Sibling Fighting: How To Keep the Peace

Fighting among your kids can really frustrating for parents. How do you know where to draw the line? What role should parents have during these disagreements? What are some of the positive and negative consequences of sibling rivalry that can sometimes lead to fights? Plus, we’ll discuss some strategies to help you keep the peace!

View Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Sibling Fighting: How To Keep the Peace
Episode 135, April 8th, 2015


Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Sibling conflict is inevitable, but boy, can it be annoying for parents? Actually, sibling conflict can even be good for kids, but frustrating for parents. It's hard to know when and where to draw the line in order to allow siblings to be independent but also to maintain overall family sanity and peace in the home.

I am Dr. Anne Goshen. I am a psychotherapist and I specialize in helping couples and parents, and today we are talking about sibling fighting, how to keep the peace and this is Parent Savers.

[Theme Music]

JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome once again everyone to Parent Savers, podcasting potentially for the last time from the Birth Education center San Diego. But not because Parents Savers is going anywhere but because our good friends at the Birth Education Center are going to be moving.


JOHNER RIEHL: And we are going to be doing maybe some changes for Parent Savers and be going virtual. Do you want to tell us more about that move?

SUNNY GAULT: Yes, we should talk about it briefly because this is a big change for us

JOHNER RIEHL: It's exciting and it's awesome

SUNNY GAULT: It's really cool. So, when we started this shows four years ago, you know, the technology has evolved. For the last four years we primarily have been meeting here at the San Diego area to records the show and as you know, we sometimes have people joining us remotely, but it is still very San Diego centric. So, one of the things that I really wanted to do is to branch out and involve as many parents as we possibly could from all over the country, even from all over the world if that is something that they want to do.

And so the best way to do that is to have everyone now that technology has caught up with us, be able to record straight from their own computers at home.

What we are going to be playing around with is moving from recording here in the studio in San Diego to everyone recording from their own homes. Like we said, the technology is really easy to do that nowadays. The recordings actually turn out fantastic. The quality is super good and then we can broadcast in our pajamas and what is better than broadcasting in your pajamas.

JOHNER RIEHL: I am not going to say. It's really great, and I think with technology and all the ways you guys are able to connect with us whether it is by Facebook or Twitter or just even when the new podcast comes out, there are so many ways to get it, so thanks to all of you loyal listeners. It's nothing that is changing with Parent Savers from a stand point of the highbrow conversations you have that we have in every episode, but it is a change and I think it is going to make the show even go more global.

SUNNY GAULT: We are going to explode

JOHNER RIEHL: Thanks to our friends at the Birth Education Center San Diego for all the hundreds of episodes of different shows that we have tapped here. For you guys listening make sure to check all our apps. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what you think, and if you want to join in the conversation more, now that we are ready to embrace you even more virtually, please do.

Let's talk about who is joining us this week, including somebody is joining us virtually. We have Jules on the phone joining us from Seattle. That is going to give you a taste for the future of Parent Savers.

Jules, tell us about yourself and thanks for joining us.

JULES MASS: I am Jules, and my husband and I have five year old triplet girls, two identical and one fraternal. I need all the information I can get on this topic.

JOHNER RIEHL: And the topic today if I haven't said it yet is “sibling fighting”. My name is Johner and I am your host. I am a PR by day and Parent Savers podcast host by weekend sometimes, with Sunny. I love the chance to hang out with Sunny. We have three boys, a nine year old, a seven year old and a four year old.

Sibling fighting is a huge thing in our house so I am pretty much looking forward to this topic.

SUNNY GAULT: Yes, so I have four kiddos of my own. The oldest is five and a boy and then I have a three year old, and then I have identical twin girls who are just over two years. So, lots of sibling fighting in my house. It's mainly the boy's kind of fight with each other than the girls are starting to fight with each other. Not a lot of cross fighting between the genders yet, but I am sure there is only twenty-one months between my three year old and my two year old twins.

So, I am expecting that to increase but right now the boys seem to be fighting with each other and the girls are fighting with each other.

JOHNER RIEHL: In a way they are sort of doubled up, like the boys and the girls. And our expert is Dr. Ann Goshen, welcome.

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Hi, thank you?

