Sibling Conflict - Working It Out

Snow days can be awesome, but they are also an opportunity for sibling conflict.  Who touched who, who was playing their electric guitar toy too loudly, who wanted to watch this or that show, on and on and on.

Have A Meeting In A Different Room

Finally, I tried something.  I told them they needed to “have a meeting in a different room.”  They needed to have a conversation and figure out a solution.  Their emotions had been coming to a boil and this put a temporary lid on them.  Plus, I didn’t want their emotionality to rub off on me.

I could hear them from the next room, enough to make out a few words but it wasn’t getting too ugly.  Unfortunately, they came out and kept arguing.  I told them again to go back until they figured it out.  Finally, at long last, they come up with something they could both live with.  I have no idea what the details were because I didn’t hear them bicker about it again.  But it must have been to their mutual liking.

This doesn’t always work perfectly, but it did remind me (and them) that they are perfectly capable of getting themselves out of a deadlock when given the proper direction.

Here are a few tips on letting your kids do their own conflict resolution:

  1. -Make sure it remains civil.  If it sounds like shouting, bad language, or name calling, you’ll need to break it up.
  2. -If you need to mediate to keep things calm, be sure you are just a facilitator.  Allow their ideas to remain front and center.  If they seem stuck, you might offer a few ideas, but let them come to their own solution.
  3. -If they seem to go at it again, send them back in for another round.  Sometimes it takes more than one shot at it.
  4. -If you have any reason to believe one of your kids could be manipulative or has bullied in the past, mediate from the beginning.  You don’t want to perpetuate a bad situation if you have warning signs.

Siblings Buy Into Their Own Solutions

When siblings can come up with their own solutions, they are more likely to buy into them.  That means they’ll be more satisfied and they’ll respond well to “having a meeting” in the future.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Flutterbudgęt



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    Last reviewed: 6 Apr 2011

APA Reference
Krull, E. (2011). Sibling Conflicts – Meeting of the Minds. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 28, 2015, from



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