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I like my sisters. We get on well. I don’t see them much because of distance, but when we do meet, we tend not to pinch each other, pull hair, or end up storming off in tears.

It’s only knowing this that keeps me sane on the days when my sisters call me and I hear her kids fight about everything. Really. EVERYTHING. And then 10 minutes later they are giggling together and adore each other again.

I’ve researched this a bit because I really want her kids to be a support to each other. I always knew, even when I was outwardly convinced I was never going to speak to my siblings again, that they would have my back if needed. And I still do know that.

One thing which is important is to try and let them sort it out themselves to an extent. If you try and intervene, you are likely to decide who is at fault, and that will lead to even more arguments. Obviously, at the time when you hear them bashing each other around the head with toys, you should intervene and say something.

Let them have their own personalities I say to them; just because one wants to play climbing trees and the other would rather be left alone to do a puzzle, doesn’t mean either of them are right or wrong. This is where they learn compromise: play together for a few minutes, then give each other some space.

I say treat them equally, but not the same. Older children have certain privileges that younger ones do not, and younger children can’t be expected to have the sense of older children. Fairness does not mean treating them exactly the same – but in a way which is appropriate for their ages and personalities. If they aren’t seething with injustice, they are less likely to pick at each other.

Finally – the most important thing I say to her is to realise that they will fight. You’ll never eliminate arguments completely – just as you won’t eliminate disagreements between yourself and your partner, friends, parents, siblings, colleagues… It’s human nature. And they are, after all, tiny little humans.

I thank my blessings I only had one child

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