How to Take Advantage of Sibling Rivalry to Explain Emotions and Feelings to a Child

Explain emotions feelings Podcast Ep 54 1

Few things can be more frustrating as a parent than trying to mediate sibling rivalry. You want your kids to be friends but instead they are fighting, badgering, and teasing each other. It feels like you are getting nowhere!  You think, “How do I stop him from hitting others?” or “Why can’t my kids just get along?!” But what if we could use sibling conflict as an opportunity to explain emotions and feelings to a child?

You know what the cool thing is? Sibling rivalry is the perfect opportunity for teaching emotional awareness and explaining about feelings and emotions to a child. If you’re looking for an emotional intelligence activity, look no further. Just wait for the next time your kids start arguing—probably some time in the next nine minutes.

An opportunity to explain emotions and feelings to a child

When kids fight with siblings or playmates, their selfish tendencies can get the best of them. But there is real hope: When you as a parent express empathy, you can unlock your child’s big emotions. You can also teach your kids to have empathy for each other. How? By explaining to your child about feelings and emotions, and giving them the language and skills to identify those feelings in themselves and each other.

Today’s episode is the second part in a series about The Power of Empathy. Join Stacy Bellward (podcast host) and Lynne Jackson (co-founder of Connected Families) as they discuss this super common challenge. You’ll learn solid steps and practical strategies to help you walk your kids through conflict in a way that strengthens their relationship. You can help your kids learn to value each other and to feel a lasting connection.

This podcast is full of insight, ideas, and brain-science as we talk about feelings and emotions and how we explain these to a child. Listen to the podcast to learn:

  • How to apply empathy to sibling conflict
  • How to help kids connect physical sensations with emotions
  • Creative ways to teach emotional intelligence in a fun non-shaming way
  • The need to understand ourselves before we can understand or have empathy for others and how that relates to teaching our children about feelings and empathy

Emotional intelligence resources mentioned in this podcast:

Want to learn more?

Check out our Connected Families Framework


In our Sibling Conflict online course we teach parents how to teach their kids the four steps of The Peace Process. Whether you have constant sibling battles in your home or you want to lay a strong foundation of reconciliation, enroll in the course! You’ll be helping your kids build a lifetime of healthy conflict resolution.

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