Sibling rivalry is an age-old problem and get can be addressed easily if done at the right time.
It is a very common human stratum that we always have rivalry with our siblings. This happens in every family. But with certain families, it becomes very strong and gets difficult to handle. Sibling rivalry can be as simple as- siblings who are not ready to share things or can be extreme like - physical or verbal abuse and cooking up stories so that the other one gets the scolding or punishment.
Common factors of sibling rivalry are:
- Age difference: It is very common to have sibling rivalry when the age difference is very less. So it's both ways , they like each other’s company, want to play together and still can’t play as they have the same levels of maturity and same kind of issues. If one of the siblings is quite older than the other, there’s less communication, their schedules are different and so in short when interaction is less, there are less issues and their maturity and understanding is also different. The elder one can handle things maturely. When there is a non-violent sibling rivalry between your kids, you can avoid them by saying, “This issue is between the two of you so please take care of it on your own, I am sure you both will resolve it beautifully.” You can escape this scene by making them responsible and showing your trust in their skills to resolve issues among them.
- Gender of your children: Well, It is observed that children of same gender have more common issues to fight with each other. Though they can grow as close siblings in later stage but in the initial years, it can get difficult to resolve their sibling rivalry because there is direct competition and comparison between them. On the other hand, a brother and a sister of the same age generally get along well. It is important to note that when it comes to sibling rivalry, there is no guarantee as to whether the siblings will fight or not. It depends on individual bonding between siblings.
- As a parent, if you are paying more attention towards one and neglecting the other or if one or both of the children has this feeling then this can brew into a sibling rivalry. You have to verbalise and assure them that you love and care equally for both of them in the same manner but depending on their individual needs your priorities might change. You should be aware and should keep in mind to take care of all your children’s needs and requirements one by one.
Talking about the solutions:
- The first thing you can do while your kids are fighting over something is walk away, when it is not so serious or dangerous. Tell them: “It’s your matter, you handle”. In case if it gets severe and is happening frequently, you can ask them to maintain a diary about the issues. Decide the day to read the diary and solve it out.
- If you ask them to write it down, they are going to avoid such stories or situations where they will require you to come and solve it.
- This is a strong perspective where you are not avoiding them, instead giving them importance and proving a point that you have many other things that need to be taken care of.
- Sibling rivalry can be very dangerous if it continues till the later stages of life. Siblings can be either the most supportive or the most opposing depending on the kind of bonding they have had over the years. We, as parents, at times give rise to sibling rivalry by comparing our children with each other. So the key to not develop sibling rivalry is to stop comparing. Tell them whatever you want to, without giving each other’s examples. This can be more productive and progressive way of dealing with sibling rivalry.
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