Sibling rivalry is
common amongst children. However, parents can parents can play an important
role in controlling the same. It is very necessary for parents to make children
understand that the problems can be resolved without fighting. Read more to
know about how sibling rivalry can be handled.
Sibling rivalry is as old as the Biblical times of Cain and
Abel. It is a condition that can be defined as a variant of competition that
borders on animosity between brothers and sisters, regardless of whether they
are blood related or not. This is a parenting issue and is a normal phenomenon.
Siblings spend more time with each other that they do with
their parents and this gives them the opportunity to fight and contest.
Researcher Lorraine Friedman considers sibling
rivalry as an epidemic. In one of her studies,
she has accounted that 53 out of every 100 children end up abusing their
brother or sister. An overwhelming 36 million acts involving sibling aggression
happen each year.
While raising children, sibling rivalry can be very
stressful and frustrating for parents. It all begins with the motive to get
parental attention. Studies have reported that in the age group of 10-15 or the
adolescent period, the intensity of sibling rivalry is the most.Here are a few things that parents should do to reduce
- Treat children as
individuals – Every child has a unique trait and individuality. Once the parents
recognise their individual accomplishments and related achievements, they
will feel special and not left out or ignored.
- Praise them when they get
along well – Parents need to be specific when they praise their children,
watch out when they do things together and immediately appreciate their effort.
This acts as a great motivation for good behavior and is more effective
that instructing or preaching.
- Spend time alone with each
child – Every child craves for individual attention and parents should
fulfill this desire, and follow a routine ‘special time-alone’ with each
kid. It can be some simple acts like reading
a book together or going out for a walk. It reduces rivalry tendencies and
strengthens the bond between parents and children.
- Be conscious on how you
solve problems – Remember, your kids are constantly looking up at you to
obtain a cue of the desirable behavior. Watch out on how you are getting
along with other adults in the family and your spouse. If they find you
engaging in conflicts, they will readily imbibe that trait.
- Love your kids – Shower
love and affection on your kids through words and actions. When they feel
wanted, they will not feel like fighting for attention.
- Encourage your kids to
spend some time alone – Engage each of your children to indulge and
participate in activities that they must do on individual efforts. This
will reduce the chances of constant competition and thus minimize
conditions for rivalry.
Now, these are the facts that the parents must never do.
- Do not compare – Avoid
comparisons, even if they are positive. The moment you put one child as an
example to another you are intensifying the rivalry.
- Never take sides – During
sibling fights always be a neutral bystander. They will involve you in
arguments in order to gain control, but you must not step in unless the
fight gets physical where you need to stop. Call an end to hostilities and
refuse to entertain arguments or explanation from either side.
How managing fights help in wholesome development.
- Do not overreact – If you
overreact on a sibling dispute, they will understand that this is a great
way to hold on your attentions and repeat their hostilities upon the
- Helps child to develop
conflict management skills which in turn helps the child when he or she
grows up as an individual.
- Helps to raise child as a
human being with an understanding nature.
- Develops relationship
management skills in child as he or she grows up.
Dealing with sibling rivalry becomes easier when you
make the kids understand that there are alternatives to fighting. Discuss when
there is disagreement, and resolve conflicts through negotiations and
compromise on either side.
- Teaches the child to
compromise on the petty issues without indulging in fights and helps to
build strong bond with siblings. This quality is very essential raise a
child as better individual.