Sibling rivalry is a common and often inevitable part of family life, but it doesn’t have to be a source of constant conflict and stress. Sibling rivalry can wreak havoc on family time and can foster a tense relationship between sibling groups. Constant squabbling or unrelenting competitiveness could be quite taxing on parents’ nerves. Yes, there are parenting techniques for dealing with sibling rivalry, but a more subtle approach is sometimes necessary as well.
Tips for dealing with conflicts between siblings
If you have more than one child, you must have experienced sibling rivalry at least once. Conflicts between siblings can take the form of arguments, name-calling, gossip, physical arguments, competition, comparisons, possessiveness, and other behaviors. Dealing with sibling rivalry can be frustrating, exhausting, and upsetting for parents. Most parents dream of their children being loving, kind, and supportive of each other. Conflicts between siblings are normal and even inevitable. It’s important to understand that annoyances can be minimized but never completely eliminated.
Sibling quarrels arise out of jealousy, rivalry, conflicting desires, and temperaments, sometimes out of boredom, or even to socialize or to get attention from you. Believe it or not, rivalries between siblings actually have some advantages. It helps children master power struggles, compromise, manage and resolve conflicts, set boundaries, assert themselves, and more.
After all, it’s not about eliminating sibling rivalry. The goal is to use conflict as an opportunity for learning, thereby maximizing the potential benefits of conflict between siblings. At the same time, we can enact rules, structures, and bonding habits that reduce unhealthy and excessive sibling rivalry.
Five Steps to Help You Handle Conflicts and Conflicts Between Siblings
1 Create a collaboration environment
Children often learn through imitation. If parents are on bad terms and quarreling with loud fistfights, doors being slammed, or silence, the child has little hope of recovery. Set a good example for your child to follow. Develop better ways of communicating that are compassionate, sensitive to each other’s needs, supportive, and most importantly respectful.
2 Don’t pick a favorite or compare
Every child has their own strengths and weaknesses. Celebrate their individuality without making them feel like they’re always at odds with each other. Don’t say things like, “Your sister always studies hard and comes home with good grades.” why can’t you?
3 Understand the difference between fairness and equality
Being fair and being equal are not always the same when it comes to conflicts and conflicts between siblings. Older children may have other privileges that may upset younger children. Strive to make fair decisions and spend time with your children explaining why certain decisions were made.
4. Give the children problem-solving tools
Teaching children not to yell at each other is one thing, and knowing how to defuse and resolve sibling rivalries and conflicts is one thing. Teach your children how to calmly explain their feelings and their side of the story by listening empathetically and negotiating the outcome so that both parties are satisfied in the end.
5 Establish rules of good behavior
Help children understand what their parents consider good or bad behavior, and help them set consequences or limit privileges if they misbehave. An example of bad behavior that children can relate to is demeaning verbal abuse. Instead, encourage, reinforce, and praise good behavior, such as talking quietly to each other and trying to resolve differences with respect for each other.
In summary, the more aware you are as a parent, the easier it will be to deal with conflicts between siblings. As a matter of fact, your children are always on alert and always on watch. By setting an example, taking time to resolve lingering antagonisms, and encouraging unity, children will eventually learn to rely on and support each other.