Parents Guidance and Sibling Conflict

The ways in which parents handle their children's disagreements and quarrels is an important means through which they help siblings form positive

A balance between friendliness and conflict in sibling relationships can provide a unique opportunity for children to develop important social and behavioral skills. (Corbis)

relationships with one another. With young children, parents must usually intervene in siblings' arguments to prevent older siblings from taking advantage of younger ones. This intervention is most effective when parents talk with the children about the problem, discuss the children's feelings and needs, explain their own feelings about the issues, and enforce rules for the children's treatment of one another. For siblings in middle childhood and adolescence, parents' consistent enforcement of rules that emphasize equality and fairness helps siblings develop respect for one another as they work out their own disagreements. Conflict in sibling relationships also decreases when parents treat their children impartially and keep the discussion friendly when talking with their children about sibling relationship problems.

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