Most parents would agree that it is very normal to have moments of sibling rivalry. But why does a rivalry get set up and what is a parent to do about it? Let’s find out.
Unhappiness between siblings is the source of a good amount of heartache and headache for most parents. The tension and hostility in the household can be overwhelming and emotionally exhausting to diffuse. The most important thing about sibling quarrels that parents can take heart in, is knowing that rivalry amongst siblings is common. After all, siblings are partners throughout their growing years that children have no control over. It can transcend any age gap and gender, and many children eventually do grow out of it.
Angry, hostile siblings don’t just upset each other. Squabbling and fights can have a large negative impact on the family. Parents end up not only frustrated at their children, but often at each other and at themselves. Imagine the stress of being at work and having your upset caregiver calling to complain about the fighting!
Simple measures can be taken to handle sibling rivalries. Over time, these practices can be preventive as well as therapeutic when it comes to dealing with siblings in conflict. It is important to remember that parents should also allow children to solve their differences on their own as much as possible. Constant parental intervention at a young age may encourage unnecessary dependency and poor judgement as an adult. Learn what you can do to help address the situation for you and your kids.
- Reward the child who initiates plans to share resources, or is able to avoid conflict by leaving the situation. This encourages life skills such as resourcefulness, and basic conflict management from an early age. Children will soon learn that working out a solution peacefully saves them from getting into trouble, while allowing them to have fun with said prized possession.
- Ensure that siblings have their own space and time. Older children can be given different projects to work on in separate rooms. If you need to keep an eye on them at the same time, put them in different corners within an extended area like the living room.
- Set a good example for the kids. How do you and your spouse cope in stressful situations? If you find yourselves bickering easily, you may finally understand why your children behave in a similar way.
- Do not compare siblings’ abilities. Every child is unique and should be allowed to display their abilities at their own pace.
- If the fight has already started, keep angry siblings apart till they cool down. This is important for children who may vent their frustration physically on objects or siblings.
- Encourage teamwork and set guidelines on what is acceptable and what is not. Children who are four and above can be taught to respect boundaries such as not hitting or shouting at their siblings when upset. Reward them when they show signs of cooperation, even for simple acts like looking at a book together or sharing a snack.
And there you have it! How do you deal with sibling rivalry between your children? Leave us a comment down below.