Nip Sibling Rivalry in the Bud: 8 Strategies that Work
Sibling rivalry. It's unavoidable and it’s a common and natural healthy competition amongst siblings. However, the fighting and tension can become quite pronounced and cause heartaches and headaches for families. It doesn’t have to be this way.
If you are looking for some ways to help your kids bond and to reduce the bickering and fighting, consider the following tips:
1. Time for Each Child. Sibling rivalry is often just a struggle to get noticed. Spend separate time with each child. Do this regularly and share in their favorite activities. Show equal enthusiasm for piano recitals and soccer matches.
2. Recognize your children as individuals. Avoid comparing one sibling to another. It’s simply unfair. Treat each child as an individual and acknowledge their personal abilities and strengths.
3. Conflict resolution is where it’s at. Having a brother or sister is a valuable training ground for learning many life skills. These skills will pay off long after the kids have grown up and left home. Teach kids to compromise, treat each other with respect, and take turns.
4. Tame the tattling. It takes two to tango, as they say. Rarely is one child the only culprit when it comes to sibling squabbles. Let kids know that telling on each other is against the ground rules. The only exception is when someone's safety or well-being is in jeopardy. Otherwise, encourage kids to try to work things out on their own.
5. Know triggers. Milestones like bringing home a new baby or starting school can escalate tensions. Even every-day factors like getting too hungry or tired can make it more difficult for kids to stay on their best behavior.
6. Accentuate the positive. Give your kids opportunities to talk about what they like about each other. Encourage “togetherness” by playing games as a family, and building a family mission. Discuss the positive aspects of having brothers and sisters. Creating lots of cherished memories and shared experiences will help them to support each other during rough times.
7. Hold regular family meetings. Family meetings make it easier for everyone to work together as a team. When kids get a chance to provide input, they feel validated and more invested in family activities and routines.
8. Be a good role model. Give your kids a peaceful environment. If you're calm and free of anger, your kids are more likely to feel the same way. Engage the whole family in activities to lower stress, like taking a long walk or listening to music. Here are some ways to keep calm under fire:
How do you deal with sibling rivalry? We'd love to hear in our comments section!