Sibling rivalry is a common problem among children. It can be exhausting for parents. Rivalry often diminishes as children get older, and according to experts, it's actually a healthy part of growing up that helps kids develop social skills.
The intensity of sibling rivalry will vary depending on the age, gender and personalities involved. In this article, we explain the causes of rivalry between siblings and how parents can solve this problem.
Common causes of sibling rivalry include
Jealousy – this can occur when one child feels that they are being treated differently from another. This can happen when one child has additional needs or requires more attention, or when parents spend more time with one child over another, for example, because they are younger.
Sibling rivalry can also increase when a new baby comes along as the older children may feel threatened by the baby's arrival as they may receive less attention from their parents. It's common for young children to feel this way, but it doesn't usually last long.
Competition – some children will naturally compete with each other in a friendly way. However, this can become problematic if there is a large age gap between siblings or if one child is exceptionally good at something (for example, academics or sport) and constantly compares themselves to their sibling.
Don't compare your children
Comparing your children with each other will only lead to more conflicts and arguments between them. Each child is unique and has different traits that set them apart from their sibling(s). Comparing the performance of your children will only bring out the worst in them. They will try to outperform each other by any means necessary, which may lead to serious conflict between them.
Give each child a special time with you
It helps if you can find some time to spend one-on-one with each child every day. This doesn't have to be much — even 10 minutes will do — but it will make each child feel special and increase the amount of positive attention they get from you. If you have more than one child at home, make sure each one gets some alone time with you on a regular basis. This will give them the chance to bond with you one-on-one and build a stronger relationship as parents and children.
Let them solve their own conflicts
If your children are arguing about something small, encourage them to work it out on their own whenever possible. This empowers them, makes them feel more confident, and gives them practice in solving problems peacefully. It's easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment and pick sides. Take a deep breath and remain neutral until you understand all sides of the story.
Give them separate rooms
This can help avoid fights over sharing space, which can then escalate into more serious arguments. Whenever possible, give your children separate spaces in which they can relax and enjoy hobbies. If you now have one room, you can call a home demolition company that can divide the room into two parts. That way, your little ones will have separate rooms, and their passions will subside because they will not have to sleep and play in one room all the time.
Reward good behaviour
One of the most effective ways to encourage positive behaviours is by giving rewards, whether it's with money, praise, or extra privileges. When your children seem especially helpful or kind toward each other, let them know how happy you are, then offer them something they'll appreciate.
Involve them in family discussions
Family meetings are a great way for children to learn problem-solving skills and resolve conflicts with their siblings. Allow everyone in the family to have a say in decisions or issues that concern them. For example, if one child's bedroom needs painting, include them in the process of choosing colours and deciding who will paint it. Giving your children responsibility for taking care of their own belongings can help reduce sibling rivalry because they will learn to respect each other's property.
If you have more than one child, then you may understand how difficult it can be to manage sibling rivalry. Even though your children may love and care for each other, they might still get into the occasional fight over toys or even food. Apply these tips and you will quickly see the difference!
Written by Frank Robertson
About the Author
My name is Frank Robertson. I’m a writer. I choose my topics carefully and try to write about topics that can help my readers. Connect with me on Twitter.
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