Arguing between kids is something quite normal. Even adults don’t always agree and carry their disagreements in the form of discussions or arguments. It’s okay to not always be of the same opinion as others. Also, it’s okay to stand up for your own needs.
When siblings argue, they can sometimes become quite abusive. They scold each other and don’t mince words. Why this is and how to reach a compromise in a dispute is our topic today.
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Special Features Of A Sibling Quarrel
When you play with a playmate, it’s quite different from arguing with your siblings. Because neighbors, friends, and schoolmates can just leave if it gets too silly for them. With siblings, you live under the same roof or possibly even in the same room. It’s hard to just get out of it. That’s why they argue bitterly until one of them is satisfied. In the best case, a joint solution is found and the two can get along again after the dispute.
Most of the time, arguments like this are about getting a parent’s attention. We all want to be treated in the best possible way and have as many advantages for ourselves as possible. Siblings are always competitors at the same time. Because: one does not want to share toys, pocket money and the parents themselves. After all, you might end up with less of it yourself.
Arguing As A Learning Process
Kids learn an incredible amount from arguing. They understand themselves and others better. Shy kids can suddenly become brave in an argument, while cheeky ones suddenly get the short end of the stick. In an argument, you learn to stand up for your opinion in front of others. You get a feeling for expressing your feelings in such a way that the other person can understand you well. Conversely, you learn to put yourself in the shoes of others.
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You have to deal with the fact that every child is different. This also means that there are differences between you and your siblings. This isn’t the easiest thing to get along with at first. You may have the feeling that no one really understands you. But this feeling is quite normal. Everyone has to go through it.
In addition to a large portion of empathy, you learn not to let yourself be ignored. You understand that you can’t always give in right away when you feel you’re in the right. A solution that is okay for everyone must be found. It would be a shame if one of the parties threw in the towel beforehand because it got too stupid for them.
Arguing Without A Referee
Secretly, you may expect your parents to intervene and come to your rescue. You want an adult to play referee and help you out of your awkward situation. But that doesn’t really get you and your siblings anywhere. Because you have to work out your dispute yourselves in order to come to a solution.
It is easy to become violent in the process. Some children quickly become irascible and impatient. It is not only boys who can become violent. Some girls also tend to hit, pinch or otherwise massacre the other.
You’ve probably seen it before, when you’ve had a good fight and a little later you’re playing together again as if nothing had happened. This is typical for kids. And that’s a good thing. That’s why it’s important that your parents don’t always intervene right away. In truth, you know very well how to get along again without your parents having to put their foot down.
Arguing Tips For You And Your Siblings
1) Arguing is OK
Be aware that arguing is not inherently bad. Even if it feels unpleasant, it is part of life to have conflicts.
Ask yourself why you are arguing and what it is about.
2) Your own point of view
A dispute rarely leads to a solution if the parties involved are actually not clear why they are arguing. Because very quickly everything gets off track. At some point, you only insult each other and are really angry. And that’s despite the fact that it was only about a minor issue at the beginning. That’s why it’s important to know where you stand. Remind yourself again and again what you want. Keep expressing that and don’t engage in name-calling or remarks that have nothing to do with the argument.
We are built to respond with defensiveness to accusations. When we are accused or insulted, we can no longer respond well to the other person. This is because, first and foremost, we then want to defend ourselves. Finding a good solution takes a back seat and we become very emotional. One accusation leads to another and the argument gets out of control. This can be avoided by simply expressing what you want. Instead of phrases like “YOU are always so annoying!” or similar, focus on your own needs. A better phrase would be, “I feel bothered when you always barge into my room without knocking.”. Express how you feel. This way, your counterpart can respond to you much better because he doesn’t have to defend himself against an accusation. Try to stay on topic and not bring up old stories.
4) How Adults Argue: Active Listening
Active listening is more than “normal” listening. While the other person is talking, you put yourself in his or her shoes as best you can. You try to follow him and not lose the thread. As soon as your counterpart has nothing more to say, you summarize what he has said. In this way, you let him or her know how you understood what he or she said. This shows your counterpart that you are listening and are interested in a good solution that satisfies both of you. He or she will then approach you much more openly. Active listening can look something like this:
“I see. So you mean you’re not comfortable with someone barging into your room all the time, right?” Then continue with your objections and requests.
