Sibling Rivalry

garden - sepiaA certain degree of sibling rivalry is inevitable in any family. Kids learn how to manage relationships outside the family by experimenting with the relationships within the family. Siblings, however, are not born rivals and parents can foster healthy relationships between siblings if they put their minds to it. Creating sensitivity for one another is the key to a close and healthy sibling relationship. It is really hard to constantly be at war with someone that you actually care about.



How to reduce sibling conflict

1.  Each child is special. Parents need to be careful not to compare siblings to one another as this creates a sense of one being better than the other. When praising one child’s achievements, be sure to encourage the other sibling in their own set of talents.

2.  Time together. Spend one on one time with each child every day. Ten to fifteen minutes is a guide to set yourself during which you focus entirely on being with your child (no phone checking, or chores). Encourage your child to decide what you do together so they lead the interaction have a sense of control. Make sure other children are otherwise engaged or being supervised so you can focus your attention solely on the child you are with. Let siblings know they will get their opportunity with you also so each child learns that they get you to themselves everyday and don’t have to fight for your attention

3.  Respect personal space. Establish a family rule that everyone has a right to their own personal space, and needs to acknowledge each other’s boundaries. This means that family members are allowed to spend time alone if they choose. It also means people can take a break from playing with others, and have some say about whether a sibling can join in play (communicated in a respectful manner).

4.  Turn taking and sharing. Teach your children about taking turns and sharing by helping them practice waiting patiently, negotiating time limits and toy swaps, and communicating respectfully when they are not yet ready to finish with a toy. These are not easy skills to learn, so they take lots of practice and guidance.