JOHNER RIEHL: Tell us about yourself.

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Well, I have a sibling, I have an older brother who is three years older than me. We are in the same field of psychology, so mental health that is interesting. I have one daughter who is an adult. She has two girls ages seven and ten, so I am a grand mom. I also have two step-daughters. One of them has a little boy who has just turned one, and another one on the way. He doesn't have a clue yet what is in stored for him because he thinks he is the center of the universe.

JOHNER RIEHL: Thanks everyone for joining us.

[Theme music]

JOHNER RIEHL: Before we begin the conversation we would like to talk about apps or technology that might be useful to parents. This is the thing that is really exploding in our community right now and I want to tell you guys about it.

It is a really neat thing and might be available in your community, and if not there is a way to get it started in your community. It's called “Buy Nothing”, and the website for the overall project is . It is a Facebook group really that we have in our area. I am from an area in San Diego called Scripture Ranch so there is a page called Buy Nothing scripture ranch. There are different areas in San Diego that currently have this going.

What it is, is that when people are done using something whether it is some necklaces or some furniture or maybe it's some baby stuff, I have seen like crib bumpers on there, or some toys for kids to ride. The idea is that we want to build a community that you offer the gift to someone within your community that might have a use for it and have you or your kids to use it and then we you drop it off, it is not just like a craigslist exchange, it is like 'hi, you live here, I have a friend who lives on this called the sack or you know so and so."

It is trying to make community connections, so it is a really neat thing that is happening in that families are not only connecting with each other, but you might have something that you don't want to get rid of, so if Sunny quit podcasting she would be like " I have all these microphones what I'm I going to do"? And someone else would be like hey I am starting a podcast, I would live new microphones.

So that sort of thing. It is a really neat positive thing. Do you guys have that in Seattle or have you hears of this?

JULES MASS: Oh yes, I have seen it in my neighborhood specifically. I haven't actually used it yet

JOHNER RIEHL: It is something that in our group over the past three months has really become a big thing. So Sunny you were looking at it today, you hadn't heard about it.

SUNNY GAULT: I have never heard of it before unfortunately. It has not made its way up north to where I live in San Diego yet. But as Johner said, there is a way that you can actually start one. Through the website you can click on a button and it will take you through the process.

I was looking on their website and they have a section for media basically headlines and stuff like that and how people are using this.

“Komo” did something an article that I am sure was on TV too. On their website where they talk about how a local woman was getting married and they just wanted to go to the court house to get married. She posted something and then people in the community kept donating stuff to her, for example, a dance studio in town donated two rooms for the wedding and the reception, photographer, videographer and DJ stepped up free of charge, people donated gowns and bridesmaid dresses, that might be quiet interesting. You might have a like a lot of different dresses in your party. People brought chairs, tables, party favors, decorations even donated dishes for the buffet that they had, so someone's whole wedding changed as a result of this.

JOHNER RIEHL: I saw an another community on a small level, there is a woman who wanted to throw a surprise party for her mom who was just finishing cancer treatments and she had seen a thing where someone paints the ravens and then people at the party signed it. She put on this group that if anyone has artistic talent could they help? A local artist came up and said he would love to help or something like that. It was something that that woman who was helped felt good about doing it for someone, someone got that thing for her mom and it's a really neat community thing.

For parents with young kids, it is awesome because a lot of times when want to get rid of stuff because their kids are getting older, and so if you have young kids, you probably have learnt by now that you don't necessarily have to buy anything new, and to have some stuff kind of coming in from a different avenues that will get really loved and used is welcomed by everyone even the people that are giving away the object.

SUNNY GAULT: I think it is a really great idea. I love how it is changing people and we should say too that it is not just in the USA. If you go to their website there are different countries and you can select what country you are from and if you are in the USA, what state, what city. It's really out there now.

JOHNER RIEHL: If you have not used it yet, I think that it is really worth checking out. I would also suggest looking on Facebook if you have a Facebook account for buying nothing either from your local community or your city, and I am sure it will take you to some pages to look it up.

If this is something that you guys hear about or are able to use, let us know about it. We would love to hear about it. It is something that in our community it is just emerging. It sounds like it's been in Seattle so let us know your experiences with . I think it is a good resource for parents; hopefully it works out for you guys.

