Parenting Siblings

Best Frienemies


Heidi has 2 children, both girls age 7 and 4. Heidi has noticed that some days her daughters are best friends and will play together nicely for hours. Other times, her daughters don’t get along at all. They argue and fight all day and say they hate each other. At some point, Heidi usually gets annoyed and yells at them to stop and that they better start getting along better.


Heidi’s daughters are sometimes best friends while sometimes they are each other’s worst enemies. The longer they get along well, the more likely they are to get mad at each other.

  • Siblings won’t always get along. It’s perfectly normal that they don’t always get along.
  • Children don’t often have the skills to successfully overcome conflict in a helpful way.


Strategy: Be a referee.

  1. You’re not likely going to be able to raise siblings who never have a single conflict with each other. So, when conflict comes up, teach them how to manage it in a helpful way.
  2. Raised voices, hitting, demeaning consequences are not helpful ways. Listening to each other, being able to forgive and move on, having to work together on a task or project, etc. are helpful ways to deal with sibling conflict.

This strategy won’t work in every situation. But, it’s a good start for trying to figure out how to change a child’s behavior for the better.

Questions? Contact or @raisingupdads on Facebook and Twitter! Go here to find more parenting strategies!

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