Handling Back Seat Brawls

On average, siblings will engage in about 3.5 conflicts an hour. It’s normal, it’s natural and it can drive you bonkers! On the bright side, when your children fight over possessions or ideas they are learning valuable life lessons such as how to negotiate, stand up for themselves, resolve conflict and manage their emotions. On the dark side, you can find yourself playing referee most days.

We invite you to take the referee hat off and put on a sun hat instead!

During a calm family moment, talk to your children and make it clear that bossiness, yelling, and fighting will have a consequence. Remind them of what you expect from them. Good behavior includes using manners, not arguing, talking nicely to each other, and doing something without being asked.

If your children are old enough to speak and express their feelings and ideas, it’s best to leave the arguments for them to resolve when possible. Encourage them to arrive at a solution together and be prepared to get involved if the fighting escalates to include yelling and hitting. Hand out consequences and remind them of the behavior you expect from them.

Of course, if your children are in the back seat of the car during a heated argument, it can be hard to escape the madness. Instead calmly say, “I do not want to hear your arguing. Please settle your differences quietly.”

Wait for a resolution and be on stand-by if you need to provide the ultimate solution (i.e. remove object of desire.)


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