Vincent Powell asks:
Mother Wit we need your help! Me and my wife have two children and they are always fighting over their toys. The younger one always starts trouble with the older child. Sometimes their fights get out of control. They bite, wrestle and hit each other with objects. I’m afraid they are going to seriously hurt each other one day. I know that sibling rivalry is normal but this has gotten out of hand. We take things away from them and we separate them when they fight but neither tactic has worked. How do we get them to stop fighting?
Mother Wit says:
Sibling rivalry is definitely a normal part of growing up. It’s as old as the Bible story of Cain and Abel. It’s only natural for them to compete for attention, toys and other resources. But it’s your job to protect your children, even from one another. How they behave toward each another is their first social lesson in how to behave in a group and in public.
When my kids had their little squabbles over toys I taught them to handle it themselves. I would tell them, “I’ll be back in one minute. If neither of you can figure out how to share the toy then it will be locked away where neither of you can get to it. Try this technique and what you’ll be doing is giving your children two choices – work it out themselves or face the consequences if you have to work it out for them.