How to handle sibling rivalry? Here are 5 tips.
They say that you aren’t really a parent until you have a second child. The worst nightmare of every parent is to know that their children don’t get along and breed jealousy, rivalry and trouble for one another. It hurts to see them always quarrelling, arguing and hating each other while you love them both the same.
There could be several reasons for this rivalry among siblings, like a desire for a parent’s complete attention, jealousy, boredom or just dislike for one another. Many parents respond to this behaviour by yelling, making accusations or getting involved and taking sides in the petty argument. These reactions only add fuel to fire and actually promote rivalry.
What you need to remember is to not get too upset when you see your children being jealous of each other. Good parenting and some maturity can change this behaviour and make them realize that their parents do not love either of them any less.
Here are 5 parenting tips to help you eliminate sibling rivalry for good:
Allow older children to care
Adapting a child to live with a sibling is the first lesson in getting along with children. Parents have an important role in maintaining a harmonious relationship between two siblings by fostering compatibility indirectly. It’s not your job to control how siblings relate, but rather to shape these relationships in a healthy way.
If your older child is several years older than the younger one, allow him to care for the younger one. This will give him a sense of responsibility and will create a protective relationship between them, motivating the older sibling to care for him, and the younger sibling will sense this and take him as a guide and mentor.
Even a toddler should be encouraged to gently hold and pat the little baby under supervision. Ask the older child to help you feed the baby or change a diaper. These little things can strengthen the relationship between siblings. Encourage your older child to be proud to be a big brother or big sister.
Give each child individual attention
When the second child comes along, the older one often feels neglected and craves for attention. This is a crucial time for parents to develop a peaceful relationship between the siblings. Make sure you spend some ‘alone time’ with each child separately. This special time will make them realize they don’t need to fight for attention as you are recognizing their individual needs and conveying them that their place is secure with you.
Another thing to keep in mind is to never make your children share their stuff. Yes, teaching them to share is very important but what belongs to your children should be their possession and only if it is their choice to share it, should it be brought into a common area. Teach your children that if they share their toys with a sibling, the other sibling will be willing to share theirs too.
Don’t punish them in front of one another
While it’s better to avoid indulging in children’s arguments, if you see a situation getting out of control, you can use your authority to bring it down calmly.
You may have to interfere between toddlers or preschoolers, but older children usually settle an argument themselves if they are left alone. If your children come to you for settling the quarrel, explain them that they’re both responsible for creating the problem and for ending it.
Never take sides but when it gets necessary to punish or scold one child, always make sure you do it alone in a quiet, private place where they don’t get embarrassed by it. Scolding them in front of another child will bring down their self-esteem and can also lead to them being bullied and teased by other siblings, building up more frustration, anger and hatred for them.
Remove the source of conflict
If you are going to intervene in your children’s argument, instead of taking a side and blaming one of them, it’s much better if you just remove the source of conflict conveying them that they will need to sort things out themselves in the future.
For example, if your kids are fighting over a toy or the television, take it away. If the conflict still persists, separate them by giving a time-out. Tell the kids to work out a solution without your involvement or they will both be held responsible for it. Remember, the mission here is to teach them how to resolve their own problems.
Never compare them
Home is supposed to be a place that values a child for himself and not in comparison with others. Don’t compare your children, their grades, their behavior or the way they look.
A family is not supposed to be like a sports arena and children should never be raised in competition rather only in collaboration. Never tell a child you love the other child more because they behave better. This type of splitting can instill jealousy and turn one child against the other forever.
Comparison also accounts for feelings of inferiority, which eventually incite undesirable behavior among siblings. Praise your child for their accomplishments in relation to themselves and not in comparison to a sibling. Each child needs to feel special in the eyes of their parents. Most of their life, they will be rated on their performance, grades in school, their looks, races and games among themselves. So refrain from comments like, “Why don’t you get good grades like your brother?”
Lisa Brown has been helping her readers in successful business and entrepreneurial strategies for the past 3 years. She currently works with Ekuep, which is the first online store in the Middle East that caters to the foodservice industry. It sells kitchen equipment, restaurant equipment, and food service equipment that are made by leading brands from all over the world. These machines and tools are trusted by all restaurant and cafe owners from across the world.