Parents are the first teachers of their children. Whatever the children learn, they learn from their parents, they grasp details and words they hear from their parents. In this learning phase it is very important to teach the children good values, morals and ethics. Sibling rivalry is something very common in every family with more than one child, and it is really unpredictable how this happens because one minute you’re seeing your children together being playful and enjoying themselves and the next moment they could be fighting and crying.
Siblings develop hostile feelings for each other for a lot of reasons like boredom, jealousy, habit, to temperament differences, but the biggest of which is competition, competition for attention or for being better than the other. Children at a young age are hungry for attention and they feel even negative attention is better than not getting any attention from their parents for which reason they try to do things to get attention of their parents.
The first step to stop this problem at its root would be to not compare the two children. Comparison between the two gives them a feeling of competition which tends to make them hostile towards each other. Comparing one child to another creates a negative vibe between the children which causes them to fight. From the very start a parent should try to inculcate positive and friendly thoughts in the older child for the younger sibling. Instead of fighting each other a parent should teach them to be on each other’s side and help each other and not be against one another.
Sibling rivalry can create a lot of problems in a household and the fights between two siblings also create a hostile environment in the house. A fight between siblings affects everyone in the family and not just the two people that are fighting. Positivity is important for a peaceful house, otherwise with the continuous fights between the siblings and the whining, the tantrums and all the rest of the fights the atmosphere of the house can become bad which might not be ideal for growing children to experience. Here are simple steps you can follow to prevent your children from fighting and live harmoniously
Never compare your children – Whatever happens do not compare yours children because it does not make them grow and work harder; in fact it creates resentment among the children. Either the siblings tend to fight more when compared or they develop feelings of hatred for their sibling they are compared to. It makes the child lack self-worth and the child loses self-confidence to do things the child has a knack for.
Don’t be a judge – During conflicts try not to be the judge of the situation. Being a judge implies deciding who’s wrong and who’s right. When a parent decides that in a conflict it means that one sibling has won the argument and the other has lost. Try not to deal with this situation by being the judge of it. When you decide for them that who’s right and who’s not one is happy by being proven right and the other remains angry. This creates issues which are not resolved but only creates troubles between siblings. So avoid taking sides in a fight between two siblings.
Be a mediator rather than a judge – Try to mediate, if they are fighting try to make them talk and resolve the issue that started the fight in the first place. You need your children to be on the same team rather than on opposing teams. Try to make them see reason and make them talk about the cause of the fight and solve it rather than have a winner and a loser out of this fight.
Teach them the importance of loving their family members – They need to be taught to love their family and that they do not hurt the ones whom they love. They need to learn that their siblings are family, and we always have to look out for our family not fight with them.
Embrace each child as a unique individual – Every individual has their own sets of talents, strong points and weaknesses. Being in the same family an individual can have a diverse set of interests. Don’t let one child’s talents in a field force you to make the other child better in that field too, for instance if one child plays a certain instrument and has an interest for it, it is not necessary that the other child might have the same interests. Let your children explore their interests and develop their knack for their interests.
Let them work out their own differences – Unless the fight is going on a level which is unacceptable or is getting vicious do not interfere in their fights. Let them fight it out and solve the issue on their own. A parent should try to stay calm and let them work through their differences; give them the space to work out their own problems. If the fight is only escalating then you should try to break it up and make them address the issue when they are calm and not angry and hot headed.
There is no perfect solution to the problems that occur during parenting and the challenges that parents face but the best thing a parent can do is learn and bring up their children in the best way possible. Every parent ultimately wants what is best for their children. While growing up, a lot of the factors that help shape up a child and their personality and behavior are what they learn during their childhood. A great deal of how a person is depends on their upbringing. So if you want to prevent sibling rivalry as a parent you should teach your children to be there for each other and not be against one another.