Let your kids fight: ex­perts

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - CHANEL ZAGON

PAR­ENTS should en­cour­age their fight­ing chil­dren to re­solve the con­flict them­selves rather than in­ter­ven­ing, ex­perts have ad­vised.

Chil­dren who over­came sib­ling ar­gu­ments with­out the help of mum or dad were more likely to de­velop bet­ter prob­lem-solv­ing skills, than those who re­lied on par­ent in­ter­ven­tion.

Rais­ing Chil­dren Net­work ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Dr Julie Green said, while par­ents might be tempted to me­di­ate sib­ling ar­gu­ments, it was best to sit back and let the kids work it out for them­selves.

“Kids grow up with un­der­stand­ing parental au­thor­ity, but some­times you have to let them work through fights on their own and it does help with de­vel­op­ing life skills,” Dr Green said. “But par­ents must know when to step in – if there’s name call­ing, gen­eral nas­ti­ness, or any­thing phys­i­cal, than you should in­ter­vene.

“It is im­por­tant to teach your kids about dis­agree­ing re­spect­fully and treat­ing one an­other with re­spect.”

But Dr Green said it was healthy for sib­lings to bicker ev­ery once in a while and not all fights should be per­ceived as bad. “Fights and re­solv­ing con­flicts teaches them how to get on with their peers, to share and take turns,” she said.

Other tips for man­ag­ing sib­ling con­flict in­cluded set­ting rules on what is “ac­cept­able” and “un­ac­cept­able” be­hav­iour.

Pun­ish­ments in­cluded tak­ing away favourite toys or priv­i­leges – such as at­tend­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. “Par­ents should stick to a dis­ci­pline rou­tine and en­sure they keep con­sis­tent on how they han­dle dis­agree­ments,” Dr Green said.

“Fam­ily rules are a great place to come back to.”

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