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trisha
trisha asks:
Q:

How do you establish rules for siblings that are 5 years apart?

Hello,  I am a mother of 3 and find it very challanging trying to establish the same type rules for all my children who are all about 5 yrs apart.  It seems the oldest one is always interjecting in my dicipling the younger one and then taking it out on the middle one.  Does any one know what I am talking about?  You are talking to one child and the others have to get in on it and then your yelling at all of them.
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges, Parenting siblings
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Apr 7, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Yes, it can be very challenging when trying to fairly discipline siblings that are several years apart. It's understandable how frustrating it must be when you have three kids coming at you complaining that they aren't getting fair treatment at the same time. First, remember to make each of them talk one at a time. Remind them that you can't talk to three people at once, so when they stop talking over each other then you'll be able to help. Simply wait in silence for them to take turns. It is fair to give them each different consequences and rules because they are so far apart in age, so don't let them argue that it's not. They may not always agree with you, but stick to your first answer, unless they learn to appropriately disagree. It's an important skill that is easy to teach. The steps to appropriately disagreeing are:

1. Look at the person you are disagreeing with.
2. Use a pleasant voice tone (free of sarcasm or anger).
3. Say "I understand How You Feel."
4. Tell why you feel differently.

Ask your kids to use these steps after they have been given a decision they don't like. Tell them that if they use the appropriate steps, your decision won't always change, it will be more likely that you will reconsider that decision. Sometimes they will have to learn to accept your "no" answer even if it's not what they want to hear. Once they learn that you simply won't listen to their arguing, they will begin to change their behvior.

We hope this gives you a good start!!

Sincerely,
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (3)

lkauffman
lkauffman writes:
Hi Patricia,<br />
<br />
Phew! Sounds like you have your hands full. Parenting three children is no easy task, further complicated when a child misbehaves and there are &quot;too many cooks in the kitchen.&quot; I suggest that you consider strategies for separating your children when discipline is involved so that you can reduce the temptation for siblings to throw in their &quot;two cents.&quot; If you are at home, you can ask the misbehaving child to go to their room or some other space in the house to think about why their behavior is inappropriate. Wait only a minute or so and then enter the room, discuss the incident with them, and deliver the consequence.<br />
<br />
When the &quot;peanut gallery&quot; later jumps in and questions the consequence, reassure your children that you love them all, want them all to learn about what is appropriate and inappropriate, and have established rules and consequences that are relevant to their age. Oh, and if it seems that you have made a 180 degree turn on a rule or consequence, let them know that you ARE also human, learn new things all the time, and you have changed your mind on this issue based upon new information.<br />
<br />
Good luck!<br />
<br />
> 60 days ago

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kellysfinn
kellysfinn , Parent writes:
Hi Patricia,<br />
&nbsp;<br />
Education.com has a fantastic search tool that gives a lot of useful information on topics like sibling rivalry. If you type in &quot;sibling fights&quot; into the search engine you will be directed to various reference articles on the topic. A few articles that look the most helpful are:<br />
<br />
An article discussing concrete steps parents can take when siblings are fighting:<br />
http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Sibling_Rivalry_3/<br />
&nbsp;<br />
This article talks not only about how to handle sibling rivalry, but also when to step in:<br />
http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Sibling_Conflicts/<br />
&nbsp;<br />
<br />
Hope this helps!<br />
> 60 days ago

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sedwards
sedwards writes:
Hi Patricia,

Here are some Education.com reference articles that discuss handling sibling
rivalry. I hope they are helpful!

This article discusses concrete steps parents can take when siblings are
fighting:
http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Sibling_Rivalry_3/

This article talks not only about how to handle sibling rivalry, but also when
to step in:
http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Sibling_Conflicts/

There are tons of books out there about sibling rivalry and discipline. Here
are a few that are well reviewed and discuss both positive discipline and
sibling relationships.

http://www.amazon.com/Positive-Discipline-Revised-Expanded-2nd/dp/0761514708/ref=sr_1_11/105-6547397-0530031?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188937763&sr=1-11

http://www.amazon.com/Siblings-Without-Rivalry-Children-Together/dp/0380799006/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-6547397-0530031?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188938482&sr=1-1

Hope this helps!
> 60 days ago

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