[Theme music]

JOHNER RIEHL: Today on parent savers we are talking about sibling fighting and how to keep the peace with Dr. Ann Goshen. Welcome Dr. Goshen

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Thank you

JOHNER RIEHL: You were mentioning and I am sure you have a sibling yourself so you are well qualified to talk about it from this perspective and then you have grandkids in the neighborhood and you have seen sibling fighting all over the place. You also have a daughter yourself, and professionally you are a Doctor so you are well qualified to talk about this topic.

Let's talk about sibling fighting, it's natural right?

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: You know it's built into our DNA, because as species we evolved and survived because we were competing for resources. And that is what sibling rivalry is what about. And if you think about what is the primary resource that we provide our kids, it is out time and attention. At the core of a lot of sibling rivalry, and I call it rivalry not fighting, because fighting is a behavior that comes out of that

JOHNER RIEHL: I think we put that there because that's what Sunny and I are dealing with right now

SUNNY GAULT: This is a very personal episode for us.

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Sibling rivalry is the fighting, the squabbling, the bickering that gets on our nerves as parents, and we always wish we can just get them to shut up. It starts by understanding it is inevitable. How we deal with it, and how we help them deal with it is the key.

JOHNER RIEHL: How do you know when it goes from normal to excessive, and abnormal? I have heard a story about Christina's cousin, when the baby came home the older brother was so jealous of that baby that he did something to try and hurt the baby. That is obviously a little bit different, it is competing for resources and your parents love. That maybe is obviously one example, but how do you know when there is a line crossed and normal sibling rivalry or bickering is getting bigger?

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Great question because when it crosses that line it can actually get dangerous. Part of our job as parents is to protect our kids but part of our job is also to prepare them for being healthy functioning adults. I think there are some obvious situations where crossing the line or potentially could cross the line, certainly the example that you were sharing Johner where there is a difference in age, or where one child really because of their age or their physical abilities or whatever is not really able to defend themselves. They may need a little bit more direction and more protection.

I think the other thing that is critical is for the parents not to wait until it gets to that point. Before it gets to the point of crossing the line, there are usually kinds of red flags, and as parents we really need to pay attention.

I will give you an example of that which I experienced a few years ago. I have a nephew who at the time was twelve and he was adopted at age twelve. He was severely brain injured before that so, here is a kid who really is not able to control or manage his behavior or emotions very well. I was visiting my brother and sister in-law and my nephew was there and so was his cousin. The boys were being boys as you were talking about your sons. They were going around and playing and chasing each other and I am sitting watching this and I could see it escalating and escalating. My brother is sitting at the corner reading, my sister in-law is in the kitchen making cookies and these two boys, it was a recipe for disaster.

Part of it is that we need to be paying attention and not just wait till it gets out of line.

JOHNER RIEHL: It's not the scream or the head like oh, I need to do something, but you can tell beforehand.

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Sometimes we ignore those signs because we are hoping they will stop or it will go away, or we are doing our own thing or on our Facebook or on the phone. We need to be more mindful as parents.

JOHNER RIEHL: What do you seeing up there with the three girls as far as the sibling rivalry or fighting is concerned, what stage are you at Jules?

JULES MASS: I would definitely classify it as rivalry that turns into fighting, Since they were born they have always had to share us and so when there are opportunities to have Mom or Dad to themselves it is a very big deal and there is a lot of 'it's my turn or I want to sit in this part of the car." It can be better but most of the arguments are over who is playing with what. We had a big brawl today over which color of play doll somebody was using or which pony there were putting on play doll on.

At the age of five the arguments are not full blown yet and nobody is really getting injured. There has been some hitting and we did have a biter when she was eighteen months old and that one we implemented time out. Those have since gone away and we have not had to use that in a long time. Mainly it is competing for attention.

JOHNER RIEHL: What happens in my house would be, maybe you can help me how to deal with it Dr. Goshen, is let's say we are eating a meal and I pull out three plates for the boys, and one of them is red, one green and another one blue. And then they all want this red plate, and I feel like I am harder on the oldest one especially who just turned nine, but it seems like logic doesn't really matter for them.

