What’s the best part about having a sibling? The opportunity to tease, annoy, and meltdown under the protection of unconditional love and support. While sibling rivalry can be an expected part of family dynamics, the goal should be to reduce tension and provide more amicable means of communication rather than to eradicate this “normal” part of growth and development.
3 Tips for Handling Sibling Rivalry:
- Address tension around jealousy. If your child is envious of her sister’s peer group, new shoes, or involvement in advanced swimming lessons encourage her to separate her feelings of self with feelings about her sister. Allow her to express feeling happy for her sister’s accomplishments and gain rational thinking about why her sister is in advanced swimming and why she is still in tadpoles (age, experience, etc.). Then, have your daughter highlight positives in her life to offset jealousy regarding the “have nots.”
- De-escalate negative emotions. When tensions flare, as they will, encourage both children to take a “chill out” or a “break” to reduce arguments. Since siblings have more comfort and familiarity, nasty messages and below-the-belt commentary are not likely to be filtered. Diffuse the argument or tension by sending each child in opposite directions. When both are calm, they can talk and work through whatever the situation is. Don’t just send one child away, send both away so the message is fair, no “you like her better.”
- Encourage positive bonding time. Although lifestyles are hectic and schedules are full, ask your daughters to identify activities they would both like to engage in to facilitate fun memory-making and bonding. Instead of your children focusing on what the other siblings has, this will create an equal playing field and provide an opportunity for uniformity.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today.