two girls reading book

Parents in two minds about sibling conflict

A new Australian study reported on the University of Queensland (UQ) website has found that while most parents say fighting between siblings is “normal”, they also find it worrying and would like help learning how to control it.

UQ researcher John Pickering suggests such concerns may be warranted, with international research showing that early sibling aggression, when not dealt with, can lead to ongoing learning, social and mental health problems.

“Parents find conflict between their children a great source of distress and are often unsure whether to get involved or remain on the sidelines,’’ Mr Pickering says.

“The research shows that the outcomes for children subjected to sibling aggression are as adverse as outcomes for children who have to deal with aggression from their peers; it’s an area that definitely needs more work”.

“Very few evidence-based programs here or overseas focus on siblings or sibling conflict,’’ he adds.

The findings are part of a wider, ongoing study that is a world-first trial of the use of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program in managing sibling conflict.