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Not at all.

JOHNER RIEHL: So what is that all about, why is it that they want the red plate? It's because there brother wants, right?

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Yes, it's because their brother wants. It is control and power and it is not about logic. And part of it I think kids enjoy the squabbling. For them that is kind of Disney land, and they also enjoy, and I think this is important for parents to understand, they also enjoy getting us. Getting us reacting, getting us emotional. We think that is upsetting to them? It is the opposite. Again, that is Disney land, when they see us going around in circles, they are like wow that is power for them.

SUNNY GAULT: We are like a ride.


JOHNER RIEHL: That is a totally different way to think about it because you would think that they are getting my negative attention so they can't like it.

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Oh they love it. They love the positive too but absolutely

JOHNER RIEHL: On some level even when it is negative they loving it.

SUNNY GAULT: When they fight and hit each other and push each other and stuff, they are not really trying to hurt each other, are they? They are like this is what I want but not hurt each other. I find myself saying why you want to hurt your brother, why did you punch him in the face? I don't understand.

JOHNER RIEHL: It sounds like logic is our worst defense

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Yes, thank you for saying that. It is because we are expecting them to deal logically and one of the keys to help kids with sibling rivalry is understanding how their brain works.

We know so much more about brain development than we ever did before. One of the things that we know, and you can talk to kids about this in a language that they understand, is that there is the emotional part of our brain and then there is the logical problem solving rational part of our brain. When a kid is upset, is fighting with a sibling, is not getting your attention as the parent, what happens that it triggers the emotional part of the brain. This is like the downstairs part and in that moment they really are not able to sit and go, okay, well a red plate or a green plate, big deal, who cares, no big difference. They are not able in that moment to do that.

The more we understand the nature of our kids brains and their particular temperaments, the better we can help them.

SUNNY GAULT: So they are just reacting, there is no like a filter thing? Is that what you are saying?

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Well, the younger the child the fewer filters, but as adults we don't always have the best filters either. One of the things that I really think is very important in helping our kids with sibling rivalry, with conflict let us say, is looking at our own role in that. For example, how does my partner and I deal with conflict?

We are the role models. The parents are the role models. When I have parents at my office complaining about this, I will always ask how do you two deal with conflicts. What do they do when they have a disagreement? What do they do about tension in the home? How do they calm themselves down? Because that is where it starts and I what ways do they back each other up?

Another ways that kids can be reinforced in that fighting, squabbling behavior is if they able to intervene and come in between the two parents. Again, it gives them power when they do that, power you don't want them to have.

JOHNER RIEHL: I felt like I have seen that with my kids sometimes when they are having their squabbles or bickering, saying things like "that is like what I say." I do see it, like he is trying to deal with his little brother how he seen me deal with him, and I am like maybe I should not deal with him like that. Whether I am in the middle of work I am like give me a minute or whatever, they take modeling like a big issue. It is so obvious and probably a lot of times you might not even think about it.

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Yes, it is huge, and the good news about that is that our behavior with them and between ourselves and the other parent is hugely powerful. We have a lot of ability to teach them through that role modeling. We just need to be more conscience of it. If we think about sibling rivalry or sibling fighting, if we think that our job is not just to stop it or control it, our job is to help them learn how to manage when they have a conflict or disagreement when they are not getting along with somebody. That is a skill people need the rest of their lives.

When I work with couples, the number one issue that couples bring to me is conflict, and generally speaking they have no clue on how to manage it. So, if the parents don't know how to do it between themselves, it is going to trickle down.

JOHNER RIEHL: Stopping it feels so good sometimes and that is what you sometimes feel like a parent that you need. Like literally guys, 'stop yelling at each other’ just stop and then deal with it, but we really need to be giving them the tools to work with. Not that we don't, there are times that we do

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: There are times when you do, absolutely. I think we need to be really careful of what I call going by CDO parenting, which is just reacting in the moment. I think everyone of us who is a parent has done the “what not to do” at some point. Every one of us can at some time go like oh my gosh, what was I thinking, if only I can replay it.

