Bring up sibling rivalry and a mental picture likely comes to mind. Whether you have children who argue, or whether you were a child who was in constant competition with your sibling; one thing we know for sure:
Sibling rivalry isn’t fun!
There are lots of reasons siblings come into conflict with one another, and one of those reasons is their desire to find their place in the family structure. Children are the centre of their universe, introduce another child who is also the centre of their universe and this can sometimes give way to a power struggle.
We’ve put together our top 5 suggestions for how you can win the war on sibling rivalry and restore peace in your home.
How often have you heard parents use descriptors like; “she’s my wild child”; or “he’s the popular one”?
When we use labels like this; even lightheartedly; we not only stereotype our children, but we create competition between them.
When we lose the labels, we allow them to become anything they want. Our less-than-artistic child is able to creatively shine; while our shy child is able to grow in confidence.
Focus instead on positive character traits such as kindness, patience and teamwork, and encourage siblings to join in rooting for one another.
Set time aside for each Child
Children who feel secure in their parent’s love are much less likely to compete with one another. While as parents we go out of our way to make our children feel loved; sometimes that love needs to be given in the love language the child speaks.
An easy way of speaking your child’s love language is to set aside time specifically just for them.
How you choose to focus that time is specific to each child and what they respond best to; it could be reading a book together, a colouring activity, going for a walk, singing songs or just snuggling up in a favourite chair to talk.
Whichever you find works best for your child, when children each receive individual one-on-one time with you, they will be less likely to compete for your attention.
Teach Conflict Resolution
When you are the centre of your universe; it can be hard learning the fine art of compromise! Introducing ways of managing emotions and conflict resolution skills is a great way to help your children navigate potential conflict.
Counting to ten, deep breathing and taking turns using “I am” statements are all great ways for them to diffuse mounting tension.
A great way to combat rivalry is to promote team work. Create opportunities where siblings must work together and rely on one another for a desired outcome.
This could be tidying toys away together; or a fun activity that promotes teamwork; both are required to participate for both to share in the reward.
Practice Empathetic Listening
There are no bigger advocates for right and wrong than children. While a squabble seems silly or insignificant; in the mind of your child it can seem like a grievous wrong.
In the popular book How to Talk So Kids will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk; the authors suggest empathetic
When your child complains about something, instead of trying to fix the situation, or dismiss it; try instead answering from a place of empathy:
“I see why you’re upset, you’re probably feeling ____”
“Wouldn’t it be great if there was an unlimited amount of crayons? Can you imagine if we owned all the crayons in the world? We wouldn’t fit through the front door!”
This allows your child to feel heard and taken seriously. Sometimes all children want is to feel seen and heard.
How do you combat Sibling Rivalry? Head on over to our Facebook Page and tell us your suggestions!