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  1. #1

    kids quarrel often

    My 5-year old thinks that I love her younger sister (2-year old) more than her. I told her that it's not true and that I love them both fairly. They quarrel a lot of times, and since she's the older sister, it's her I scolded often. Is this wrong?
    But I also talked to my 2-year old and told her not to fight with her sister.

  2. #2
    Dear Leslie,

    Of course you love both of your daughters equally. I think it is good to tell them that, as you have been doing.

    However, I would not advocate telling off one child more simply because they are older. This can create a victim mentality in the younger child; where they feel that they are always the victim because the older child is told off regardless of who caused the argument. Similarly, it can make the older child often unfairly feel like the bully in the situation. For example, it could be (just to illustrate this point) that the younger child is grabbing onto the older child's hair and so making her shout out at the younger child. If the parent then intervenes and reprimands the older child this is not a fair assessment of the situation and can start to put into place the bully/victim identities.

    As far as is possible, it is wise to allow children to sort out squabbles themselves. Obviously, within safe boundaries. If a particular toy is being fought over too much and the children are unable to take turns with it then a gentle and effective way to deal with this is to put the toy into time out, rather than the child. In this article on The Problem With Punishment (from Little Hearts Parenting) the author writes:

    'Punishment may be able to control a child’s behavior temporarily while they’re small or when they are in their parents’ presence, but it cannot control the person.'

    If children are arguing then changing task, going outside or doing something silly are all excellent ways to dissolve the conflict.

    I would also highly recommend you reading this article by Dr Sears: 20 Tips to Stop Quibbling Siblings and Promote Sibling Harmony.

    Finally, I think these words by Dr. Jane Nelson, who founded the Positive Discipline program, are helpful here:

    'Treat your kids the same. It's like you talk to both of them even if the youngest one can't understand. They understand the actions, even if they don't understand the words.'

    Please let me know your thoughts on this. I hope this helps you and your family.

    Warm wishes,
    Last edited by ljmarsden; 19th January 2014 at 07:04 AM.

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