But if you start to have the attitude of when our kids are behaving in a way that is annoying to us, that is a teaching opportunity. It is a learning moment. What it does is it enables us have a bigger perspective or broader perspective. It really starts with the knowledge of the role model but also with the parent’s ability to calm themselves down. This is because if you are discipline children and you are not calm down, it is very easy for that to go the wrong way, and it will not be effective. We need to know to calm ourselves down and also how to help them calm down.

SUNNY GAULT: Can we play out a scenario here so that I have an example to go home with. The whole thing about fighting with toys, Jules hit the nail on the head when she was talking about that. I feel that is the number one issue in my house, like someone took someone's toy or whatever. Someone has something that someone else wants. I am usually not right there because they are smarter not to cause a fight when I am right there, it is usually something across the room or something like that.

Usually there is no reaction time, it is like you took this, boom! Fighting going on. It’s like I am not watching something build up, I feel like it is coming out of nowhere. They do this constantly and if I see that, my first thing is I am usually going to the person who has been hit because they are crying. That is my nature, to console whoever is crying and then ask them what happened. Usually the answer would be he took my toys or he hit me whatever. Okay, come over here, why did you take the toy, will you apologize to you brother because it is not nice to hit and you wouldn't like it if someone hits us.

I feel like this is my conversation I have, I mean what I'm I doing wrong because it is not working?

Dr Goshen: Okay, great question:

JOHNER RIEHL: Let us take a quick break, I am serious, I hate doing that, I am sorry guys but let us do it now and then we will drop right back right after this.

[Theme music]

JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome back everybody, we are talking about sibling fighting how to keep the peace and we just had a scenario laid out where Sunny gave us a day in her life, probably it happens five times in a day, the conversation that she has with her kids. Let us talk about dealing with that and strategies, how can we help our kids?

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Great example, and universal one. I am sure that Jules in Seattle can relate to that as well with her triplets. A couple of things, one is in that kind of a situation where something happens over and over, very common. It is very important to create a strategy a head of time, and create a rule. For example the rule might be if somebody grabs a toy, or if I hear a fight about a toy, the toy gets removed whatever the toy is. And it doesn’t matter who did it, because part of what we want our kids to do is to develop the ability to collaborate together and problem solve.

For example, instead of having them apologize which is not usually genuine anyway, their apology rather, instead you can have them see what can you do right here. Just as an example, I was in the car the other day with my grandchildren who are seven and ten, and I had taken out all their activity books so they had nothing to do and it was a long drive. I had one note book and one pen and that is all I had in the car for them.

I handed it over to them and I said see if you can figure out how you can work together with this because I don't want to hear any argument about it or fighting about it because then the art supplies, the book and the pen will be gone, I am going to take them away. So, I am listening to them and at first it was no I want it she wants it. The one of the said we could take turns and the other said no, and they went back and forth and finally came up with a solution where they are going to do joint pictures. One would start a picture and the other would add then they pass it back and forth, and they had the best time with that.

What they were learning was to collaborate. For this kind of situation, what you might do is create a world that is to say if they are fighting about a toy, then the toy is removed.

You don’t have to get into figuring out who did what, because that is a trap. Sometimes it is useful, sometimes it is a trap. You can also talk to them again, ideally when it is not happening about the situation. For example, I notice that it seems you fight about toys a lot and that is just some work for me, I don't like to hear you squabbling and I love when you are getting along, let's talk about what you could do differently.

What you are doing is you are getting them involved in problem solving and maybe they would come up with two or three ideas that you did not even think about. Like the plan that my grandchildren came up with, so I think that is part of it, and part of it is recognizing if somebody is getting hit then that child might need to be removed. If it happens all of a sudden and it is something that happens over and over, think about it at a time, plan for it, create a rule, and get them involved in problem solving.

SUNNY GAULT: I love that

JULES MASS: I love that too, I have been doing to those and someone gets removed it is getting too crazy and if you are fighting over it. I had not integrated involving them in getting any solution yet, so obviously that is the piece that I am missing.

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: I am glad to hear that Jules because that is the part we are really helping them prepare, to be adults who can resolve conflicts and deal with issues of tensions or disagreements, that is really good.

