With the arrival of the summer holidays, it is not surprising that the arguments between siblings multiply and even rise in level. Spending more time shared – especially between the four walls of a house – increases the risk of conflict in the same proportion, to which must be added the pandemic fatigue and the tension accumulated after the school year lived.
Outcome? A cocktail of emotions, fights and discussions that parents can overcome. Gema Fuentes, a doctor in Psychology and a psychologist at the Crece Bien Centers, offers us the keys to improve family coexistence and manage fights between siblings in a positive way.
“Why do my kids fight more on vacation?”
Many families wonder why their children fight more on vacation , when this time of year is supposed to invite disconnection, enjoyment and relaxation. Nothing could be further from the truth.
However, and although it is true that seeing our children fight frequently can exhaust us, the psychologist Gema Fuentes points out that these discussions between siblings can be “a great training for life” if we manage them in a positive way .
“Discussions allow us to express those things that we do not like to be done to us, they help us to set limits to others, so that the brothers get to know each other better and, even and even if it seems contradictory, to improve coexistence, since we they provide an opportunity to express ourselves assertively, giving our opinion and defending our rights in a respectful way , “he reflects.
In short, siblings arguing is not a bad thing as long as they are specific discussions in which they are not disrespectful or attacked. In this sense, the psychologist considers that when the frequency and intensity of conflicts is excessive, when fights generate lasting discomfort, or when they are infrequent but very intense discussions, we should take certain measures .
How to positively handle sibling fights
For some parents it is not always easy to manage disputes between siblings on vacation , not only because it hurts us to see our children fight, but because on vacation we seek to rest, disconnect and be calm, so these types of situations tend to upset us more than when they happen at another time of year.
These are the guidelines that the psychologist offers us to treat the problem in a positive way :
Parents tend to react hastily to a sibling fight, but Gema advises us that whenever possible and our immediate intervention is not required, we take time to reflect, breathe and thus avoid losing our temper.
This will not only prevent us from also becoming immersed in the dispute, but it will serve as an example to our children, as they will understand the importance of taking distance and cooling the mind and then solving the conflict in a respectful way.
When children are young, our example may not be enough and parents should help them with other positive resources such as the corner of calm, the bottle of calm, the magic box, crafts … In short, it is about understanding the importance of taking separate time to calm down.
- Listen without judging
For the expert it is essential that we listen to what has happened and how each one feels , but not in order to “rule on a verdict”, but so that the children feel protected and understood. In addition, that a child can express how they feel freely and without judgment is an important and necessary step to be able to manage their emotions in a positive way.
- Encourage empathy
On the one hand, we must have empathy with our children and put ourselves in their shoes . It is normal that as parents we get frustrated when we witness a fight between siblings, but “we have to understand that we also get angry, and that children’s emotions are more intense than those of adults,” advises the psychologist.
On the other hand, it is convenient that we foster empathy in our children by asking them how they think their brother or sister feels after the fight, or even us as witnesses to their dispute. It is not about recriminating them, but about teaching the child to put themselves in the shoes of the other and to understand the feelings of others.
- Find solutions together
Although it is normal that parents want to solve the problem quickly and in our own way, the really positive and educational thing for children is to be able to solve it themselves. When they are little they will need our help, but we must always try to act as guides and not expressly telling them what to do .
In this sense, we can offer them different solutions for them to choose, encourage them to brainstorm ideas together to solve the problem, or even have a family meeting so that all members can find the best solution. This exercise not only encourages their creativity, critical thinking and conflict resolution, but it will also make them feel valuable and useful within the family nucleus , by checking that their contributions are taken into account and that it is also in their hands to improve the climate of coexistence.
Photos | iStock, Pexels
Acknowledgments | Gema Fuentes, Grows Well
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