Reading 3 min.
in collaboration with
Héloïse Junier (Early childhood psychologist and Doctor of psychology from the University of Paris)
Are your children regularly in conflict, bickering over nothing? This is not insignificant and can complicate your daily life. However, there are ways to make this event beneficial for their development, as Héloise Junier, doctor of child psychology, explains to us.
Siblings are nice! But often also, the bond between brothers and sisters can become conflictual and fuel your daily life with more or less noisy arguments. How can we best manage these clashes and turn them into a force? Héloïse Junier, early childhood psychologist and author of My Childhood Life, explains good posture.
Are arguments among siblings normal?
Rest assured if you can no longer police the relationship between your dear children, arguments and conflicts between brothers and sisters are completely normal and frequent. “We can even say that arguments are healthy, and can be beneficial to the child’s healthy growth, as long as they are well managed and resolved.” puts Héloise Junier into perspective. In this context, this will be beneficial to social behavior, to notions of sharing or cooperation, in the child’s future.
On the other hand, this verbal or physical violence should not be trivialized, even against very young children. “We also know today that frequent but minimized violence (an older brother hitting the younger one, etc.) can have a real impact on the mental health of children. There is therefore a real stake in intervening in their conflict, so that this violence is the starting point of something beneficial.”
For this, the first point mentioned by our expert is that of the parent’s good posture. “The first advice which is very hard is to go against our first reflex which is to shout, to punish and to take the role of vigilante against the one “who started””. A pattern that we have naturally integrated into our culture.
“But to limit the conflict and derive something beneficial from it, it is better to get out of this position of vigilante, to adopt that of mediator, or moderator. That is to say, intervene without taking sides (no one is wrong or reason) in the middle of two children in conflict. And with the idea of recreating a bond and finding a concrete solution.”
Involve everyone’s empathy
Concretely, this means putting yourself at the children’s level while remaining calm (and without raising your voice if possible) and asking everyone to describe the situation. We can then talk about everyone’s feelings. “You said that, it hurt him, and you hit, but isn’t there another way to do it than to hit?” The idea is to recreate something connection between children and generate empathy and understanding among them. To come back to this point” pclarifies the expert.
Find a resolution together
Finally, a resolved conflict is one that has found a solution that suits the different participants. “What we can offer them is what can we do now, what would do each of you good? What would make you agree? And to let them find a solution together if they are old enough to do so or to find it for them if they are too young.”
The goal is for both children to emerge from the conflict with the feeling of having been listened to and treated fairly. “And it has been shown that the more we treat the conflict fairly, the more the conflict tends to decrease. The more we act vigilantly, the longer it persists.” Good advice to apply.
Parents, also pay attention to the image you give
Finally, let’s also remember that children are constantly observing us and that the quality of their relationship is often associated with the way we treat our relationship. To teach our children how to properly resolve conflict, it is better to learn how to properly resolve our own conflicts in our life as a parental couple. Silence, insults or worse, acts of violence, are likely to affect the way your children act with their brothers and sisters.