JOHNER RIEHL: We all know over here because that is the part I realize I am not an idiot because we do that, and I always tell the kids to figure out and so I think what I am hearing is we are not the referee for sibling conflicts and we should not see ourselves as such. It is not what did you do, it is a trap. Instead, we are the coach and saying you guys figure it out. I will even tell the kids sometimes if they are raising their voices that I don’t even necessarily care exactly what it is, but you guys work this out and work it in a way that is appropriate to talk to each other, just as a way of helping them to manage it. They usually are able to talk, and I love that joint picture idea. That's really cool.

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: I just to follow-up on something you were saying Johner and that is when we say to them you work it out, I think it is important to know whether or not they are capable of doing that. A lot of parents will say you need to go work that out but sometimes kids don't know how to do that. There is a difference between doing that like you said being a coach. A coach is not a referee, but a coach is not somebody who says you just do it. A coach needs to be teaching those skills.

I want to give you an example. This was my granddaughter Eden who at that time she was about five and we had a couple of kids at the house. She was playing with one little girl and they were having a great time playing Legos and I happened to be in the room upstairs to get something. This other little girl comes in and right in the middle of them and wants to play with them. And Eden said to her no, we don't want you here, get out. I was of course mortified, because she is a guest in our home, how can you say that?

And I said Eden, come here, and I took her out of the room, by herself and I told her that was not kind, what you said to that little girls, that was not kind. You need to do something differently, go back in there. She looked at me and said I don't know what else to do. I went like wow, so we talked about it and what else to do and I gave her some ideas and she came up with some ideas.

We can't assume that kids know how to do.

JOHNER RIEHL: I have thought about and I feel we sometimes have this assumption that kids know how to do things automatically and they don't. They are not necessarily born with the facility to come up with different solutions throughout, and so we need to teach them.

Let us talk more strategies about keeping the peace amongst siblings; you know as we are looking at ways to help them, we are coaching them a little bit. Do you have other ideas?

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Well just to reiterate what I said earlier is that when you see something going on is to calm yourself down first and monitor the risk obviously, and then help them calm themselves down.

They can't problem solve until they are have the emotions in check. For example, the other day I was with my grandchildren and the little one got upset about something. Her older sister, because I think we have worked them a lot about how to calm themselves, her older sister who is ten came over to her looked her right in the face a said now Eden, take three deep breaths, and I thought, wow, she is learning, she got that.

That is a wonderful tool. It sounds really simplistic but if something is going all right with the kids and they are getting upset, maybe just to say, okay let us all take three deep breaths together and then go to the next step. It is a tiny thing but the message is let us take a moment because it is rare that something needs to be dealt with right in that second.

The other piece, and I was talking before about sibling rivalry is built into our DNA and it is really about that competing for resources. If the parent is the primary resource and part of that squabbling like you are talking with your kids, part of it may also be to get Mom come in here and do something and get Moms attention.

One thing that we need to be always conscience of is, are we noticing and reinforcing, acknowledging when our kids are cooperating and collaborating, or are we just so grateful for a little bit of peace and quiet that we are ignoring them?

We really need to be doing this every once in a while, like when we are driving in a car and they are in the back sit and are getting along okay, stop and say to them. "You know what? You are doing so well, you are really sharing or you are really being quiet, or I like the way one of you had the toy and you gave it to the other one". So we really need to be doing a lot more of that. It is so easy to focus on the negative.

JOHNER RIEHL: Its funny, you want to jump into this whole topic, how I'm I going to stop the kids from fighting? The answers are be positive, like some of the answers are positivity and modeling appropriate behavior which has nothing to do necessarily in moments of the fight over whatever toy it is. It’s so much bigger than that. It’s more than just the toy to deal with

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Absolutely. I think one of the things in the moment that we can sometimes do if it is appropriate, is remove ourselves. If we say this concept that they are wanting at some level our attention when they are squabbling with each other and we say to them something like “you know it sound like right now you are not ready for me to be here” or, 'right now I don't want to be around you when you are squabbling like this.'

I think the assumption is that they all have some responsibility and some role in that fighting and squabbling, so 'right now I am going to put on my head phones and listen to some music or I may go in the other room, let me know when you are ready for me to come back.'

