Sibling rivalry is almost unavoidable.
If you have more than one child, especially if they are the same sex, close in age or multiples, you may have certain expectations of them being BFFs, sharing foods, clothes, wearing matching outfits and toys but that isn’t always the case.
In reality, will be fights, competition, jealousy and even resentment in some cases due to their widly different temperaments and personalities.
Sibling Rivalry might take the form of:
constant competition to outdo one another for parental attention
So what can we do as parents, to ensure peace and love reign in our homes?
Here are some pointers to note about the causes of sibling rivalry — and the solutions to them.
What causes sibling rivalry?
Favouritism by Parents
This is a major cause of sibling rivalry. Once others know the Parents have a favourite, it’s only normal to pick on that child as a result of envy.
Major life changes.
Major life events such as moving houses, expecting a newborn, getting a divorce and so on can take a toll on kids.
Ages and stages.
There are some developmental stages when sibling rivalry may be worse, like having siblings close in age who want the same things at the same time.
Small competitions to see who can build the taller tower, race the fastest car, or eat the most waffles, has the longest hair or even just who is taller may lead to rivalry.
Kids do what they see not what they are told. If your kids routinely see you and your partner fighting in loud or aggressive ways, they may role model that behavior and think it’s the right way to manage conflicts.
You may also subconsciously start sibling rivalry amongst your kids if you;
1. Always praise one child while you criticize the other.
2. Pit your kids against one another in competition
3. Pay more attention to one child over the others.
What to do
You can’t stop the fighting and rivalry completely, but implementing these parenting strategies may reduce how often they fight.
1. Treat them as individuals
Each kid is different. Therefore, how you parent them should be different, too. Learn their unique love languages as one child may need a different kind of attention, responsibility, and discipline to thrive than another.
2. Prioritize one-on-one time.
Ensure you have one-on-one time with them daily even if it’s for a few minutes either talking or doing the activities each kid loves.
3. Have a team culture in your family.
Do things together as a family. Cook, bake, exercise, dance, karaoke and so on. When you are on the same team out to achieve a common goal, chances of rivalry and fighting reduces.
4. Give everyone some space.
Give them personal space to retreat to. Being too much in one another’s space is enough to get them irritated at themselves. If your kids share a bedroom, designate a corner to each person.
5. Introduce family meetings.
This gives everyone an opportunity to air their grievances, offer suggestions, and so on.
What tips work for you and your kids to reduce sibling rivalry and fights? Please share with us.
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