Parents who have more than one child know that every moment isn’t bliss. Even those who have kids who are best friends see them bicker, bother one another, and sometimes something worse. It’s human nature for siblings to go at it.
As KidsHealth explains, “Often, sibling 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.”
Call it competition, or maybe just some level of “I can’t stand you!” As long as no one is getting hurt or humiliated, parents ought to let the kids sort things out on their own. They’ll need to learn how to get along with others, and starting at home with those closest to them is a great start. Deep down, there’s a deep connection and a pure love that siblings share. If rivalry rears its ugly head and they go at it from time to time, it’s a test of their bond, even when it’s temporarily broken.
What To Do?
Don’t fret or try to figure it out for them. Of course, they can’t get physical or emotionally tear each other apart, so if something severe is happening in the household, it’s your way or the highway, so to speak. As the parent, you lay down the law, no matter how much the kids are at each other’s throats. Otherwise, kids have their own way of navigating their way through the world, and sibling rivalry is a stage. Some siblings will always have a degree of friction between them, even well into adulthood, but by that time, they’ll have to handle the how-tos on their own.
As a parent, be sure to give each child plenty of attention, compliments, and care. If one child feels that their sibling is the apple of your eye, rivalry is sure to see an upswing. Understand each child’s special talents and attributes, and never compare them to one another. As individuals, they need to know they’re appreciated for who they are, regardless of their siblings’ strong suits.
Sibling rivalry is nothing to be scared of. Kids won’t always see eye-to-eye, and they’ll get frustrated and sometimes fight. Out-of-control behavior should never be tolerated, but run-of-the-mill rivalry is to be expected. Be sure to remind your kids that they are friends for life. They’ll always have each other, so remember to show the love and never let one another down.
Do you experience sibling rivalry in your household? How do you handle it?
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By: Melissa A. Kay