Sibling rivalry can be a tough thing to deal with. How do you juggle parenting and mediating? These tips offer a few solutions to potential fights between siblings.
If you are a parent of multiple children, you know the bond that is formed between your children is a beautiful thing. It’s full of love, patience, happiness, and plenty of giggles. It’s also heartwarming to watch them play together, grow together, experience different adventures in life together and snuggle up together. Having a sibling is like being able to hang out with your best friend, every day.
While most of the time siblings get along and don’t have any issues… there are definitely times when your children may work together about as well as oil and water. Do those days sound familiar? The days where they don’t want to hang out, neither one can seem to do the right thing for the other and they each seem to have an attitude reflective of a “horrible, no-good, very bad day.” As a parent, it’s often frustrating to see those moments in life where your children aren’t getting along. Frustrating, but common in many households. The hardest part about being a parent at a time such as this is understanding WHY they truly aren’t getting along. What are the underlying reason for the arguments, the fights, and the disagreements? If your radar is pointing towards the common factor of sibling rivalry, you may be correct. Here are some ways that you can help your children deal with issues that surround sibling rivalry.
Treat your children as individuals.
While it is true that they are related and are siblings, they are also their own individual person. Try to speak to them each individually and not collectively as a group when possible. Children love attention, especially when it comes from their parents. Give them each the same individual attention to help curb that feeling of jealousy between them.
Don’t compare them to one another.
Again, celebrate their uniqueness! Each one of your children shine brightly in their own way. Don’t use comparison between them at all. If you have one child who likes music and one who likes sports, great! It sounds as though you will have a very well-rounded household in terms of activities and passions. Comparing your children to one another not only creates an atmosphere that feeds on jealousy, it’s also a silly way to cause separation between them.
Be prepared to always be fair.
As the parent, you may find that you are put into situations by your children to try to choose one over the other or take sides between arguments…don’t do it. Always stay fair, true and neutral to situations that you aren’t 100% certain of the details. If you are asked to join in on a heated conversation mid-stream, take the time to get your facts before deciding what the next step is. You have to hear both sides, process all statements and gauge all reactions to not facilitate the rivalry even more than it already is.
Have equal one-on-one time with each child.
Sometimes, children act out because they are seeking attention. Even if that attention is negative, children still crave and want it. If you find that you are needing to carve out some special individual time with each one of your children, make certain to do the same for all involved. The last thing that you want to do is create an environment where one child got “mommy” time and the other didn’t, or one went bowling during mommy time while the other one went with mommy to her dentist appointment. Whatever you do with one, you need to be consistent and do with the other, in an equal amount of time.
If you haven’t noticed, part of being a parent is not only teaching, molding, and leading, but it’s also a balancing act between keeping everyone happy and not having your children feel as though they are getting put on the back burner by other outside factors. It can be a hard role to be a parent, a judge, a mediator, and a referee, but it’s the many hats that we all wear on a daily basis.
If you are wanting to help alleviate that feeling of stress and anxiety that comes along with sibling rivalry, try a few of the suggestions above to see how they work with your and your children. Remember to celebrate their uniqueness and embrace an equal amount of alone time with each one of them. Celebrating them when they are together, as well as when they are apart, is a great way to remove the issue of sibling rivalry from your home!