Sibling rivalry

Contributed by : Dr Ajab Primuswala   
Sibling rivalry

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.

Bee Suggestions

Teaching child to be a good listener

Children model their parents the most. Develop the listening skill yourself and then help the child to achieve the same.

Promoting child’s self esteem

Self esteem or self confidence plays a huge role in an individual's life. Encouraging a child's confidence at the right time can do wonders.

Teaching child not to back answer

Back answering is not just a misbehaviour of your child. There might be underlying reasons for that.

Dealing with a disobedient child

Before assuming that your child is a disobedient child, assess what according to you is disobedience.

Dealing with child's habit of stealing things

Children do not understand the concept of "stealing" so instead of dealing with this situation using your anger, it is better to sit with your child and make him/her understand why they should not be doing this.

Waking child up peacefully for school

Waking up early is always a task but rather than making it a happy start we tend to begin with tantrums.

Why is my baby so cranky/fussy?

It's normal for kids to get cranky but as a parent do not lose the cool.

Dealing with Toddler Tantrums

A child is bound to throw a tantrum because who else if not the child. This does not mean the tantrums can not be tamed.

Nail biting habit in children

Nail biting is common not only in children but also in adults. It is important to understand the underlying reasons behind this habit.

Dealing with Thumb sucking habit

A regular habit or not, thumb sucking can cause problems in a child's speech.

Child does not share toys

Most kids are possessive by nature. Observe carefully where there possession ends.

Managing sibling insecurity

Every child needs full attention of a parent. So, pause and reflect on your parenting to make sure none of your children feel left out.

Dealing with a constantly shouting child

Shouting only makes matters worse, be it you or your child.

Child does not tolerate others

Intolerance is not the same as possessiveness. It might have underlying reasons.

Keeping a child in discipline

Discipline teaches your child how to behave and how not to behave in social and routine situations. It also lays the foundation for the kind of adult the child is going to be.

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