Sibling Rivalry: ‘What To Do?’ and ‘What Not To Do?’

sibling rivalry

Sibling Rivalry: ‘What To Do?’ and ‘What Not To Do?’

Sibling rivalry is often a battle between two kids of a similar nature. Whether blood-based or not, sibling rivalry can develop into a nasty game of sibling chess where each sibling plots the downfall of the other. It is important to remember that our families are perhaps the most important part of our lives. Without our families, we would not have true freedom, security, and respect.

Often, fighting siblings can stem from arguments over who has “more,” or “better.” Sibling rivalry also often stems from envy or feelings of inadequacy over someone one another is attracted to. Our kids’ feelings about their siblings usually originate in their early years. This is when they learn who is their favorite, how much they mean to the other person, and so on. When the kids see that one sibling wants more or better, they may try to get their sibling a little attention or reassurance to compete with them.

One way to help lessen the conflicts in your family is for parents to be honest about how they feel about certain issues. Having parents that express honestly their feelings can help the children understand how they should feel and how they should react when they disagree with their parents. In fact, sometimes it’s better if parents don’t speak up about any problems but instead allow the problem to simmer and build until it reaches a point where it can be discussed face to face with the child and his/her siblings.


What causes sibling rivalry?

Being a life coach and mother to two daughters, I have observed the root cause of sibling rivalry. It isn’t something that roots later in the lives of siblings, but it is something that is there from the beginning. As soon as a new baby is born, the older sibling believes that he or she is their rival. Being too young, they do not feel love or affection, but angst against them because younger ones get more attention. He thinks to himself that all his parents’ love was for him and now the attention gets divided.

sibling rivalry


As the older sibling grows, he starts feeling that he is the one getting scolded and lectured. Often parents ask the older sibling to behave and be nice because he is the mature one. The child starts believing no one loves him now and only the younger sibling is being loved. 


It is the responsibility of the parents from the very start to ensure that older siblings do not feel unloved. In most cases, the older siblings are more rebellious as compared to the young ones. They feel the new baby has come as a rival and everything that was his is now getting divided. Parents need to maintain a balance of love and anger between the two. When my daughters were young, I would take care of this. If I would scold one of the siblings, I would also scold the other one. Similarly, when I used to appreciate one sibling, I appreciated the other one as well. 


Parents also need to remember that a healthy sibling relationship is something that needs to be nurtured and protected at all costs. There are many instances when sibling rivalry can lead to all kinds of trouble. For example, kids can start to fight over toys or games, siblings can tease each other, and parents can get into arguments or fights with their kids about these kinds of things. So, if you think that you are having some of these problems in your own home, do what you can to remedy them so that you can all live together in harmony.


Many times parents will benefit from having family meetings and talking to their kids about the different rules and policies that they have in the home. They can learn how to communicate with one another better and what boundaries they should set for the children. In addition, if you are having some serious sibling rivalry issues then it might be helpful to talk to a professional about dealing with some of these issues. There is no need to allow sibling rivalry to destroy your relationships and family life; there is help available!


How To Stop Sibling Rivalry?

As an adult, I know that fighting siblings is never good, and it always ends badly, but I also understand that some children get different parenting styles. Sometimes they don’t communicate with their brothers and sisters, and they don’t get along with them. So what can you do about this?


Well, you had a problem that you really couldn’t fix, but you are willing to talk about it now. That’s why in this article, I’m going to talk about the “trick” to use to talk to your kids about this and show them that it’s not such a big deal. It doesn’t have to be hard, it’s not hard at all! It just takes patience and understanding on both sides, which I know that both of you have!


The trick to how to stop sibling rivalry? It’s called communication. It is one of the hardest things for you to do, but it’s the only thing that can help. If you’re dealing with sibling fights, communication is the key. Talk to your siblings about everything that’s bothering them and what they want. Explain why you feel that way and listen to what they say.


There are many other ways that you can try to prevent sibling rivalry. Here are few tips: 


  • Create a cooperative environment 

As a parent, it is difficult to know how to create a cooperative environment to stop sibling rivalry. After all, we all want the best for our children and compete with them only when necessary. However, there are certain things parents can do to help lessen sibling competition. One of these is taking the time to properly praise the achievements of their child even if they happen to be the siblings who misbehave.


Children always try to please their parents especially when they feel they are not being treated fairly. To encourage this, parents should spend some quality time praising one child over the other.


Another way to create a non-competitive environment to stop sibling rivalry is to make sure all of your children understand why it is important to be positive with each other. Kids tend to do what they want when they are positive about an aspect of a task or situation. When children are told that they are being negative, they usually try to change the situation to become positive. It is why it is crucial to talk to your kids about this often and teach them to think positively. By teaching them to think positively, your children will also be able to act positively.


  • Plan fun family time

It’s not a good idea to talk badly about your brother or sister when you are trying to have some family bonding. We all know how difficult it can be to say “I am so sorry,” but it needs to come from a sincere heart. If you find yourself talking bad about your siblings in front of them, it may get them thinking about how much you hate them, and it will only lead to more fighting and resentment.


Plan a family reunion with your friends or invite your friends to visit your family regularly so that you can spend more quality family time together. It is a great way to stop sibling rivalry as everyone loves to be around their family especially at holiday time. Plan a variety of activities to keep everyone busy and entertained. If your children are old enough, then you may want to teach them to hand a bag of food out during dinner, or if they are younger, you may want to teach them to hide food so that they don’t touch it with their hands, which could lead to some very nasty fights.


