How to Prevent Sibling Rivalry

Summer camp kids

Tips – how to prevent sibling rivalry. If sibling rivalry wasn’t so annoying, it might be comical. I have never heard someone have such irrational complaints about another person before as I do when my children complain to me about one another.

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In most cases, I have a difficult time even trying to figure out the root of the problem which gets hidden among all the accusations. But it’s their world and it means everything to them. They get angry and see the situation as a monumental issue.

“He won’t leave the family room and I want to be alone and I was here first.”

“I went to the bathroom and she played with my blocks when I was gone, and I still wanted to play with them.”

“She picked up that toy and I was thinking of playing with it first.”

“He keeps staring at me and it’s bothering me.”

All of these seem to have easy solutions you would think, but the kids debate with additional reasons and complaints to the point where I just say… it’s up to you guys to figure this out on your own.

I’ve done some research on the subject to see what the best tips are to keep peace and order in the home.  How, as parents, do we prevent and resolve the sibling rivalry? The general consensus is as follows

HOW TO PREVENT SIBLING RIVALRY

• Whenever possible, don’t get involved. Step in only if there’s a danger of physical harm or mental abuse.
• Never show favoritism toward one child over the other. Most likely, both are at fault in one way or another.
• Don’t make comparisons between your children. For example, “When Bobby was your age, he was already riding his bike with no training wheels.”  This may cause resentment between the siblings and add fuel to the rivalry fire.
• Don’t be overly concerned about treating the kids equally. Parents are advised never to give in to the old “it’s not fair” strategy. Picture the age-old conflict of the young child whining. “It’s not fair. Why can’t I stay up until nine-thirty like Johnny?” Fairness has nothing to do with it. Susie is younger and needs more sleep. It’s as simple as that.
• Don’t dismiss or suppress your children’s resentment or angry feelings. Everyone gets angry. Kids need to be reassured that this is normal, and mommies and daddies get angry sometimes too, but have learned control and that angry feelings do not give license to behave in cruel and dangerous ways.  Take this as an opportunity to acknowledge the anger and walk them through it.

It is interesting to sit back and watch my kids “talk it out.” Sometimes I even need to hide and control my laughter. There are moments where I am surprised at how well they handled a situation, and there are moments that seem like the fight could last forever. Regardless, it’s all a part of growth.

Remember, as kids cope with disputes, they also learn important skills that will serve them for life — like how to value another person’s perspective, how to compromise and negotiate, and how to control aggressive impulses.

SOURCES – aap.org & centerforparentingeducation.org

Do you have any additional tips on how to prevent sibling rivalry?

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