When they were children, kids having a sibling rivalry was always frustrating to deal with. It can be hard to break up fights and not feel like you’re taking a side.
Now, they’re teens, and the fighting continues. When they’re teens, it can be a little harder to break up fights. They are sometimes bigger and stronger than you are, and what was once silly shouting matches can be profanity-laden tirades.
Plus, teen rivalry can be a little bit different than child rivalry, and the solutions you implemented when they were children may not be as good. Here are some ways you can solve teenage rivalry.
When Does Teenage Sibling Fighting Happen?
If your kids are in the early part of their teenhood, especially if the youngest one is one, then this is the peak of your kids’ sibling rivalry. Big changes are happening to both siblings, especially with the younger one.
The younger one may have seen the older one as someone to look up to and follow, but as they become a teen, they are starting to become more independent. As a result, the older teen’s authority figure power doesn’t work as well, and this may end up causing lots of fights.
This is a sign that both teens are beginning to become more independent, and this may lead to them butting heads and fighting more. Them having new interests is what may cause the rivalry. They may feel like they don’t have anything in common with each other, and prefer the company of friends who have similar interests. You have to remember that teens can be quite cliquey, and by realizing this, you can delve into the psychology of the teens more.
Find Something Both Like
One way to resolve conflict is to find common ground. Many teens start fighting because they feel like they don’t have much in common. However, there has to be one common interest or hobby they may have. Delve into it and think of ways to bring them together, not tear them apart. This can help your teens realize that sometimes, they have their own commonalities and they may end up fighting less as a result.
Try Not To Intervene
This sounds counterproductive. When your teens are fighting, you may believe that as a parent, you should have to resolve the argument. However, during the teen phase, teenagers are learning to resolve arguments on their own. They may be getting into arguments with their other friends and peers, and by letting them figure out a way for them to solve the problem, your teens may naturally figure out a way to love each other.
All About Listening
If you do intervene, you should make sure both teens are listening to each other. Sometimes, there is a miscommunication, and the teens aren’t listening to each other well. It’s okay for you to teach them to listen to each other, as this can help resolve the problem.
Have the teens tell their problems, and then you can figure out what the solutions are.
Write Down Solutions
Writing down some solutions is always a good thing as well. Write down some possible ways they can resolve the fight, and then have your teens try to do it. Sometimes, it can take a long while for them to try each one, and you may be able to give them some incentive by grounding them until they come up with a solution.
With finding solutions, you do want to make sure that there is a nice compromise, and that one teen isn’t “losing” to the other.
Stepping In With Fighting
If your teens are shouting or fighting physically with each other, you do need to intervene. Always settling problems through shouting and fighting is a toxic way to resolve things, and it’s something that shouldn’t be normalized as well.
Try not to get on their level and shout and fight on your own, but instead calmly shut the fight down, and seek intervention if things go south.
Don’t Play Favorites
This is a common-sense way to resolve conflict. Don’t compare siblings and don’t give one more priority over another. Comparing siblings just creates more animosity, and by being neutral, and instead of looking at the good in each teen, it can make you feel better.
Spend some equal quality time with each sibling, and they may be able to fight less as a result.
Give Them Space
If they do end up fighting and go to their rooms, it’s important that you give them the space they need. Teens do need lots of privacy and care, and by giving them time to think about the fight, this can be good.
Remember, you are the parent, so intervene if you need to, but you may want to give them some space until the emotions cool down.
Make An Example
One mistake parents make is setting a bad example. If you’re always fighting with your spouse, for example, in front of your teens, no wonder they are getting into fights all the time. You’re setting up an example of what not to do. Sometimes, checking yourself and making changes is what you need to do if you want your teens to succeed.
If your teens continue fighting, and there is no sign of stopping, there is no shame in talking to a counselor or a therapist. You are not a failure of a parent for doing this; sometimes, you need help from a professional, as some problems are beyond your control.
A counselor can figure out some solutions you didn’t think of, and a counselor or a therapist who specializes in teens is even better. They know the psychology of a teenager and how they tend to handle problems, and they can help you come up with solutions to all your problems.
Remember, this is a phase they may grow out of. In 10 years, they may look back at the fighting and laugh.
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