You can also plan a day out to the local park or beach for the entire family. Everyone enjoys water sports, and if your children are old enough, you can take them surfing or water skiing. If they are too young then maybe you can teach them how to surf or waterski before your family barbecue. This is an easy way to get your family all together and enjoy a day of fun in the sun. Make sure you spend plenty of time together having fun. You may find that you spend so much time together that it becomes a new family and becomes very bonded.


  • Stay calm, quiet, and in control 

As a parent, it can be hard to keep calm when your children are fighting, arguing, or simply bickering with each other. When you feel the frustration of not being able to resolve the problem quickly and effectively, it can be tempting to try to get between them. It can result in your children pulling away and not wanting to talk to you anymore. The thing is, they don’t want to be talking to you, they want to be themselves, and when you pull the rug out from under them to speak, it usually ends up making the situation worse. So what can you do if you want to stop sibling rivalry from ruining your relationships?


First, when children are very frustrated they tend to lash out, and this usually escalates into arguing bickering and fighting. Your job as a parent is to prevent this from happening by being calm and providing mediation and compromise where needed. Children are not necessarily willing to listen to reason when they are upset, and they need some time to cool down and think things out logically. Try to remember that they were not taught to express their anger logically, so you may have to use some discretion when trying to get your children to see things differently. Remember, being calm and controlled is crucial to keep them from acting on their resentment by becoming argumentative.


Secondly, remember that expressing anger is not always healthy for the children involved. It is best to let it cool down and work through the problem accordingly rather than getting more aggressive. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to solve the problem quickly, even if it means not giving in to your child’s demands. If you allow yourself to become impatient, you will only make things worse. Just remain calm and polite, and eventually, everything will be back to normal.


  • Celebrate individuality

You need to start learning how to understand your own self first. Identify who you are, what you like, what motivates you, your strong points, and your weak points. Once you understand these, you can then better communicate with those around you, so you don’t hurt or offend them. Once you understand yourself, you will realize that all those negative comments and comparisons you hear are coming from your siblings’ subconscious minds, not your conscious mind.


You have the power to stop these petty arguments and get back to the business of living life. Learn to believe in yourself and your family, and don’t be afraid to express it. You will be surprised by how much you enjoy communicating with your brother on his positive traits and abilities. Instead of seeing him as a burdensome nuisance try to see him as someone who is an asset to the family. Then celebrating individuality together will stop sibling rivalry.


  • Listen

Children are naturally territorial and will fight amongst themselves to prove who is best. You might notice that you do not like your siblings, although they may seem to have a great time playing together, and it is not something you talk about. It is natural for siblings to fight, but there are steps you can take to ensure it does not get out of hand and cause problems between your children.


When fighting with siblings it is all about control. If you try to talk to your child about this constantly, they will feel like they have won and will try to take over. What you should do is take a step back, and let them voice their opinions, but not necessarily about the subjects which they are fighting about, such as which toy is most suitable for them. You should also give them the freedom to express their own views, so they do not feel that they are being bullied by their siblings. You should not let them fight over anything, and any dispute between them should be settled one way or another.


If a child does not listen when they are trying to say something, then they will not be able to concentrate. Children need to listen to both sides of an argument before they decide on what they believe in or what they do not. Sometimes a children will not listen because they are stubborn, but this is not good as this can cause arguments within the home. You need to look for signs in your child that they are listening to their sibling rather than ignoring them. If they become more focused on what is being said, even if they disagree with the topic, then they are probably listening.


  • Give children problem-solving tools

Another way to deal with sibling rivalry is to give children problem-solving tools to solve the problems. Problem-solving is a useful skill for kids to learn because it allows them to take action and get what they want from a situation. It does not matter if the tool kit is physical or mental; it can be creative and valuable and teach kids how to collaborate, negotiate and solve problems. Each tool should have a purpose for specific situations.


The biggest challenge when giving children problem-solving tools is to balance that with appropriate praise and reinforcement. If all the tools are valued and acceptable, kids will feel good about themselves and will strive to use them in different situations. Problem-solving and sharing work best when kids feel like they are being heard, not ignored. Using praise and rewards together can help children internalize those values.


Problem-solving can be taught through play, modeling, games, and puzzles that are age-appropriate. Some fun ideas include having siblings problem-sit together to figure out how to solve a problem, writing the problem out on paper or a card, and having siblings brainstorm solutions by collaborating on it or drawing a solution together. In general, kids will learn how to cooperate and communicate while trying to solve a problem together. These tools help promote social skills and develop self-esteem in children.


  • Have a family meeting

A family meeting should be the main topic of discussion when children of different ages fight. It usually happens because there is not enough communication between the brothers or sisters. Children tend to perceive things from an adult perspective, and this causes sibling rivalry. Children can be taught how to resolve sibling rivalry by having a family meeting. Having this type of meeting does not necessarily mean having a sit-down family discussion, but it can also mean setting aside time to talk about any problems that exist in the family.


There are many things that parents can do to help with stopping sibling rivalry. One of the best ways to have a family meeting to stop sibling rivalry is to set aside time for everyone to communicate without any arguments or questions being asked. It is also a good idea to make sure that there is no video watching during the entire family meeting, but it can be done with discretion. Children can be taught that they should treat each other respectfully even if they are brothers and sisters.


Discussing how everything in the family works and what is expected of each member can be very helpful. The child can learn that their siblings do not always know what is going on in their families especially if they are not around as much. The child may be able to offer some insight into how their family works and what is expected of them. Sometimes just talking about certain situations can help to settle any issues that parents have with each other. Children will be able to act as a mediator between the siblings if they are allowed to do so.

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