit from start until completion with one main goal: reconnecting you with your child in a healthy and meaningful way. Our clinically sophisticated family programming runs parallel to the healing and growth taking place on campus.  Get ready to utilize psychoeducational tools, parent-to-parent discussions, and skills-based webinars to help you parent your unique child. For more information please call (800) 264-8709.

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