Despite many differences in family make-ups, nearly 80 percent of children in Western society grow up with a sibling. While the sibling relationship may be one of the longest lasting family relationships in a person’s life, sibling conflict is frequent, often intense, and rarely resolved effectively in our homes.
Naturally, children fight with each other. But, as parents, when we either ignore or interfere too heavily in our children’s conflicts, we may miss critical everyday moments to teach collaborative problem solving, perspective taking, and empathy.
In Raising Mediators, we acknowledge the experience of sibling rivalry for our children, but focus instead on how any kind of sibling conflict provides an opportunity for us, as parents, to intimately teach our children critical communication skills and attitudes. As a manual or workbook, Raising Mediators outlines how to position both parents and children toward sustainable, collaborative conflict management that outlines clear rules for engagement and strengthens our children’s social development.
Drawing on her rich academic background in conflict resolution and life experiences with her five growing children, Emily de Schweinitz Taylor, takes the most recent research on conflict resolution between siblings understandable and makes it accessible to everyday parents. Raising Mediators focuses on helping parents effectively apply parent-led mediation principles in everyday life.
Through using mediation techniques, such as sharing perspectives, reflective listening, asking clarifying questions, and brainstorming, parents can guide their children toward developing critical social skills, including collaborative problem solving, perspective taking, and empathy. Parent-led mediation principles, which are framed in seven easy-to-understand steps, will help families effectively resolve more intense, reoccurring sibling conflict and prepare children to skillfully resolve conflict in all their future relationships.
To prepare for learning and applying parent-led mediation principles in everyday life, parents can ask themselves the following questions:
Rather than leaving children’s conflict resolution skills open to the whims of circumstance, peers, school setting, or other influential adults, smart parents take an active position in teaching their children how to resolve everyday problems with their siblings using effective parent-led mediation principles.