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7 Parenting Tips to Deal With Sibling Rivalry in the Children

Being a parent and teacher,Chitrangada writes with practical understanding and experience about parenting issues and also provides solutions

Parenting Tips to deal with sibling rivalry

Parenting Tips to deal with sibling rivalry

Avoid comparison of your children

Avoid comparison of your children

Sibling Rivalries may lead to physical and verbal attacks.

Sibling Rivalries may lead to physical and verbal attacks.

If not dealt with properly, the children may harm each other physically. —Sibling Rivalry.

If not dealt with properly, the children may harm each other physically. —Sibling Rivalry.

5 Possible Causes of Sibling Rivalry

There can be many causes of this, namely, age, sex, position in the family, that is birth order, above average, or mediocre academics, special needs children, general family atmosphere, and many more.

Let us discuss some of them here:

1. Children with less age difference:

If the age gap is less in children, there might be competition between them, whether in studies, or sports, or any other activity.

When they are small, it might be physical fights, but if not handled properly, when they are still young, it might become verbal later on.

2. Children of the same sex or age:

It is quite natural, that children of the same sex, or age get equal opportunity while growing up in a family. As a result, they might develop the same interests, or capabilities. But one of them might be slightly better than the other, and may get applauded for that by the parents, or the teachers.

It is then, that the friction starts, and it is a real difficult situation for the parents, to handle it.

3. The middle child:

Many examples can be seen, when the middle born, does not get the same attention, or privileges as the eldest, or the youngest child.

This makes the middle child sometimes upset, unhappy, or an attention seeker.

4. Gifted child, or the child with special needs:

Each child has his/ her own personality, character, Intelligence etc.

It is quite natural, for a parent to appreciate the achievements of a particular child.

It is then, that the problem can start. There can be jealousy among the other sibling.

The parents must maintain a balanced approach, as every child, can not have the same capabilities.

Then, there can be other kind of children, who are physically weak, or handicapped, or poor in studies.

The parents are always concerned about them. As a result, the other Normal kids, may feel deprived, and may become resentful.

5. Different temperaments, need different treatments:

Each child has a different temperament, unique to his own. Therefore, all of them can not, and should not be handled, in the same manner.

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There are children, who are sensitive, and emotional, whereas there are those, who are more practical, and mature.

It is for the parents, to identify, and deal with them, according to their temperament.

Can the parents be blamed?

To some extent--Yes!

  • To a great extent, sibling rivalry can be managed, if the parents have a balanced approach, towards their children.
  • Parents have to consciously, and cautiously, tackle situations, which might lead to animosity, and jealousy among the siblings, and they can do it very effectively.
  • Children love and listen to their parents, more than anyone else, when they are young. If the parents exhibit a strong bond themselves, the children will be inspired to follow the same.
  • If they see their parents tackling conflicts, difficult situations, or disagreements in an amicable, and respectful manner, they will definitely learn it, and follow this, whenever they are in a conflicting situation with their siblings.
  • It is advisable, to practice what you preach, to avoid rivalries among your kids.
  • Parents must be impartial, and should avoid comparisons.
  • One basic factor, which gives rise to Sibling Rivalry is, the desire to get appreciation by the parent. No other praise, can be as big as that for the child.
  • Therefore, the parents must be judicious, so that one kid may not feel neglected, than the other.
Siblings Happy in each other’s company, is a Happy family.

Siblings Happy in each other’s company, is a Happy family.

7 Parenting Tips and Suggestions To Deal With Sibling Rivalry in Children.

Sibling Rivalry is the most unpleasant, and frustrating situation for the Parents. But the solution also lies with them, and with their wisdom, it can be handled efficiently.

1. Do not get too much involved:

If a fight is going on, do not get too much involved, unless the siblings get physical. If you support one kid, the other may get the feeling, that you are favouring, or protecting him/ her, and the other kid may feel high, that he/ she is more dear to you, and get away with any mischief, in future as well.

2. Do not intervene, or examine:

If you intervene, the kids would not learn to solve their problems themselves, and would always ask for your intervention. Try to ignore, or ask them to resolve their differences themselves. Do not try to examine, whose fault it was. In any case, if there is a fight, two people are involved.

3. Encourage the children, to solve their disputes themselves:

When the kids try to resolve disputes on their own, they also learn some basic skills, which can be useful to them in their future.

They would learn, that there can be a different point of view, or other opinion. They may also learn about, how to make negotiations, and compromises.

