WHAT IS SIBLING RIVALRY?
Sibling rivalry is the jealousy, competition and fighting between brothers and/or sisters. Some children are lucky to become best friends with their siblings. And some have a love-hate relationship.
The first thing to realize is that sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up. It certainly drives parents crazy. Children are like little lawyers, always demanding fairness and equality and fighting for what they perceive are their natural-born rights. This kind of rivalry starts even before the second child is born and continues as the kids grow and compete for everything from toys to attention. As kids reach different stages of development, their evolving needs can significantly affect how they relate to one another.
• Each child is competing to define who they are as an individual. As they discover who they are, they try to find their own talents, activities and interests. They want to show that they are separate from their siblings.
• Children feel they are getting unequal amount of your attention and responsiveness. And the need evolves over time.
WHAT COULD YOU DO?
The key to remember: How parents treat their children and react to conflict can make a big difference in how well siblings get along.
• Be a role model. Children often fight more in families where parents think aggression and fighting between siblings normal and an acceptable way to resolve conflicts.
• Set ground rules for acceptable behavior. Tell the kids to refrain from hitting, cursing, name-calling, yelling, and no door-slamming. Solicit their input on the rules as well as the consequences, when they break them. This teaches kids that they’re responsible for their own actions, regardless of the situation or how provoked they feel and discourages any attempts to negotiate regarding who was right or wrong.
• Don’t get involved, unless it is absolutely necessary. Step in only if there’s a danger of physical harm. If you always intervene, you risk creating other problems. The kids may expect you to rescue all the time. They will be waiting for you to solve every time, rather than solving the problems themselves. You inadvertently will become the savior of one and the other will feel neglected. That would foster much resentment. By the same token, rescued kids may feel they can get away with anything because they’re protected. Always encourage the kids to resolve the crisis themselves.
• If the language or name calling is a problem, you’ve to talk and coach the child when they are calm. This is different from intervening or stepping in and separating the kids.
• Let not the children force you to think that everything has to be “fair” and “equal”. Life is not fair. Sometimes one kid needs more than the other.
• Be proactive in giving your kids one on one attention directed to their interests and needs. Stress in your Childs’ lives can shorten their fuses and decrease their ability to tolerate frustration, leading to more conflict.
• Make sure kids have their own space and time to do their stuffs without sibling tagging along.
• Have fun together as a family. This can help ease tensions between siblings. Parental attention is something many fights spring from. Also Stress in your lives can decrease the amount of time and attention parents can give the children and that increases the sibling rivalry.
• Don’t play favorites.
• Don’t compare your children.
• Let each child be who they are. Don’t try to pigeon hole or label them.
• Enjoy each of your children’s individual talents and successes.
• Set you kids to cooperate rather than compete.
• Teach your children positive ways to get attention from each other. Show them how to approach another child and ask them to play and share their belongings and toys.
• Celebrate your children’s differences.
• Let each child know they are special in their own way.
• Listen really listen to how your children feel about what’s going on in the family. They may not be so demanding if they know you at least care how they feel.
WHEN DO YOU NEED HELP
Seek help for sibling conflict if it,
• Is so severe that it’s leading to marital problems.
• Creates a real danger of physical harm to any family member
• Is damaging to the self-esteem or psychological well-being of any family member.
• May be related to other significant concerns, such as depression.
If something is bothering about the fights always talk to your doctor. Doctor may be able to guide you.