If you’re a parent of two or more children, chances are high that you’ve noticed sibling rivalry among them. It first appears usually when the second or child is born, and it grows as they do. They start off small like “who’s going to play with the toy first” and it grows into “who is more beloved by the parent between the two”.
Kids aren’t going to change as long as they’re kids. Their reasons for fighting are going to be absurd and even though they can say things that hurt like “I wish I didn’t have a brother/sister” you have to understand that they are just kids, they don’t understand and they’re saying that our of anger.
Rivalry between Different Ages
As we mentioned above, rivalry and jealousy is a trait that is most commonly found in children. It usually appears between children that different 2-4 years in age and if one of them is more intellectually gifted.
So by now you’re probably wondering how to deal with the sibling rivalry?
In the moment they’re fighting and shouting, it is best for you as a parent to stay out of their business and let them finish it off between themselves, because if you step in, they’re not going to learn to deal with their problems. However, if you notice that the rivalry and fighting are becoming hot, and it might grow into a physical fight, that is your signal to step in.
Here are some advice on how to help your children become best friends and get along:
- Befriend them with each other even while the one is still in your stomach
The birth of the second child greatly impacts the first one since all of the attention the first child had, is now going to the second one.
- Don’t take sides between the two children
If you take a side, you will only make one of your children to feel underappreciated and unworthy which will fuel the rivalry between the two even further. Always be neutral.
- Make rules, and make sure they respect them
Don’t allow them to curse, and offend each other. Set some rules and tell them that if they break it, there will be punishments of a certain kind. Like, for example, no computer, cell phone, TV and etc.
- Don’t make them share everything
Every kid needs to have his own toys and that is okay. Forcing them to share their things will only make them more protective of their stuff.
- Make them discuss and compromise
Whenever they are fighting, ask them to lower their tone and to start talking rationally. Also, ask them to offer an agreement and a solution for the problem. If they don’t want to, you be the judge and come up with a solution. Setting an example with a solution that doesn’t soothe them will make them think with their own heads next time.
- Immediately step in if they are fighting physically
You as a parent need to immediately step in if things get heated physically. Separate them in different rooms until their negative “enemy” emotions go away. Then make them apologize and talk.
- Always credit good behavior
The most important thing is for the parents to learn to give credit when their kids are behaving nicely because children need to learn what is good and right.
- Every child should be your favorite child
Kids often ask their parents who do they love more, them or their sibling – and to this, your answer needs to be diplomatic, something like “I love you both in a special and a unique way”.
And even though sibling rivalry is a very frustrating phase, you need to understand that it is a phase that every child has to go through, but you can use these several tips in order to make yours easier.