Sibling Rivalry – A Challenge For the Whole Family


I don’t profess to be an expert on sibling rivalry but as a parent I have had my challenges.  Being a parent of 3 kids, a girl and twin boys has led me to believe that sibling rivalry comes in many shapes and forms.

“Mom….he’s in my stuff again”

“Mom….they are ganging up on me AGAIN!”

“Mom…I hate him/her/them”  and then every now and then there would be a

“Dad..she is making fun of me”

Each family has its own unique dynamics and handles sibling rivalry in its own way.   Whatever your family dynamics sibling rivalry can be stressful, frustrating and upsetting. Let’s face it, we all have dreams of our kids being best friends and supportive of each other.

Here are a few tips to help understand and ease the pain of sibling rivalry:

* each child has their own personality, temperament and disposition (including identical twins…mine included!), this causes them to clash every now and then

* Children have evolving needs, try to assert themselves and show they are the leader and strong one…and they love to have their own way!

* Don’t forget, kids are copycats!  Be a role model.  If they see you slamming doors and arguing to get your own way they will think this is the norm.  The easiest way to learn is to learn by example.

Now you ask yourself…what should I do when the fighting starts?  My experience has taught me that nothing works every time but here are some tried and true guidelines:

* Try not to get involved.  As difficult as this may be…and believe me I know, getting involved has consequences of its own.  You risk the chance of your involvement being interpreted as favoritism for one child or that you are protecting one child from the other

* Don’t try to figure out who is to blame, do try to help them calm down and think of ways to resolve the issue even if you have to separate them for a few minutes

* Help them to take time out until the emotions have died down and they can discuss a rational way to work things out.

* Make sure that each child has their own space which is to be respected by all, a space that they can play quietly or with other friends

Don’t forget that teaching your child to work things out is a life skill, one that will stay with him for the rest of his life.  Whether in the work place or at home, learning compromise and negotiation will prove to be priceless.

Patience, understanding and lots of luck…

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