Parent’s Guide to Dealing with Sibling Rivalry
We know the story of Cain and Abel; the story of Kate and Ashley and Bert and Ernie, wait they’re not siblings it is another story. Well, you get the picture. Time and time again sibling rivalry has been a classic headache for parents for centuries.
Sibling rivalry is a natural thing to happen in the family. It can either hurt or help the family dynamics. But sometimes sibling rivalry can become too complicated that it can cause strained relationships, anxiety and stress to parents. As a parent it is your duty to keep the siblings from hurting each other. Here are some tips for parents who are at a loss on how to deal with the situation.
If you want resentment to go out of hand never ever say to your child to be like his/her sibling. A person that would hear anything along those lines would become open to more rebellious tendencies as he would feel insignificant and unimportant. He would think that you are favoring the other sibling over him. This is actually fueling the feud between the siblings. The downtrodden sibling would often push to be more recognized because you have pushed him to think that way. The child will just be more aware about the gap between him and his sibling which is supposed to be the more accomplished one.
Okay parents would claim that they love their children equally. Yeah, right. Of course you do. But for your child it may not appear that way. It is hard to believe your parent to be caring equally among the siblings. Recognize the fact that each child has a different personality and needs. You need to balance things with your children. Remember that parents to do not raise their children the same even if they are twins. There is no easy fix for this perplexity but instead focus on the needs and the idiosyncrasies of the child rather than giving equal treatment. Attention should be given and not an attempt to give equal treatment.
The last thing that a parent would do is to tag each child with a label. “She is our athlete!” “He is great in math!” Experts call this as labeling and it is something that parents should not be done in any manner. When a parent labels a child it is often at the expense of recognizing other abilities that are inconsistent with the labels. This will only lead to underdeveloped or undeveloped talents that may go unnoticed. It is hard to be held up to the other’s sibling’s standard. Learn to embrace your child’s individuality and uniqueness.
Teach your children how to resolve their conflicts. It is normal for siblings to compete because they are natural rivals. When they clash they need to resolve the difference on their own. Actually when siblings are not in conflict it is a red flag. This means that one sibling is giving way to the other which may not healthy mentally. It can cause undue anxiety and stress and may lead to depression or worse suicidal tendencies. Teach them how to resolve conflicts when they are at peace with each other. Teach them that there are multiple ways of resolving their conflicts. Never act as the judge and try to resolve their differences.
The best way to lessen sibling rivalry is to enhance relationships. A parent should find time to bond with all the children at least once a day. Teach them useful social skills like cooperation, teamwork and getting interested in each other’s unique abilities. Talk to the children individually and ask them how they have enjoyed the activity and ask if they look forward to play as a family again.
Never take sides
When there is a searing tension the last thing you should do is to be seen talking to one of the siblings. When the rivalry has become intense it is easy to get jealous and think that you are siding with the other and neglecting another. Unless the situation gets out of hand never take sides. Intervene only if the house becomes a conflict or war theater.
When the rivalry gets out of hand it is best to seek counsel. A professional would be able to tell how to handle the situation in a healthy way. Pick a therapist that has a specialty in helping families with their dynamics and relationships in order to remove much anxiety on your part as you continue to rear your children.