How to deal with sibling rivalry

Dealing with sibling rivalry can drive any parent up the wall. But what can you do if your children live to wind each other up? Bickering and fighting is inevitable among siblings and dealing with it appropriately is crucial in keeping the peace, and your sanity, at home.

When your children are fighting, your first instinct may be to intervene and give a stern verdict as to who is right and who is wrong. However, this may not be the best approach. By interjecting in their arguments, your kids will then evaluate your judgment, coming to conclusions on how fairly you treat each of them, and assuming answers to tricky questions such as “who do you love more?” and “who is your favorite?”. The answers of which obviously lean in favour of the child whom the parent announces is right.

To avoid this sort of situation, intervene only to help your children sort out their differences between one another and not to hand out the final verdict of the fight. This can help them figure out how to solve their problems with people in situations outside your home as well.

One prominent reason for conflict in a household is when siblings fight for their parents love and attention. Often a child may play victim in front of his parent in order to get their attention and affection. A good way to limit this type of behavior is to spend enough quality time with your child and reassure them of your love on a one-on-one basis. When your kid is certain of your devotion, his siblings stop being a risk to the attention he receives from you.

One way to spend time with your child is to participate in hobbies she likes to do, where the both of you can connect on a personal level. Be physically and verbally affectionate with your children in the form of hugs and praise and encourage them when they feel down or face disappointment. These steps all help bring up a child’s confidence and make them secure enough not to have to fight with their siblings for your attention.

And lastly, don’t feel disheartened by your children’s inability to get along at times. Studies show that those siblings who argue often and are also warm to one another are likely to have close adult relationships. So concentrate on keeping and growing the warmth between your kids and know that some bickering, poking and irritating now and then is a regular part of sibling life.

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