Handling Sibling Rivalry

If you’re a parent with more than one child then I can guarantee at some point you will have to endure sibling rivalry. When we told our daughter she was going to be a big sister, she was thrilled at the thought of having a baby. For the most part, she was actually very sweet and loving towards her baby brother. As he grew older, it began. And now with a third, it’s yet another battle to come as he adjusts to being a big brother.

kids fighting

Your kids can be the very best of friends one minute and fighting over a toy the next. It’s frustrating as a parent when kids don’t get along or can’t agree on something. Maybe it’s over a movie each one want to watch or a toy that one is playing with. There are many reasons that children fight and this goes for all kids, even close friends that are not related. Whatever the reason, there are ways to minimize the fighting so there’s a little more peace in the home.

How to Resolve Sibling Rivalry

Believe it or not, a little fighting between siblings can be a good thing. It can help children learn how to work out problems, which is why you shouldn’t be quick to jump in every time children fight. Of course, if the fighting leads to aggression that can be harmful, then you will need to bring a stop to it. Here are some ways you can help reduce the tension in your home.

Lead By Example
Kids learn by what they see. Setting a good example at home in the way you and your spouse handle disagreements can help towards demonstrating positive behavior in how your kids handle their arguments. The same goes for how you correct your kids for wrongdoings.

Set Rules for Appropriate Behavior
Lay down the rules for what is appropriate and how to work out problems such as no name calling, biting, hitting, pulling hair, etc. When they act out and break the rules, set consequences for their actions. Remember that it’s not always one-sided, so don’t lean on figuring out which child is to blame. Even if one started it, if a fight breaks out among the two it’s most likely because the other retaliated so both are equally wrong.

Separate the Two
When the fighting gets out of hand and you have to step in, separate your kids from each other until they’ve each had time to calm down. Any time two or more people spend a great deal of time together, they’re bound to get tired of another at some point. Often times, fighting can stem from one child wanting attention. Set time apart to spend with each of your children individually so they can have some one-on-one time with mom. Likewise, set time for each of your children to play on their own, separately, when they can each do what they want.

Offer Security
Many times when kids fight or one child simply starts acting out towards their sibling it’s because they feel like the other child is getting more/special attention. Ensure your children that you are always there for them and that their needs will be met. Instilling a sense of security that let’s them know you love them can help minimize feelings of jealousy over another child.

If the sibling rivalry ceases to ease up some after trying to resolve the issues then there may be need for a professional to step in. If one child always seems to be the instigator and their behavior is out of control to where it can lead to serious harm of the other child or even the parent, there could be an underlying issue. Consulting with your pediatrician or seeking the advice of a mental health professional could make all the difference for a quieter, more peaceful home.

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