When the argument is over, continue the lesson as a parent. You can do so much then. You may choose to adopt a few behavioural techniques, where you use consequences to reduce unwanted behaviour. In this way children begin to learn some of the foundational values of our society; that fighting is not appropriate. You may also sit with your children to mediate a conversation between them to help them resolve the matter (although this may be more useful as children are older and more able to absorb the concept). You can also explain that sharing does not necessarily mean losing. I find that many parents go for certain shortcuts, such as; buying the same presents for all kids. I find that this does very little in teaching about equality and fairness. Much rather I think that it back fires and takes kids away from learning how to live communally.
Obviously I cannot close this blog without advising you to seek support if your children show extreme resentment towards one another. It is not impossible for children to develop a destructive diad (the relationship between two persons) and the reasons for it may be plenty. An example may be that an older sibling perceives that the diad between the mother and the younger sibling to be more secure and in his view that his is not, he may feel threatened and therefore would primordially respond by attempting to neutralise competition. You can appreciate the intricacies there and that resolution of this issue requires more seasoned evaluation and professional care. In that case, do recur to the help of professionals who can help your kids re-establish a healthier relationship.
– Mike Orland is a family therapist practicing the systemic approach. He offers therapy to individuals, families and couples, and runs the family therapy services within Willingness. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.