The Daily Telegraph - Saturday



Teach cooling-down strategies: leaving the room, deep breathing, punching a pillow (rather than a sibling).

Encourage younger children to work as a team. Give each child a specific role: for example, one puts the cutlery on the table, the other pours a water jug.

Often, negative or aggressive behaviour is born out of insecurity, which can stem from a childhood experience. Try to understand where this self-doubt might originate from and attempt to gently have a conversati­on around it.

There is often a subtext going on. Aggressive behaviour might be a way of protecting oneself from feeling vulnerable.

Rivalry can be a different word for envy. Consider what might be fuelling one child’s jealousy of another. If family talk is always about one member’s amazing job, think how you might create a more balanced approach.

When adult siblings feel “stuck” in their childhood roles (“the baby”, “the rebellious one”, “the serious brother”) resentment can build. Labels can prevent a person fulfilling their potential.

Involve your adult children equally in major life decisions such as inheritanc­e, moving from the family home, managing your old-age plan. Again, it’s back to the all-together family meeting.

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