Sibling rivalry: SOLVED!
Author: Clay Nichols

I have to give my kids credit for doing a reasonable job of coexisting in our household. We still have three kids, which is exactly the number we birthed, so I’d say they’re doing pretty well. They certainly do better than I did with my younger sister – which devolved into a “War of the Roses”- style running conflagration.

There are skirmishes in our house, for sure. We have some bickering, arguing, cage fighting and hostage-taking. We get the occasional tiffs and squabbles, maulings, maimings, rampages and body slams. Every so often the sofa cushions get disordered or the whole house is reduced to glowing, smoking ruins. But overall they do pretty well.

I’m so proud of how rarely my children perform jiujitsu on each other, I’m going to offer a few tips on reducing sibling rivalry. If you’d like your kids to only periodically pound each other into jelly, read on!

My tips for sibling rivalry containment:

1. Have only one child. Duh.
2. If you have more than one child, consider having more than one house.

3. If you simply must house more than one child in a single homestead, paint a red stripe down the center of each room, assigning one half to each child. If you use this technique, you’ll need to commit to having an even number of kids. Bonus: numerous marital applications.

4. When the children are clawing and caterwauling across a table at the California Pizza Kitchen, request in a calm voice that they honor and respect their siblings. This works every time.

If these techniques fail and sibling rivalry continues to occasionally disrupt your domestic tranquility, there are consolations. If the kids get after each other from time to time, it only serves to enhance your gratitude for those moments when they hold hands and jump into the ocean, play cards in a corner laughing at a private joke or just riding quietly together in the back seat. Especially that last one.

Clay Nichols is one of the founders of and co-author of”DadLabs Guide to Fatherhood: Pregnancy and Year One.” He lives in Austin with his wife Kim and three children.

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