Be sure to use your body language as well. Your counterpart will subconsciously trust you more if you adopt a similar posture to him. Subconsciously means that he doesn’t really notice it, but his brain reacts to the change. This may make him feel better without knowing why. Active listening also means asking questions. Don’t just do this when you’re not sure. Just ask if your counterpart meant this or that as you understood it. This quickly clears up misunderstandings and helps you focus on the essentials. In this way, you can reach a compromise more quickly and in a more focused way.
By the way, a compromise is a solution that is okay for both parties to the dispute. With a compromise, you always have to give up a little bit, but both parties are satisfied and you don’t have to argue any more. So a compromise means giving in a little to get what you want.
5) Stay Objective
Try to stay as fair as possible. There is no point in insulting or lying to the other person. Sooner or later, lies lead to more arguments and only make the situation worse. That’s why you should be honest with each other. Stick to the truth without blaming each other. If you notice that the other person is tense, ask why. Don’t let him or her get angry. Because that makes it very difficult to come to a resolution. When you’re angry, you get very emotional. When you’re emotional, you focus on feelings instead of facts. Anger dominates the argument and you see red. You could tear the other person apart and you are no longer willing to give in a little. Angry people feel badly treated and become aggressive. This leads to nothing. That’s why you should avoid this situation in the first place.
6) Clarify Misunderstandings
It is not uncommon for conflicts to begin with someone misunderstanding something. Most of the time you don’t even notice that. This is how an argument begins, which actually would not be necessary. By asking (“Did I understand correctly that you …?”) you can clear up a misunderstanding. In most cases, conflicts then resolve themselves. Because you realize that you were only angry with each other because you misunderstood something.
7) Admit Your Own Mistakes
Long arguments often lead to blaming each other for something. Neither wants to admit their own mistakes and points the finger at the other. As you’ve already learned, people get angry quickly when they’re blamed. That’s why you then go around in circles while blaming each other for something. The only thing that helps here is to admit your own mistakes to a certain extent. That alone is not enough. You should explain to the other person that you certainly didn’t do this or that correctly. Perhaps the other person will then also admit that he or she has not always acted correctly. Make an effort and be brave! Being able to admit your own mistakes is a sign of a strong character. Only cowards cannot stand by their mistakes.
8) Everything Has Its Time
Sometimes you have to take a break. The longer you argue, the less purposeful the argument can become. As soon as you start to get emotional or angry, the argument gets worse and more unpleasant. If nothing else helps, you should stop arguing and take some distance. During this time you can think about everything and form a new opinion. In addition, a break helps to reduce pent-up anger and to approach the dispute more objectively the next time.
It’s okay not to talk to each other for a while. Explain to your parents that you still need to work something out and that you are not finished with your argument.
Always remember to take a break if the argument is getting too tiring or has been going on for a long time.
Worksheet For The Text
1) Explain the difficult words in the text.
- active listening
2) Why is an argument between siblings different than an argument between friends, schoolmates, or neighbors?
3) Role Play: Find a partner to role play with. Decide on one of the roles below for each. Have an argument in which everyone makes their point and wants the argument to be decided for them. Be sure to stay true to your roles and imagine you are really those people.
Situation description: Two kids, Max and Sarina, go to the same class together. They usually get along quite well and play together often. Max misses his new crayons. He had lent them to Sarina the day before. Therefore, Sarina is accused by Max of keeping the crayons. However, Sarina says that she gave the crayons back.
This child is playing Max:
This child is playing Sarina:
After your conversation, answer the following questions:
- Were you able to come to a solution? What was your compromise?
- What difficulties arose during the argument?
- Did you use the tips in the article? If so, how?
- Did you approach the conflict objectively? What arguments were used?
- Did either of you react angrily or emotionally at any point during the argument? Describe this situation and why it came to this.
Photo: Jeanne Provost / bigstockphoto.com