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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry:

One thing that parents don't always expect is how much their children will fight. Sibling rivalry—all parents of more than one child expect it, they just don't expect quite as much as they get. Kids have a tendency to rival over everything: attention, clothes, toys, you name it, they will find a way to fight over it.

While it seems trivial to the parent (and usually it is something pretty trivial), to the children, it seems like the most important thing for the moment. And, they are willing to fight to the death for that all-important toy or shirt or video game.

Parents tend to get frustrated after listening to much bickering, especially when it seems that no matter what they do, it doesn't get any better. And, truly there isn't much you can do to prevent it from happening. Siblings will rival. It's a fact. But, you can try to make it happen slightly less often by employing a few tactics that can possibly lessen the frequency with which the fights occur.

• Never compare your children—this is one of the biggest, most important, things that kids will fight over. If one child always feels like they aren't as good as the other one (at a sport, at school, or just in general), they will resent their sibling, which will inspire more arguments. Likewise, the child who feels they are better than the other will often start arguments by making a big deal out of it. Granted, lots of children face these types of issues by comparing themselves to their siblings. But, you can help minimize its occurrence by never comparing your children. If you ever say "How come you don't get better grades? Your sister has no problem getting better grades," you are only making it worse, and actually may be the cause of it. Whether it is grades, sports, behavior, or anything, it is very important for parents to realize that their children are individuals, and one may excel at something the other doesn't. Then, once you realize this, it is important to pass that knowledge on. You should not only never compare them, you should also teach them not to compare themselves.

• Give equal attention—this one can be harder than it sounds, simply because your children will have very ranging personalities. You may have one child that is nothing like you, that doesn't like any of the things you like, and just has nothing in common with you. At the same time, you may have another child who plays your favorite sport, loves the same television shows as you, and more. You may end up, without even realizing it, end up spending more time with the one who shares common interests with you. It is great for a child and parent to bond this way, but you must make sure that you aren't giving this one more attention than the other. It is natural for a parent to have different types of relationships with each of their kids, but you must also think about the message that it sends to the child that is getting less attention. This doesn't mean you should lessen the relationship with your other children, it simply means you must put forth the extra effort to spend more time with the other child.

• Let them spend time apart—this is one of the best ways to help your children get along better. Take each of them out individually, and let them have time away from each other. One of the main reasons siblings fight so much is because they spend so much time together, so simply giving them some time apart can often make a very noticeable difference.

While there is no way to eliminate sibling rivalry, and what you do to try to prevent it may not seem like it is making any difference, doing these things can help at least minimize the most harmful versions of the rivalry.

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