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Tips to resolve sibling fighting

Parents can't possibly police all of the fights sibling have. There isn't enough time in the day to do it. One of the studies found in my book, in the two to four age group, kids will have some kind of fight every 6.3 minutes. That's 9.5 fights an hour. Parents can't stay on top of all that. What they can stay on top of are fights that seem dangerous, any fights where someone is about to get hurt or any fights in which something profoundly unfair seems to be going on. What parents can also do is judiciously intervene in fights when they have something to offer. Another study that I looked at found that when parents are involved in helping kids resolve a conflict, it tends to take longer because parents like to talk. Kids generally come away with two life lessons. They will learn better how to negotiate better. They will be able to say, I want this toy because... They also learn how to apply the resolution from today's fight to tomorrow's fight. Kids do this all the time, when they are playing a game, and there is no rule for it. They will say, "Okay, from now on, the rule is." They will do that on the playground. They will do that in the play room. When the learn to do that with fights, they avoid that whole groundhog day effect where they see the same thing over and over again. Parents can help them learn that skill.

Jeffrey Kluger, Science Journalist and Author, shares advice for parents on the best methods for resolving sibling fighting and rivalry based off his studies on fighting between siblings


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Jeffrey Kluger

Science Journalist & Author

Jeffrey Kluger is a senior editor and writer at Time magazine, covering science, health and other fields. He is the coauthor, along with astronaut Jim Lovell, of Apollo 13, the book that served as the basis of the 1995 movie. His more-recent release, Splendid Solution, told the story of Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine.  His novel, Nacky Patcher and the Curse of the Dry-Land Boats, was published in June 2007, and his newest nonfiction book, Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex, was published in June 2008.

Before coming to Time, Kluger worked for Discover magazine, where he was a senior editor and humor columnist. Prior to that, he was health editor at Family Circle magazine, story editor at The New York Times Business World Magazine, and Associate Editor at Science Digest magazine. His features and columns have appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Gentlemen's Quarterly, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Omni, McCall's, New York Magazine, The New York Post, Newsday, and, of course, Time. He has worked as an adjunct instructor in the graduate journalism program at New York University; is a licensed—though non-practicing—attorney; and is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the University of Baltimore School of Law. He lives in New York City with his wife Alejandra and their daughters, Elisa and Paloma.

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