4. Set some rules, for acceptable behaviour in the family:

Make some rules, that there should not be any shouting, yelling, physical harm, bickering etc. and whoever breaks the rules, will have to bear the consequences.

Make them responsible, for their actions and behaviour. This would also discourage the discussion about, who was 'right' and who was 'wrong.'

5. Teach them, to respect Individual needs:

Each child has some different and unique needs. You, as a parent should understand that, and if you are successful in explaining this to your kids, there would not be any jealousy, and rather the other child would help you, in performing your duties, towards the child, in need of your attention.

6. Listening always helps:

You are a parent, and you have immense capability, to control unfavourable situations, merely by Love and Athe toon, and you are the only one who can do it.

Each child, should get the feeling that he/ she got the equal opportunity to be heard. Merely venting out their feelings, makes them feel better.

A little bit of appreciation, if the kids are happy and teamed up, goes a long way, to further their efforts. Because kids always want to make their parents happy.

7. Teach the children conflict resolution skills:

As the children grow up, they may have a different opinion, a diverse thinking. Teach your children to respect each other’s thoughts. In case of conflicting thoughts, how they should resolve their issues, can be nurtured in the children by the parents, from early childhood.
It would be good, if they don’t involve others, especially the parents, while trying to solve conflicting issues.
Developing a skill, to negotiate, to listen to each other with an open mind, agreeing to disagree, forgetting and forgiving, not dragging the past issues, are some of the skills, which can be carefully explained and nurtured by the parents, to avoid future confrontations.

To Conclude:

  • Sibling Rivalry though, a sensitive and delicate issue, can easily be handled by the parents.
  • Show the children, that you love them, care for them, worry for them.
  • Have family sittings, create moments of Fun, and Happy Bonding, make them feel for each other.
  • Make them realise, that the parents, brothers and sisters, always will stand for you, in happy times, as well as troubled times.
  • Even when, the children grow up, have regular family gatherings, and encourage them to share, their family matters, or work related matters.
  • Spending time with each other, or remaining connected to each other, always helps in sharing happy, and strong bond among Siblings.
  • If nothing works out, don’t shy away from taking professional advice, by counsellors.

Chitrangada Sharan

Parenting advice: Sibling Rivalry, source: YouTube

Sibling Rivalry, parenting tips, Source: YouTube

Suggested Readings:

1. Via Kids Health

2. Via Health line

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Chitrangada Sharan


Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 01, 2020:

You are right, Sp Greaney. Unfortunately, the parents do this without any intention, without realising this, that by favouring one child over the other, they may be doing a permanent damage to the relationship between the children. It’s important to adopt a balanced approach to the conflicts, if any, right from the beginning. Later on, it’s very difficult to handle the conflicting situations between the siblings.

Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on October 01, 2020:

I've seen this happen and it's awful when you see it continue into adulthood. I think your advice of trying to deal with it before it gets out of hand is good. If it is addressed while they are young then it's better. But some parents will always have a favorite and unfortunately they might not realize that they are showing the other children this.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 14, 2020:

Thank you so much Lora, for your wonderful and insightful comments.

You have added more value to this article, by sharing your thoughts and observations.

Appreciate your kind words, and share. So pleased to read your positive feedback.

Thank you for your support.

Lora Hollings on September 13, 2020:

This is such a great article for parents to use as a guide in dealing with sibling rivalry. I thought all the suggestions that you made in this article were very valuable ones that can help alleviate this situation and at the same time help children to mature emotionally and learn how to resolve conflicts amicably. A very important skill as they age which becomes useful later on in life in work-related environments as well as when they become parents. I think if parents treat each child equally and show respect for their different abilities and temperaments, then children will show greater appreciation towards one another and they won't always feel the need to show the parents that they are just as good. I think that doing activities together as a family and having discussions about things, as you point out, can also reduce sibling rivalry and foster more loving relationships between siblings. This is one of the best articles I've read on this topic and I will share it with my siblings who now have children of their own!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 10, 2020:

Thank you MsDora, for reading and commenting on this article.

While the siblings are the best friends and companions, there can be rivalries among them, if not taken care of by the parents.

Thank you so much for your support. Good day to you.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 09, 2020:

I've always felt that I would get along well with siblings if I had any, but obviously it's not as easy as it looks. Thanks for the education in this article on the causes and tips on how to deal with it.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 29, 2020:

Thank you Marlene, for reading the article and sharing your thoughts.