How to Deal with Sibling Rivalry
Even if they get along 90% of the time, there will always be moments when siblings don’t see eye to eye. Personalities can clash and arguments can begin over a variety of things from who has the most attention, playing with certain toys, playing with friends, and even the clothes they’re wearing.
The truth of the matter is that sibling rivalry is, and always will be common place, which is why we’ve put together some top tips to help you keep things running smoothly.
- Distraction – Distraction can be a great solution for sibling rivalry and works particularly well when the children are young. It’s time to pull out your best activities, games or crafts to distract the children from their dispute and re-focus their energy into something more positive and creative. You can give them separate activities if you must, but working together will help them to resolve their issues whilst bonding.
- Getting to the root of the issue – Not all sibling rivalry is normal and harmless. If left unchecked it can lead to more serious long-term issues, even violence. You might find that children who share a room fight more than those who don’t, because children, just like adults need time to themselves to think and grow as individuals and this can be hard to achieve when sharing a bedroom. Whilst difficult to resolve, especially if space is an issue, it’s not impossible.
Praise plays an important part in resolving sibling rivalry. The more you praise the children when they behave well together, the more their behaviour will improve. You will be providing each child with equal amounts of praise and attention and they will learn to recognise and repeat the behaviour that is expected of them.
Hobbies and personal interests should also be taken into consideration. Encourage each child to support the other’s hobbies and interests. This could be as simple as going to watch them play a sport, perform in a play or dance etc.
- Bonding activities/techniques – Bonding activities can be an excellent way to bring feuding siblings together by giving them a joint goal to accomplish. Asking them to put aside their differences and work together can achieve wonders and they’ll learn more about each other and how they operate along the way.
For times when disagreements are at their worst, try to get your children to focus on the positive. Ask them to write or say positive things about each other. What do they like most about each other? This type of exercise usually leads to laughter and stronger friendship whilst learning to celebrate each other’s differences.
- Monitor your behaviour – Are you comparing one child to the other? Are you taking the side of one child over the other? Are you explaining and helping them to understand what types of behaviour are and aren’t acceptable?
Children don’t inherently know the difference between good and bad behaviour and it’s the responsibility of parents, nannies and other guardians to teach them how to behave well.
If one child seems particularly upset, angry or aggressive, you need to listen to them. Try to understand the underlying causes behind their behaviour so that you can help to resolve them.
It’s natural for children to feel jealous of one another at times, but it’s important that you don’t show any favouritism to encourage those feelings. Discuss their feelings and spend quality time with each child together and individually to show them that they are equal in your eyes.
Do you have any top tips for nipping sibling rivalry in the bud?