17 Things You Can Do When Siblings Fight

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positive parenting sibling fighting

With summer approaching, the regular morning and evening routines shift or get lost entirely, and siblings have more time together both at home and on vacation.

That together time can be joyful and lovely. It can also mean more opportunities for sibling conflict.

Parents often ask me, “What can I do when one child is wailing on the other?” I’ve created a Tip Sheet with 17 different things you could do in that moment of conflict.

But before you print it out (it’s below), make sure you’ve done your “Preventive Parenting” work first.

Kaiser Permanente knows very well that one gets a much bigger return on investment when they invest in preventive care, rather than waiting to get sick.

Parenting is no different. Those moments of sibling conflict will be less explosive and less frequent when parents practice what I call, “Preventive Parenting.”

So get in front of the conflict by:

  • making sure children get enough sleep, eat good food and have healthy snacks available
  • investing in regular 1:1 Special Time with each child
  • teaching your children how to stand up for themselves
  • teaching your children how to express their feelings without violence
  • planning ahead for contentious situations
  • brainstorming with children what they CAN do when they are upset with their sibling
  • involving children in making plans (for vacation, for example) or agreements (for what to do when sibling is annoying, for example)
  • modeling constructive conflict resolution with your own partner and other adults
  • creating a culture of kindness and love in your home with family meetings, meals, and other traditions


When parents take time to plan ahead, teach skills, and involve their children in finding solutions to anticipated problems, they reap the rewards in the form of fewer and less severe sibling fights (and better behavior in general).

I teach many of these preventive as well as responsive ways to deal with conflict in a 2-week mini-series, Building Strong Sibling Relationships.

Let me know if you’re interested (just reply to the email) and I’ll notify you when the next class is happening.

In the mean time, please enjoy this free, live-linked, printable Tip Sheet: 17 Positive Parenting Responses to Sibling Fights. 

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