Fair   69.0F  |  Forecast »

How to Stop Sibling Rivalry with Your Kids

Got fights brewing between sons and daughters? Discover 10 quick and direct tips for how parents can diffuse the battles, whether physical or verbal.

When nastiness unfurls between brothers and sisters, everyone winds up hurt and stressed. But parents can curb sibling rivalry by understanding its causes – and addressing the issues it raises.

Squabbles are normal among kids in the same family. Every child craves the individual attention of each parent – and wants to be the "most loved" by mom and dad. Kids lack the mental maturity to understand a parent's love expands with the birth of each additional child, so each child is loved equally.

Many fights that seem to be about particular issues are really about trying to win that exclusive love. It's common for a child to occasionally wish his siblings simply didn't exist.

You'll never eliminate sibling rivalry, but you can reduce its frequency and intensity. Follow these tips to increase peaceful coexistence in your family.

1. Accept negative feelings

Anger, envy and even temporary hatred are normal, real feelings experienced between siblings. Respond to these outbursts by first acknowledging you can understand how he could feel that way – and that you accept it. You can suggest solutions after your child has calmed down.

2. Alone time with you

Spend some time completely alone with each child on a regular basis. Plan an activity for the just two of you, or just sit and snuggle. Whatever you do together, give that child your undivided attention – and really listen to her.

3. Individual recognition

Be ready with praise for individual achievements. All family members should behave this way. Every child does something well, so celebrate even small accomplishments.

4. Family sharing

Have a designated time each day or week during which each child shares his successes and receives praise from other family members. Dinner is traditional, but if individual schedules prevent this, set aside a regular meeting time when everyone's free, at least weekly. Teach your kids to praise each other.

5. Special spaces

Many sibling disputes are "territorial," as one child disturbs another's belongings or enters his space. Every child, like every adult, needs a space exclusively his, no matter how small. Everyone should respect the room, corner or desk set aside for each family member.

6. Stop teasing

Even well intentioned teasing can quickly turn into emotional abuse that deeply hurts kids. Some tease "affectionately," but there are more direct and positive ways to show you care.

7. Forbid all physical aggression

Pushing, hitting, biting and other attacks are abuse and can escalate into actual injury. These behaviors have no place in a healthy family. Always employ non-physical solutions to disagreements.

8. Be a good role model

Treat each family member with respect. Settle disputes with fairness. Your own behavior is the best teacher of all.

9. Help kids design solutions

Show your children how to calmly settle differences on their own, keeping their focus on problem behaviors instead of personalities. Help them learn the skills of active listening and mutual compromise.

10. Both on board

Discuss and agree on a consistent approach to sibling disputes. All strategies work better when both parents react the same way.

Oct 6, 2013 06:55 am
 Posted by  kkmom

We have two sons, whom are both adopted. They are six years apart. The oldest is a special needs child, with behavioral issues I want to diffuse the jealousy between them and stop the constant fighting. How can I do that?

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

From picking out ingredients to concocting their own culinary creations, here are a few ways to encourage your children to help out in the kitchen.

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Head to the park or on a hike and make the great outdoors your dinner spot. Here are six ideas to help you plan your meal – from drink to dessert.

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Want a few simple, fun sewing ideas for the kids, projects to brighten up their rooms or maybe just tips for DIY tinkering? These authors have you covered.

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

A father from Virginia claims a patch of desert in Egypt, calls it the Kingdom of North Sudan – just so his daughter can be the princess of this region.

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Parents might want to think twice before using this alternative to lotion sunscreen as the Food and Drug Administration investigates its potential risks.

DIY Accessories: Puppets, Sandals, Ninja Turtles and Hoodie

DIY Accessories: Puppets, Sandals, Ninja Turtles and Hoodie

If you're looking for a fun decorative summer vacation family project or two, these four blog picks will get you and your kids off to a great start.

The Importance of Raising Risk-Taking Children

The Importance of Raising Risk-Taking Children

Parents want to protect their kids from failing or getting hurt, but that's impossible. In fact, it's critical to let them take risks. Here's why – and how to raise a risk taker.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement