Whether you have 2 kids or 5, you cannot really escape sibling rivalry. It is quite an inevitable part of parenting. The reasons behind sibling rivalries are plenty – the personalities of the kids could clash; the kids could fight for your (or your partner’s) attention; the child could compete on things. In short, you are used to be in the middle of numerous mini battles. That said, with tact and some planning, you can deal with sibling rivalry in a right way. In fact, if the sibling rivalry will have a long-term negative impact on the kids would depend largely on how you, as parents, react to it.
8 Ways To Deal With Sibling Rivalry
As parents, sibling rivalry is a difficult and painful issue to deal with, but then as we mentioned earlier rivalry and jealousy are a normal part of the kid’s growing up years. As parents, your responsibility is to help your kids learn to manage it because. If they don’t, these issues will impact their adult life and will be difficult to resolve. Here are eight ways to ensure you are dealing with sibling rivalry in a right way.
Make them friends even before birth: Prepare your older child for the younger one’s arrival by acquainting both of them before the baby is born. Show them ultrasound pics, talk about the baby to them, let them feel baby movements and encourage them to talk to the baby. Let them be friends early
Give priority to the older sibling: The new baby is too young to feel bad about anything (other than hunger!). So make sure that the older sibling gets more attention. Most visitors are now sensitive to older sibling feeling left out and usually brings gifts for the older kid as well. Even if this does not happen, get the older kid involved by letting them unwrap the gift and even test the toys. Make the older sibling the”mommy’s assistant” so that they feel important
Make sure both kids get your time and attention: Do not facilitate sibling rivalry by clearly giving more time to one child than the other. Time-share is an important concept to master. This is easily said than done, especially when one child is an infant who requires quite a lot of attention from you. But try to involve the older one. For instance, when you are feeding the younger child, you can read a book to the older one
Create firm boundaries: All your kids should know what is ok to do and what is an unacceptable behavior. Belittling the sibling by name calling and insults or physically harming the sibling by punching or hair pulling are all not acceptable. Your children learns to behavior in a social setting first from their own house. Make sure they learn it right
Raise sensitive siblings: A child who loves his sibling cannot really bring any harm to him/her. It is possible to raise sensitive siblings with life-long partnerships.If your kids are born several years apart, then make the older sibling feel responsible for the younger one. If they are of similar age, then make them work together
Develop team spirit: Children need to be sensitive enough to behave in a socially acceptable way when in a group. They learn how to treat people, how to be responsible for others and how to cooperate with others in a group first from family setting. Plan family trips where you give the kids a collective responsibility. Or even when you are in the house, give the kids chores to do and make sure the kids contribute equally to get the task done
Do not compare: You know that is important to minimize comparisons. However, you might still do it implicitly without really knowing it. When you praise a sibling too much, the other might feel inferior and this can result in rivalry. When you praise a sibling in comparison with another, they will grow up believing they are competing with their siblings. Make sure your child knows he/she is special in the home. There is enough activities in school to make them feel compared anyway
Ignore small fights: address bigger ones: All the above tips withstanding, it is also important not to meddle in every little squabble of theirs. They need to learn to deal with it themselves. Give the kids a warning, such as”if you are not going to sort this out in 2 minutes, no TV time for both you for 2 days”. But if the issue at hand is bigger (name calling, physical hurt), then you, as a parent, need to intervene. When you keep mum, the child that has been name-called will assume you are supporting the child who did the name-calling. Use your discretion to identify the fights which warrant your intervention
As parents, we always dream of a perfect relationship between our children, but then disagreements between the siblings are something that we cannot escape from. Children often fight over games, toys, books and pull each other’s leg. Despite our best efforts, sibling rivalry is a natural part of growing up. But we hope with the above tips you will be able to handle sibling rivalry in a better way. All the best!
We would love to hear how you moms handle inevitable sibling rivalry so don’t forget to share your experience in the comments section below.