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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 Rivalry: The Signs and Symptoms.

Sibling Rivalry is a very sensitive issue, and it is quite common in most of the families.

If it’s not dealt with properly, the consequences can be very saddening later on, when the children are grown up.

Needless to say, that Parents love their each and every child equally.

In spite of that, sibling rivalry does exist in many families. And the most upset and saddened, by this rivalry, are the parents themselves.

It can still be managed, when the children are small, or younger. But if it continues, even when the children are grown up, it can go beyond control.

What is Sibling Rivalry?

Sibling means, children born in the same family or to the same parents.

And Sibling Rivalry dates back to the ancient times. We can find its shades in the Indian epic Mahabharata as well.

Hindi movies such as, 'Black' and ‘Deevar' and many more movies, have very effectively communicated the dangers of Sibling Rivalry, and it‘ s consequences on the parents, and the family as a whole.

This is rather sad, that although, there are so many examples of healthy and solid bond among the Siblings, but the matter that draws our attention the most is, when they do not get along well with each other..

What are the signs and symptoms of Sibling Rivalry?

How to identify that children are having some kind of Rivalry?

  • In a family of brothers and sisters, there can be frequent fights over small issues. But this does not mean, that there is a rivalry among siblings
  • One moment, they fight and the other moment, they love each other, and play and enjoy each other’s company.
  • The children want undivided love, and attention from their parents. Rivalry develops, when they compete for the same.
  • This can be identified as, name calling, hitting physically, immature behavior, shouting at each other, throwing tantrums, to seek attention, and so on.
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.

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 Positive Parenting Solutions


3. 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.

Yes, listening to the children is important. Each child deserves to be heard by the parents. This helps them to listen to their siblings and others as well, and it becomes easier to resolve differences.

Appreciate your valuable feedback. Take care dear friend.

Thank you and Happy Weekend.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on August 28, 2020:

This is such a well-written article. I wish I had your tips handy when I was bringing up my children. I think listening is a skill that helps a lot and setting rules of engagement are important so that the rest can be incorporated more easily.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 28, 2020:

Thank you Umesh Chandra ji, for appreciating the article. Glad that you liked it.

Thank you so much.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 28, 2020:

Well conceived and well written article.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 26, 2020:

Thank you Nithya, for your insightful comments.

I agree with you that the parents should be careful, and adopt a balanced behaviour, towards their children.

I am glad that you found this article useful. Appreciate your valuable feedback and support. Thank you.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 26, 2020:

Thank you Ernest, for coming back. I wish you all the best in your efforts, to help your siblings to resolve, whatever differences they may be having.

Thank you once again.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 26, 2020:

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

Yes, it’s so unfortunate that, if not handled well, sibling rivalry might continue even in the later phase of life. It’s not at all pleasant for the parents, as well as the siblings.

Appreciate your valuable feedback. Thank you so much.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 26, 2020:

Thank you Drew Agravante, for your kind visit and valuable feedback. I am glad that you liked the article.

You are right, if the parents are careful about this issue, there should not be any problem, whether during the childhood, or even in the later years of life.

Thank you for reading and commenting. Much appreciated.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on August 25, 2020:

Great article about sibling rivalry. It depends on how parents deal with the situation. If they choose favorites and openly show who is their favorite sibling with their behavior, then this can lead to more sibling rivalry. You have given great tips on handling sibling rivalry.

Ernest Festus Awudey from Ho, Ghana. on August 25, 2020:

Great tips here... Hope to apply them to my young twin siblings who quarrel every day.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on August 25, 2020:

Setting standards of behavior help. But, most importantly, it is essential to set examples of behavior in your dealings with your siblings. It is unfortunate to see rivalry in siblings way into their seventies.

Drew Agravante from Philippines, Currently in Qatar on August 25, 2020:

I really like this article. My second and third brother usually have their own set of sibling rivalry before especially when they were still about 14 & 17. Anyway, my parents handled it well. So, all is well.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 24, 2020:

Thank you Linda, for appreciating the article. Glad you found it useful. Always a pleasure to read your comments. Thank you for your continued support.

Much appreciated.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 24, 2020:

Thank you Peggy, for your kind comments.

