Sibling rivalry can be a nightmare for parents to deal with. When your kids are always squabbling, you feel more like a referee than a parent. What you need are some tips on how to deal with sibling rivalry and restore harmony to the household. So here are some useful ways to handle sibling rivalry …
1. Firm Boundaries
My first tip on how to deal with sibling rivalry is to make sure that your kids have very firm boundaries regarding their behaviour. Make it clear what is and is not acceptable. They must know that behaviour such as punching, hair-pulling, name-calling, stealing toys etc is completely wrong.
2. Time for Each
Kids can often feel, rightly or wrongly, that their sibling is the favoured one. So make sure that you spend time with each one independently. Take them for their favourite activities without their brother or sister present, so you can enjoy each other´s company and they feel that they have your full attention.
3. Praise Achievements
Sibling rivalry can be caused by jealousy. Does one child feel that the other one is prettier, cleverer, more popular or always gets more praise from you? Help them feel a sense of self-worth by praising their achievements and showing that you are proud of them.
4. Separate Them
Sometimes the best option, when your kids won´t stop fighting, is to put them in separate places for time out. If space permits, give them their own rooms – it´s not much fun to share a room when you don´t get on with a sibling!
5. Family Time
As well as spending time with each child individually, it´s also important to spend time together as a family. This can help create a sense of having a family unit. So even if it isn´t always fun, the family needs to do activities together, and hopefully in time it will become more harmonious.
6. Listen to Them
Tempting as it is, don´t just deal with your kids´ sibling rivalry by shouting at them to be quiet and stop fighting. Sit down and listen to them. Ask them what the problems is, give each one the chance to speak, and try to help them resolve the issues.
7. Let Them Work It out
Sometimes the only answer is to let your kids deal with it themselves, as long as there is no bullying or physical attack going on. It´s good practice for the adult world, when they will have to learn how to deal with conflict and find a solution.
8. It Will Pass
When you´re listening to yet another screaming match, it may seem like this stage will never end. But it will pass with time. Many siblings who hated each other when younger go on to be the best of friends as adults and form a very tight unit. So be patient – things could well improve dramatically.
Kids don´t necessarily get on simply because they are brothers and sisters, so sibling rivalry is common and quite understandable. It´s not much fun for their parents, but then the kids are often very upset by it as well. Have you employed any effective tactics with your kids, and if so, can you share your advice on how to deal with sibling rivalry?
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