What is Sibling Rivalry? When you have two or more kids at home, they may fight out of jealousy, and there seems to be a competition in everything they do between them. This is called sibling rivalry.
The problems usually start after the birth of the second child in the family. Each child has a different personality and a different temperament. This means that they might not get along, and you will be faced with an ongoing and seemingly never-ending conflict between your children.
Sibling rivalry can show itself in many ways. The children can get into physical fights. There could be verbal fighting and expressions of envy. The kids could be continuously bickering, they might call each other names, or there might be a constant competition for their parent’s attention. But there is no need to be anxious or worried. It is perfectly normal, and there hasn’t been a single mom or dad who hasn’t had to deal with it at some point during their parenthood.
However, some parents’ behavior and attitude can actually worsen the situation. Below are some major DO NOTS for the parents.
What You Shouldn’t Do As A Parent Witnessing Sibling Rivalry
- Do not pay more attention to one child’s needs and interests than the others.
- Don’t keep criticizing the same child again and again.
- Do not always praise and admire one child only.
- Don’t make your children compete with each other.
- Do not take sides – (unless, of course, you have seen one child deliberately hurting the other.)
Many factors can contribute to sibling rivalry. Some are mentioned below:
Some Causes of Rivalry in Siblings
- When parents don’t spend enough time and don’t give proper attention to their kid’s needs and interests.
- If the child feels the arrival of a new baby threatens them.
- When one child has a feeling that they are being given less love and attention than the other.
- Boredom, hunger, and tiredness lead to the children becoming irritated, and hence they start getting into arguments and fights.
- Not having fun family activities is another factor that gives rise to the children’s negative feelings. Kids fight for parents’ attention, and when you have activities in which the whole family takes part, it reduces conflict.
Dealing with Sibling Rivalry
The way you deal with the sibling rivalry that exists between your kids is the key to solving these problems. In case of a fight breaking out between the kids, try not to interfere. This will teach the kids to overcome their own conflicts. They will learn how to handle it themselves, and you won’t have to play the role of a peacemaker.
Being parents, you need to give each of your children enough time, space, and attention of their own to grow and develop into mature adults. None of your children should ever feel that they are getting an unequal amount of attention, love, or response.
Though sibling rivalry starts in early childhood and sometimes continues into adulthood, over time, it lessens and can change dramatically, creating a stronger bond between the brothers and sisters as they change and develop a better understanding of each other.
Sibling rivalry has its advantages too. The children are learning lifelong and valuable skills. They learn to compromise, trust, forgive, and forget. As they discover their own self, simultaneously they are finding a lot of things about their siblings too.
Each child helps shape personalities and interests and helps them realize that each sibling among them is special and unique in their own way. Sharing, taking responsibility, building self-esteem, and other social skills are attributes they will carry with them for the whole of their lives.