Do your children bicker? Mine sure do. In fact, asking if they bicker is like asking if they breathe; it comes so naturally to them that some days it seems like a life-sustaining function. I try to remind myself that sibling rivalry, while not actually critical to survival, is at least a great teacher for kids, as they practice life skills like assertiveness, negotiation, and forgiveness.
Though I put great effort into not being a constant family mediator, one of the most effective lessons I was ever able to pass on mid-conflict was teaching my daughters the difference between disagreeing and arguing.
For more information on skills and strategies to help children express anger in assertive, relationship-enhancing ways, please check out my latest book, to be released this July: How to Be Angry: An Assertive Anger Expression Group Guide for Kids and Teens
Signe Whitson is an author and educator on bullying, crisis intervention, and child and adolescent emotional and behavioral health. In her articles, books, and training workshops, Signe provides down-to-earth, practical advice for professionals and parents on navigating the daily challenges of living and working with children, tweens and teens.