Tips to Manage Sibling Rivalry
If you have more than one child, sibling rivalry is almost inevitable. Jealousy, competition, and fighting between brothers and sisters are a common sight for parents. Younger children who are not able to express their frustrations verbally often express themselves by misbehaving—hitting, pushing, and yelling at their siblings. While it may be impossible to stop sibling rivalry entirely, you may reduce its frequency. Read on to find out how!
Make Time for Attention
More often than not, children fight because they want to gain the attention of their parents. To satisfy their need for attention, it would help to arrange ‘alone time’ for each child. Plan on giving each child 10-15 minutes of focused attention. Be fully present for your time with them. If your children feel that you love and value them equally, they will not feel the need to compete for your attention.
Cooperate, not Compete
When it comes to kids, parents tend to compare their children, favour one over the other, or encourage competition between them. In doing so, we create comparisons between siblings, and children will feel the need to compete with each other for their parents’ approval. To avoid sibling rivalry, parents should avoid comparing their children—don’t play favourites. Instead, create opportunities for cooperation and compromise. Cheer on positive attributes, such as teamwork, persistence, and kindness!
Praise Good Behaviour
Siblings will not be fighting all the time. When you notice your children behaving well, acknowledge the good behaviour and tell them clearly and specifically what they are doing well. For example, if you notice your children playing together cooperatively, you may say ‘You’re all sharing and playing really nicely together!’ or ‘Good job on taking turns!’. With such positive feedback, you are much more likely to see that behaviour again.
Be a Role Model
Children are keen observers of how parents interact with one another. If your children see you and your partner have loud arguments, they are more likely to do the same. If you’d like your children to handle disagreements calmly and respectfully, they have to see that you are doing this. Just remember that your children will imitate your behaviours, so make sure they learn proper behaviours from you!
When fighting starts, try not to intervene unless there is a danger of physical harm. Instead, encourage them to work things out and resolve the crisis themselves. This can help your children get along better and deal positively with conflicts of the future!
Remember, sibling rivalry is inevitable but manageable. With time, effort, patience and these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to keep sibling rivalry and fighting to a minimum!
For parents living in the Tampines, Nurture Infant House has had 20 years of experience in caring for your beloved children.
Click here to learn more about our infant care centre!