Yes, good parenting is a full time job. If done properly, there will be no regrets, or disappointments later.

Good to know that you have cordial relationships with your siblings.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 24, 2020:

Thank you so much Danny, for your valuable and insightful observations.

I agree with you that someone has to rise above their ego, to solve the conflicts.

Of course, the wiser and more mature person will do that. Unfortunately, as the people grow, their egos also grows. It’s easier to handle this, when they are kids, but not later on.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 24, 2020:

Thank you so much Ericdierker, for always supporting my work.

I am glad that you found this article useful. Much appreciated.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 24, 2020:

Thank you Pamela, for reading and sharing your thoughts.

I am the middle child as well, and there are issues with that, I can relate. But, if the parents are careful, the things can be managed amicably.

Appreciate your kind comments and support. Thank you so much.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 24, 2020:

Thank you Bill, for appreciating the article.

Yes, this is faced mainly in those families, where there are more than one children.

Many thanks for reading and commenting.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 24, 2020:

Thank you Ernest, for your kind visit and comments. I am glad that you found this article useful.

The kids do fight during the childhood, which is quite normal. But, it’s not pleasant to see them fighting, when they have grown up. Therefore, they must be taught or encouraged to resolve their conflicts, in an amicable way.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 24, 2020:

Thank you Lorna, for your valuable and positive feedback.

Good to know about your parents and your siblings. Yes, the good values we learn from our parents, remain with us for the lifetime.

Thank you for your kind comments and support. Much appreciated.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 24, 2020:

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

Siblings are a great support for each other, and I am glad to know about the healthy relationship, which you share with yours.

Thank you for appreciating the article.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 24, 2020:

Thank you Devika, for your valuable comments.

Yes, it’s an important parenting issue. If handled properly from the very beginning, there should not be any problem in the future as well, when the children grow up.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 24, 2020:

Thanks for sharing your experience and the great advice, Chitrangada. Preventing sibling rivalry is important.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 24, 2020:

Your article proves how good parenting is a hard but manageable job! I think that my parents did an excellent job with the three of us. I happened to be the eldest and had two younger brothers.

Danny from India on August 24, 2020:

Chitra man, this is the story of every household. Some siblings break the ice quickly but some cranker and go on.

I think here maturity level comes into play. Someone has to step down, and its the wiser one who will do that.

Cringing and fighting among family members is common but parents' role is of utmost importance here.

Teaching children the importance/value of things early on can inculcate a sense of responsibility and they will grow up being sensible human beings.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 24, 2020:

Outstanding . I never gave this much thought.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 24, 2020:

Reading an article like yours really makes you think about your childhood and that of your children. I was the oldest of three and I had it much better than my sister. I had three boys and I worked hard to be aware of those middle child issues.

Chitrangada Sharan, this article is excellent with great tips for parenting. So many of this tips are easy to use for your children. This is certainly a well-written article.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 24, 2020:

Great suggestions to a very common problem for parents. I grew up an only child, and my son is an only child, so I have no experience regarding this, but I like your suggestions.

Ernest Festus Awudey from Ho, Ghana. on August 24, 2020:

This is reality. I have two siblings who are twins and they quarrel and fight almost every day. Thanks for sharing these great tips. Hope they are helpful.

Lorna Lamon on August 24, 2020:

I was the middle child of three and the most outspoken. I felt my parents handled any conflict well and my mother in particular was very patient. However, they could both be stern when needed. They taught us to respect each other's point of view, something which has always remained with me.

Your article is full of guidance and tips in how to navigate these tricky waters. Well written Chitrangada.

Rosina S Khan on August 24, 2020:

Sibling rivalry is common in families all around. I remember my one year younger sister and me had so many conflicts while we were young and growing. But as we became adults and went our separate ways, we discovered our own talents and good qualities and excelled in our different endeavors.

Yes, your article sheds light on how sibling rivalry can be minimized. A good and useful article for sure, Chitrangada.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 24, 2020:

Chitrangada Sharan I understand your effective ways in dealing with siblings, It is difficult to comprehend the issues that parents have to face when raising their children. All sides have to be looked at and to be understood from all sides. It is no sense in taking sides.Overall, you have a well-written hub and useful to all parents. Informative and a must read.

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