Helping your Children to Get Along:

Usually, sibling rivalry arises because of jealousy or competition, but it is the parents who play a major role in handling and solving conflicts.

Sibling rivalry is probably one of the common struggles in the family. Yes, all kids fight and this is normal, but if you feel that there’s one unhappy child in the house, then it is something worth thinking about.As a parent, you are responsible of the overall well-being of your children especially when it comes to social and interpersonal skills. Thus, addressing this issue at an early age can at least lessen the burden. Your actions can have a big impact on how your children behave both inside and outside the house.

What causes sibling rivalry?

Being aware about the causes of sibling rivalry can help a parent begin to understand this aspect of parenting. In most cases, the reasons are not so deep. As others have put it, “it is just a competition of parental love and attention”. There might be an instance that one child feels that the other is getting more, is not reprimanded or is always given a favor. Unconsciously, this leads him to harbor ill feeling against his sibling.

How to manage sibling rivalry?

  1. Treat your children equally and fairly.

    In other words, give your children equal love and affection and teach them how to love and respect each other. Also, it is always important to discover each of your child’s unique gifts and talents as each one has different personalities and individual characteristics.

  2. Appreciate your children for who they are.

    You need to acknowledge their individual accomplishments. Always give encouragement and positive words. This way, you help them boost their confidence and self-esteem.

  3. Give equal amount of time to all your children.

    Family time is very important and this is the best time to bond with your children. As much as possible, have one-on-one time with each child. Allow them to do the activities that each of them likes and make sure that they have enough time and space of their own. On top of that, try to inject some fun and games into family life as this can create a positive atmosphere and children tend to enjoy each other’s company. So, they are less likely to fight.

  4. Refrain from comparing them in any way.

    Don’t let a child hear that his sibling is better, is smart, or is beautiful. They need to hear it from you first that they are special and that they are endowed with gifts and talents. It can hurt a child’s esteem and will be evident when he grows up. Most importantly, never choose a side or a favorite when your children are fighting. Be neutral!

  5. Encourage your child to confide in you.

    Be a friend to them so that they can open up with honesty and confidence whatever they feel about their sibling. Don’t punish the older sibling when he commits mistakes. This makes him feel inferior and develop ways to hurt, irritate and bother the younger one.

Usually, sibling rivalry arises because of jealousy or competition, but it is the parents who play a major role in handling and solving conflicts. Same issue as protecting your child from bullying, dealing with this kind of problem can be both stressful and frustrating. Choosing to be positive in handling the issue can show children a good example and teach them how to be good sports will really make a big difference. As a parent, it allows you to maintain healthy relationships all around. You must teach your kids the good manners and the right conduct so that they will grow as a disciplined individual. Thus, your parenting skills really do make a difference and positive results can be very rewarding. Remember, you serve as a role model to your children and they follow in your footsteps.

Photo credits: Julia Maudlin of Flickr