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Sibling Spar Wars

Get Fighting Siblings to Make Peace

Words by Malia Jacobson

Angelic images of smiling siblings make crowd-pleasing Facebook fodder, but the reality of life with two or more children is decidedly less picture-perfect. According to research from the University of Toronto, toddler-age siblings clash more than six times per hour; siblings under age 7 fight every 20 minutes on average. Fights that get physical can leave lasting physical and emotional scars. If sibling fighting is stealing the peace in your household, read on for relief.

Early Years | Ages 0–5
Family Court
Research shows that conflict between young siblings is statistically normal. But regular bouts of biting, hitting and kicking aren’t — parents should intervene when clashes between toddler-age siblings become violent, per the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Though kids as young as age 3 may be able to talk though minor disagreements during play (“I had it first!”), they’ll nearly always require guidance from a caregiver to navigate more heated exchanges and physical fights. Start by separating the scuffling sibs with a statement like, “We never hit.” Once children have calmed down, ask them to explain what happened, reassuring each child that they’ll get their turn to speak. Statements that bridge the conflict to build connection can diffuse fights and guide kids toward resolution: “Jackson, I know Olivia is a good listener, so you can tell her why you didn’t like it when she pushed you.” Encouraging tots to use words to self-advocate (“I didn’t like it when you took all the blue LEGOs!”) can help prevent future fights from spiraling out of control.

Elementary Years | Ages 6–12
Bad news for parents of school-agers: per a study led by David Finkelhor of the University of New Hampshire, sibling attacks, or acts of physical violence toward a sibling like shoving and punching, peak from ages 6 to 12. Over a third of children in the study experienced sibling violence in the past year. For around 5 percent, the violence was severe enough to leave a lasting mark like a bruise, a chipped tooth or even a broken bone. While violence between parents and children or between spouses is viewed as unacceptable, violence between siblings is often overlooked by parents as normal squabbling, says Finkelhor. In fact, repeated sibling attacks can have serious repercussions. In the study, children under age 10 who were repeatedly attacked by a sibling in the past year experienced signs of trauma, including sleep problems, depression and fear of the dark. If sibling spats often get physical and seem one-sided, with one sibling most often playing the role of antagonist, seek help from your child’s pediatrician or a licensed counselor.

Teen Years
Property Brothers and Sisters
What’s mine is yours? Not so fast. According to Catherine Salmon of the University of Redlands, up to 95 percent of siblings say that personal property — a highly important part of children’s budding sense of identity — is a point of conflict among siblings. Though teens may be able to work through some property-related conflicts on their own, parents may not know if and when to intervene. “It can be a natural and healthy developmental process for siblings to work out conflicts on their own,” says licensed psychologist Vanessa Roddenberry, Ph.D., founder of Praxis Psychological Services in Raleigh. Parents who constantly step in risk invalidating teens’ emotions and communicating that fighting is an effective way to get caregivers’ attention and focus, she notes. But when sibling fighting escalates to yelling or physical fighting, parents can help by separating siblings, putting the disagreement on pause while each party takes time to cool off and process their emotions separately. Once feelings have calmed, a kitchen table meeting moderated by parents can help get teen siblings on the same page and increase the chances that next time you won’t need to play referee.

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Family Events


November 2019

November 1, 2019

The Annual Orlando Greek Fest is fun for all!! They are inviting the entire community to join them for Greek dancing, the best Greek food in town, delicious drinks and desserts, and an entire play area for children (including bounce houses), church tours and more!!!

The Annual Orlando Greek Fest is fun for all!! They are inviting the entire community to join them for Greek dancing, the best Greek food in town, delicious drinks and desserts, and an entire play area for children (including bounce houses), church tours and more!!!

Part of the proceeds also help The Ephraim Project, a ministry to the homeless. Admission is $3 per person, $1 off with a donation of a canned good. Children under 2 and active military with ID are free. Free shuttle parking and $5 preferred parking available too.

Friday, Nov. 1 - 4-11 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 2 - 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 3 - 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

November 1, 201910:00 am
Play Date https://www.mrrichard.net

Rock out with Mr Richard at Infusion Tea!

Join Mr. Richard, Infusion Tea and lots of friends for a rocking' dance party, teat time and brunch that will surely have you smiling.

November 1, 20195:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Festivals / Free / Recurring Events

Let's get out and enjoy the weather together!

Over 80 local artisans of all genres will display their art while guests shop and stroll through the heart of downtown Baldwin Park.


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Kiddie Culture https://orlandorep.secure.force.com/ticket?&_ga=2.88970203.1954390181.1569938427-806653667.1569938427#/events/a0S1P00000Q4VsAUAV

A treasure-sized, swashbuckling adventure awaits with How I Became a Pirate , a musical written by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, based on the beloved book by Melinda Long and David Shannon. Sail off on a fantastic excursion with a band of comical pirates looking for an expert digger to join ...

November 2, 20197:00 am - 1:00 pm
Foodie Fun https://cityofwinterpark.org/departments/parks-recreation/farmers-market/?fbclid=IwAR2EqaBgLwamtZzruIRY8hEijMzzwoZoPmwV9GAYBH0Gdkp7KETHjnAANuc

Fall is in the air and it's the perfect time of year to head to one of Central Florida's most popular farmers' market!

The market takes place every Saturday morning from 7 a.m. ...

November 2, 20198:00 am

The choice is yours:

-Be a Runner (human) and run from the Zombies.

-Be a Zombie and pull the runner's flags as they run through your "Zombie Zone.


November 2, 201910:00 am - 6:00 pm
Festivals https://paintedoaksacademy.com/pumpkins-ponies-festival/

Fall Festival: Food, Music, Dancing
Pumpkins for Sale
Train Rides $5 Kids only
Pony Rides $5 Kids 3yrs min
Hay Rides $5 Everyone


November 2, 201910:00 am

One of Central Florida's longest-running, community-driven events 48 years strong!

Fall Fiesta in the Park boasts over 300 artists and crafters, 50 food vendors and trucks and plenty of kids and pet activities and places to ...

November 2, 201911:00 am - 3:00 pm
Foodie Fun / Kiddie Culture

Join Reyes Mezcaleria Mexican Restaurant for their first ever children’s event!

Kids (3-12 years old) will make their own sugar skull masks, decorate cookies, have a chance to hit the pi&...

November 2, 20192:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Play Date https://www.eventbrite.com/e/glass-slipper-boutique-halloween-spooktacular-tickets-78007343063?aff=efbeventtix&fbclid=IwAR1vVBhtk18JFvxhjnMyquc-MYsd_Ycdvr60CqpuKYPlz9N5sWgjPP9ZInk

Halloween isn't over yet!

Halloween Photo Sessions, trick or treating, costume contests and special guests flying in from Hogwarts!

Halloween isn't over yet!

Halloween Photo Sessions, trick or treating, costume contests and special guests flying in from Hogwarts!

Get Spooky at The Glass Slipper Boutique!