Sibling rivalry: it’s as old as time itself. Competitive attitudes between siblings is natural. As a parent, dealing with children who are constantly challenging each other can be a taxing battle. Extinguish rivalry fires around your house with these helpful tips!
- Do not show favoritism toward your children - While the child who is on the receiving end of his or her sibling’s aggression may be your favorite at the moment, do not show partiality. This will only intensify the siblings’ desire to fight for your attention.
- Refrain from talking to one child about the other - An extension of tip number one, parents should never discuss a child’s poor choices with the opposing sibling. This will only fuel the fire and provide a poor example of how to fight fair.
- Be inclusive of older children - After the novelty of a new baby wears off, and you devote more time to a smaller child, your older children may feel as though they have fallen down the family pecking order. Encourage your older child to participate in making small decisions regarding the younger child (e.g. allow them to pick out a food item or outfit while shopping for the baby).
- Actively listen to your children’s struggles - Allowing them to individually express their problems shows that you care and respect what they have to say. This will encourage your children to become good communicators and result in a peaceful household. The dueling siblings will ultimately learn to handle disagreements in a less aggressive manner.
- Keep both children accountable - Steer clear from determining a winner and loser of each battle. Remember the saying “it takes two to tango,” and arrange a fair punishment for all parties involved regardless of who “started it.”
For more tips on how to manage sibling rivalries:
Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools
Image by ALPI