Parenting Done Right: Five Ways On Managing and Avoiding Sibling Rivalry
Ideally, we yearn for a perfect relationship with our children — full of love, openness, and empathy. And yes, it’s absolutely possible to build this positive kind of relationship in the family. But when you have more than one child, sibling rivalry is inevitable. We can even read it in stories, such as Cinderella’s abusive sibling relationship she had with her stepsisters. In fact, sibling rivalry is ubiquitous in almost every big family because children desire for their parents’ attention which might be why your children appear competitive with each other — whether it’s about who is better at doing their chores or who is receiving higher grades in school. But this should never be left unmanaged nor ignored. Aside from all the chaos that could ensue, with all the bickering and shouting, sibling fights make the house a toxic place for everyone. There is a possibility that it can get out of hand, leading to broken, irreparable familial relationships. In order to promote a healthy home environment and properly manage sibling rivalry, here some tips that we have gathered:
NEVER Compare One Child From Another
Perhaps, at one point, you’ve accidentally commented out loud how one of your children has done a better job than the other. Maybe, after your children have presented you their school grades, you’ve reprimanded one of your children while rewarding and praising the other. By doing so, you are encouraging both of them to compete for your love while making your other child feel abandoned, estranged, and unloved. Try to keep things fair on how you treat your kids whether it’s about simple things like kitchen chores or big achievements.
Encourage Your Children to Help Each Other Out
Because an older sibling often feels much more superior than the younger one, sibling fights crop up from time to time. Though it’s typically a natural response, your eldest child may feel jealous when they have a baby sibling around because your attention is focused on the baby instead. Instead of unconsciously stoking the fire and giving more reasons for your older child to be more jealous, encourage them to help out. Letting them hold or feed the baby will make them feel more involved. Aside from that, you can even ask your children to help each other out when doing homework or household chores which will not only strengthen sibling relationship but also teach them to be more helpful to other people in general.
Let Your Children Know That Violence Will Not Be Tolerated
There are times when your children will scratch and pull each others’ hairs. In some cases, it may even lead to horrible accidents and injuries. In order to avoid this, simply tell your children that you will not tolerate violence in the household. In case a fight breaks out, be the mediator and teach them how to resolve whatever issue they have in a calm manner. Remember to never take sides as this can only worsen the grudge between them. And the next time they solve matters peacefully, express your affirmation with how they dealt with the situation.
Set Aside A Space For Each of Your Children
One of the many things that cause sibling fights is the lack of space, especially the older ones. Sometimes, younger siblings tend to snoop around and rummage through their older siblings’ things out of curiosity, sometimes for revenge. Whatever the case, provide a safe space for each of your children — their own rooms (that is, if they share bedrooms with each other), or even their own drawers for their personal things to keep these apart from shared items in the house.
Never Punish One Child In Front of the Other
If one of your children has done something wrong and you want to punish them by taking away their Internet and phone privileges or grounding them for a week, never do so in front of your other kids because this will humiliate your child and subject them to teasing, leading to more fights. When you want to discipline your child, do so in a private part of the house and refrain from shouting at them.
Sibling rivalry can be messy, but there are certain ways to manage it and promote better sibling relationship. As parents, we should be responsible enough to make sure that our kids grow up together in a loving home environment.
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