Sibling rivalry tests the conflict resolution skills of parents. It is normal to see tensions and disagreements between siblings. However, there is no deep-rooted enmity at the base, but a growing affirmation of individuality. With tactful handling of sibling rivalry, you can establish lasting peace between them.
It may turn out to be a harrowing time for you to see your young kids fighting with each other. Your intervention fails to bring more than momentary peace unless you understand it in the larger context. Sibling rivalry flourishes on individual temperaments, evolving needs, family setting, and emotional issues. You must pay attention to the psychological and individual state of kids and address the issue accordingly.
Here are a few tips to help you handle sibling rivalry and bring down the curtain on it for good.
Set Rules for Acceptable Behavior
The best way to handle sibling rivalry is to set ground rules defining acceptable behavior. Ensure your kids are not allowed to tease each other. There should be no fighting, yelling, or door slamming. Each must respect other’s feelings while approaching parents for conflict resolution every time than taking the matter into their own hands. Make your kids accountable for any ill-tempered behavior and foul language targeting the other. Never allow them to justify what is right or wrong. Encourage them to learn the norms of cooperation and co-existence.
Lack of Attention Fuels Sibling Rivalry
Often one kid feels the lack of parental attention toward him due to the presence of the other, and this often results in sibling rivalry. He fights to attract the attention of parents. You can douse such emotional outbursts with equal and fair attention to both kids.
Spend time together as well as individually with all kids. Let them feel your love and care at every stage. Be patient and proactive to address individual complaints and treat all equally unless a kid has special conditions. Try to accommodate interests of all with the larger family frame.
Family Values Aid in Handling Sibling Rivalry
Inculcation of love and affection, sharing values, and caring for each other make one child ready to accommodate the other. This helps create a close bond and a natural bulwark against sibling rivalry. Let them imbibe and observe family values and replace competition with cooperation. Moreover, teach them to forgo individual assertion for family unity and help each other. A strong relationship within the family forbids emotional issues to flare and dominate members. Above all, it motivates them to shun selfish aspirations.
Avoid Comparing Your Kids
Parents often try to compare one kid with another, and this leaves a lasting negative impression on the latter’s mind. Treat each child unique based on his physical and psychological abilities. God has created every individual with something special, and we must respect his creation. Comparison of strengths and talents allows kids to develop resentment and harbor antagonism against one another. This often peaks up and manifests in sibling rivalry.
Conflict Resolution Without Interference
When kids fight, let them resolve it on their own. Your interference only adds to sibling rivalry, with either mistaking you for taking sides. Encourage them to understand each other’s point of view and emotions. Admire when they are able to settle an issue with discussion and dialogue. Disapprove strongly of any one-upmanship-like behavior.
Never Allow Sibling Rivalry To Breed Anger
Don’t allow the rivalry between your kids to reach a boiling point. Make sure you enforce a resolution acceptable to both before emotions turn into deep-entrenched anger and hostility. Tell them in explicit terms about what is acceptable and what is not. Be clear in your disapproval of any kind of physical harm or abuses. You may don the role of an enforcer than a mediator when any outbursts hint at angry reflections.
Discipline in Private
Don’t scold one child in front of another over sibling rivalry issues. This may hurt their self-esteem and fire up emotions, instead of dousing them. Such action will only complicate the sibling rivalry and escalate negativity. Discipline each kid in private, explaining why you disapprove of his action.
Have Enough Space for Each Kid
Sibling rivalry has its basis in individual temperaments. As kids grow, they need distinct space and time reflecting their own recognition. When one infringes on the space of the other, clashes are more likely.
Ensure that each kid’s individualism is well respected and protected. If you have two kids, make adequate arrangements to respect their individual needs and aspirations. Have beds, study table, toys, supplies, clothes, and other essentials for each child. Furthermore, organize your home in a manner that each kid has complete ownership over his belongings. Make sure each respects other’s possessions and does not use them without permission.
Allow each child to pursue what he likes. Never sacrifice one’s comfort for another.
Be A Family To Beat Sibling Rivalry
Present your family as one unit, both physically and psychologically. Spend more time together whenever possible. Make family dinners a compulsory affair. Holiday vacations help strengthen family bonding.
Never allow individualism to dominate family ethos. Encourage kids to take each other’s responsibility to promote family bonding. When the family bonds grow stronger, emotions remain submissive and sibling rivalry gives in to sharing and caring.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com
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