With having more than one child comes the chance of sibling rivalry. Many brothers and sisters fight from time to time. Some siblings become great friends where others feel the need to compete for their parents’ attention, material possessions, obtaining better grades, or excelling in sports. No matter what the fight is about, it can be both very unpleasant and frustrating to hear and see your children fight. Below are some strategies to help keep the peace between your children and reduce sibling rivalry.
Strategies To Reduce Sibling Rivalry:
- Acceptable and Unacceptable. Discuss with your children what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable and encourage their input. Make it clear that name-calling, yelling, swearing, hitting, kicking, etc. are all unacceptable behaviors and will not be tolerated. Have them help come up with and be aware of what the consequences will be when they engage in these unacceptable behaviors.
- Don’t get Involved. When possible, try not to get involved and have your children workout their differences without you. You want your children to learn how to problem solve and find solutions without always needing your help. If things are getting out of control or might turn into a physical altercation then you should definitely step in, but for the most part let your children handle it by themselves.
- Wait for the Calm. If you do get involved with your children’s dispute, make sure that everyone is calm when trying to problem solve and discuss the issue at hand. If your children are still upset, they will continue to fight instead of being able to clearly solve the dilemma.
- Don’t Blame. Do not take the time to figure out who started the fight. It does not matter who started it, all that matters is that the conflict is resolved. It takes more than one person to be in an altercation and everyone involved is responsible to some degree.
- Individual Interests. Be sure to set time aside to enjoy all of your children’s different interests. Offer one-on-one time for you and your children to do their favorite things. If your daughter really likes to do arts and crafts, set a date for just you and her to partake in these activities. If your son really enjoys going out to hike and explore, find time for just you and him to take a walk or go to the nature center.
- Praise. Make sure that you provide specific praise for all of your children’s accomplishments and achievements. You want to make sure that your children receive the individual praise and acknowledgement that they deserve for their different highly preferred tasks and activities of interest.
- Life Isn’t Always Fair or Equal. Let your children know that not everything is always going to be equal and fair. Just because one child got a new toy or outfit does not mean that everyone needs to get one too. Sometimes a child will need more of your time or attention and that is okay, because down the road it will be flipped and your other child will require more of your individual attention.
- Time Apart. There is nothing wrong with allowing time for your children to do their own thing and be apart. Arranging different play dates as well as having your children partake in different activities/classes that are of interest to them is perfectly healthy and fine.
- Schedule. If your children are constantly fighting over the same situations (i.e., what to watch on television, what to listen to on the radio, what game to play, who should go first, etc.) create a schedule to help monitor who has control over what things on which days and at which times. If your children continue to fight even after the schedule is in place, completely remove the item that is causing so much trouble.
To help reduce and eliminate sibling rivalry in your home, keep the above strategies in mind and utilize them when you can. In addition, to learn move about sibling rivalry and to get other helpful tips, read Sibling Rivalry: Why Siblings Fight and How to Prevent It!