I did that with actually Eden last week. They were squabbling over something and I have limited time around them because I am their grandma, and I said, "you know I don't like being around you when you are doing this, it’s not fun for me, and I am going to go upstairs and let me know when you are ready for me to come back and spend time." I wasn't half way the stairs and they both came out of the room and said "grandma grand mom please come back we are ready." They were absolutely great.

JOHNER RIEHL: Okay, Jules, what are you taking away from this show? What are some things you are writing notes on or whatever that you are ready to act on? Have you learnt anything?

JULES MASS: Yes, The inclusion and empowerment in letting them participate in finding a solution, that sounded quite well thought out. I am also considering getting rid of our colour coded items

When you started talking about the plate argument, it really came back to me. We have that same argument sometimes in our house because we made the mistake of colour coding them when they were infants, not necessarily for our benefit for their grandparents, like my Mom in particular could not tell them Ashley and Sarah apart, so we colour coded their colors of their blankets and so there is a lot of 'this isn't my cup, you gave me the wrong cup Mom.'

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: Sounds like it is time to retire that.

JOHNER RIEHL: Just so quick that is a little bit of the tip to eliminate the source of the conflict. We talked about putting toys in time out, but if there are things we know are going to keep being issues, just eliminate it.

JULES MASS: It’s kind of just going with a brand new strategy, but yes, this is fantastic I really appreciate it being part of this conversation because it has given me a lot of tools to back to that I can start using.

JOHNER RIEHL: What will be the last thing that you want to mention Dr Goshen that everyone remembers about sibling conflict?

DR. ANNE GOSHEN: I think one thing that I would want people to make sure that they know and take away from this is also looking at the opposites. What is the opposite of conflict? It is peace. What is the opposite of fighting? Its collaboration. What is the opposite of rivalry? It is gratitude. So, to look at what are you doing in your home for example, to create a culture of gratitude? The more you do that the more kids mindset goes in that direction. For example, at the dinner table, maybe every night each person shares something about everyone in the family that they are grateful for. That is really about shifting that culture and creating a different norm in the home.

JOHNER RIEHL: Creating the behaviors that you do want to encourage


JOHNER RIEHL: That is great, that is awesome. I really enjoyed that conversation about sibling rivalry and sibling fighting. Like I said, we call it sibling fighting we really talked about a lot of issues beyond just the siblings. We gave some good strategies for the moment but also overall strategies as well. Hopefully you guys found that as helpful as we did here in the studio. Thanks for listening, thank you Dr Goshen for being part of the conversation.

We actually are going to continue in just a little bit, tune in more. For members of our parent savers club we have some bonus content so we will do that after the show.

For more information about the parent savers club you can visit the member portion of our website.

We have a listener question for Annie in Wisconsin. She says she has a two and half year old son who has this weird habit of licking people. She writes "it’s not only embarrassing but I am also concerned about germs. I certainly don't want him getting sick, I have asked him to stop but he seems to enjoy the extra attention he gets when he does it, how can I stop this?"

Suzie Walton: Hi Annie, this is Suzie Walton from the joy of parenting online course and you had a question about your two and a half year old who licks people. You know it actually has become a habit so he may be in the habit. You can let him to know and you can actually role play with him on when he wants to connect the people he can hug them or he can kiss them. When he forgets and he licks, you just remove him from the situation and say remember it’s okay to kiss or hug, and that is all you do.

If he comes up again and he licks, you remove him and tell him remember it’s okay to kiss or hug. So, you don't really get upset about what he is doing, but you are going to be very proactive on what you want him to do. You are going to continue keep doing this and if he licks you go ' no no no' as you remove him and tell him 'you, know what to do.' You will do that over and over again and I have a feeling that will help stop that habit. As you know he is doing it for attention but you don't want to make him wrong, you just keep going over and over again on what you want from him and what you don't want from him.

Okay, so I hope this helps out, let me know if it does or does not and thank you for that question because there are a lot of little kids out there that are doing the same thing, so thank you Anne.

JOHNER RIEHL: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Parent Savers.
Don’t forget to check out our sister shows:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed
• This is Twin Talks for parents of multiples and
• Newbies for those going through it for the first time.
Thanks again for joining us. This is Parent Savers- empowering new parent.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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