The New York Times

For Sibling Battles, Be a Sportscaster, Not a Referee

NARRATE WHAT’S HAPPENING. REPEAT BACK WHAT YOUR KIDS SAY TO YOU. TRY TO BE NEUTRAL.

Parents in my psychotherapy practice often ask how to make sibling conflict stop.

Understandably, they want the bickering, teasing, aggression and cries of “no fair” to end. But one of the best ways to dial up sibling love is not to squash conflicts, but to learn how to use them. Research supports this, and I’ve seen it in action.

For the most part, sibling conflict is normal and to be expected: Home is a safe testing ground for social dynamics. Siblings often want to play together, but it takes skill and patience when they’re different ages.

BE A SPORTSCASTER

It’s our

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