Thursday, 16 June 2016

Best Ways to Manage Sibling Rivalry

Teach your children empathy,
Conflicts develop in every type of relationship but what is important is that your children learn how to deal with them. Many factors could affect how children get along and some underlying feelings could lead to sibling conflicts. 

Feelings such as boredom and rejection, competition for parental attention, and the temperaments of your children could lead to sibling rivalry. Dealing with your children's underlying feelings and their individual needs could lessen conflicts. 

Here are five ways to manage sibling rivalry in your family.

Build Affirming Family Life

 Children thrive in a nurturing home environment. In such loving atmosphere children are affirmed in words and actions. For example, you could hold regular family meeting where each child gets the opportunity to express his or herself. As you listen to your children and treat them equally, they get a sense of belonging and learn to  live together

Make Time for Each Child

Share your time with your children. Find time to give each child undivided attention and make him or her feel special. As you share specific time and activities separately with each child, these steps could reduce the need for your children to compete for your attention. As a result, you could see a decrease in the incidences of sibling rivalry. 

Set Boundaries and Consequences

Set ground rules to ensure that your children understand acceptable behaviors. For example, help your children understand that bullying behaviors are unacceptable in their interactions. Then hold them responsible for any aggressive behavior. This also helps your children learn that there are consequences to their actions.

Help Children to Develop Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share other people's feelings. This is a skill that is important for building healthy relationships throughout your children's lives. Through modeling, teach your children to understand that other people’s feelings and opinions are important. As they learn to understand each others’ viewpoint, frictions and rivalry will lessen in their interactions.

Teach Children How to Manage Conflicts

Your children need parental guidance to learn acceptable behaviors. So help them to talk about their feelings. For example,  teach them how to handle situations like name calling. Give them opportunities to learn to deal with their differences but intervene when necessary. This will help your children will learn problem-solving skills including how to resolve conflicts effectively.

Start a Conversation with Your Children

In the YouTube video developed by GreatSchools, the boys talk about sibling rivalry  through their eyes. When you give your kids a chance to talk about sibling rivalry in the home, you can get what they think about the matter. 

The video encourages parents to start a conversation their children. Here are a few of the steps GreatSchools  suggests you ask your children:
  • When do you get along best?
  • What gets in the way of getting along?
  • What could you do to get the thing you need without fighting with your brother or sister?
You can find additional information and help on handling sibling  from rivalry from the Child Development Institute.
 Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

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