Sibling rivalry is something that most parents are well familiar with especially those with children whose ages range from 5 years to around 20 years. At times, sibling rivalry can be very annoying, frustrating and bothersome to the parent particularly if it becomes too much. While most parents view this rivalry as normal, it is worth noting that it can easily turn into hatred as well as verbal & physical abuse if not stopped at an early stage.
The main problem with excessive sibling rivalry is that it can lead to bullying. What is presumed to be a minor and normal argument can escalate and have lasting effects on the lives of the children. Due to this, it is necessary for parents to take charge and restore peace among their children. Here are some reliable and efficient parenting tips you can use to restore peace and good relations among children:
Avoid taking sides
When your children are quarreling, you as the parent should stand on a neutral ground and avoid taking sides. Do not favor any child as this will send a wrong message to the less favored child. It is common for parents to favor one child over the other to keep such information within yourself. You should not let your children take note of this favoritism as such preference will only make the situation worse. In addition to this, you should strive to love your children equally without having a favorite child.
The best way of ensuring that you treat your children equally is by having unconditional love towards all of them. For instance, one of your children may be good in school work while the other performs poorly in school but has a singing/dancing talent. Accepting such diverse abilities in children brings about love and harmony in the family. Consequently, this helps in averting a likelihood of sibling rivalry and hatred arising.
Insist on avoiding negative situations
The best and easiest way of solving a problem is by preventing its occurrence. In line with this, you need to teach your children ways and ideas on how to prevent any occurrence of negative situations among them. These are situations that are likely to give rise to conflicts and harbor bad relations. The children need to know how to prevent triggering an argument or disagreement amongst themselves. For example, if “John” gets angry when shouted at, you should caution “Stacy” to avoid shouting at him when they are arguing or having a disagreement.
The idea behind preventing negative situations revolves around teaching your children that it is alright to have different opinions but they should not hate each other on the basis of these differences. Teach them the importance of walking away before the situation gets out of hand. However, as much as these lessons are important and effective, they are mostly applicable to children of considerable ages such as those above 6 years of age.
Promote problem solving
An argument or disagreement between siblings should only be put to rest after the underlying cause is identified and solved. Otherwise, the problem will keep recurring from time to time and it is likely that it will escalate to a bigger problem. If you notice that one of the children is interested in finding a solution to the problem, you should applaud and promote such attempts. This will help your children to realize that coping and solving problems is a great step towards maturity and growth.
Problem solving helps in maintaining peace and love among siblings even in the midst of arguments and disagreements. What is more important about problem solving is that it helps in fostering good relations and stronger bonds among the children thereby lowering the possibility of sibling rivalry arising.
Raise sensitive children
Generally, it is hard to intentionally hurt, hate and despise someone you love and care about. You can teach your children to love each other by showing them how to care and have love for each other. Siblings do not become adversaries unless parents fail to step in and restore good relations among them. This is why parents should raise sensitive children; children who care for each other and who can nurture life-lasting friendships.
Parents play a pivotal role in fostering sensitivity and positive traits in their children. The first life lesson you should teach your children is learning to live together in harmony with other people. Be a facilitator in your children’s lives by setting conditions for establishing healthy relationships among the children. You should avoid controlling how your children interact with their siblings but instead focus on enabling them in having compatible relationships. It is usually if siblings look up to each as great friends and love each other’s company.
Foster teamwork and promote empathy
A team spirit is crucial in teaching your children to love each other. This is because team work teaches them more about the benefits and advantages of working together in a group. This realization is a very important tool for success and progress in life. Siblings who share a team spirit among themselves tend to get along well and without any hatred or rivalry at all.
In line with team spirit, you should also promote empathy among your children. You need to teach them that they should not treat their siblings in a way that themselves would not want to be treated. Empathy brings about love, understanding, patience, and unity among siblings. It makes it possible for siblings to care for each other and have regard for other people’s feelings.
When your children quarrel and argue about small issues such as toys, they should learn to solve such problems on their own without necessary involving you. This helps in promoting a responsible behavior and may also help them realize that conflicts are a part of every relationship. Parents should treat their children equally so that envy does not provide grounds for sibling rivalry. For instance, if you are planning for a family getaway, ensure that you carry along all the children and make everyone feel as a part of the family.
Parents should not compare the abilities and inferiorities of their children especially in the presence of the children. Praise every accomplishment however little it may be and do not compare one child’s achievements to that of his/her siblings. This is because children are created differently and thus have different abilities, strengths and weaknesses.