Top 10 tips for every mother to deal with sibling rivalry among kids

Every mother with two or more children goes through a common dilemma - how to deal with sibling rivalry! Come, get some tips here.
Smart parenting can help you resolve sibling rivalry issues at home. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr. Malini Saba Updated on: 11 August 2022, 23:48 pm IST
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There they go again, fighting and yelling about who gets to choose what TV show or movie to watch, who sweeps the floors, and who gets the last slice of pizza. How often have you had to serve as a mediator between two or more children? It’s tiresome, isn’t it? You’re frustrated, overburdened, and frankly, sick of your child’s continuous arguments. All moms go through this self-questioning around how to deal with sibling rivalry. So, here we are to help you.

What causes sibling rivalry?

Your kids don’t argue over a TV show or pizza. Rather, birth order and family dynamics create most disputes. Different growth phases and competing for your attention can lead to moments of sibling jealousy or misunderstanding and can have a negative impact on their self-esteem and friendships. Most of these causes, such as age differences and temperament, cannot be changed, and there is no way to permanently end the conflict, but there are numerous ways to limit and improve productive resolution.

Let us share some sibling rivalry solutions with you!

How to deal with sibling rivalry at home

1. Turn off your alarm clock:

Observe your children’s actions so you can respond before a problem develops or worsens. For many parents, conflict between siblings might be an automatic trigger. Stop panicking when it begins. Breathe in deeply. Remind yourself that reacting with anger will not address the problem, despite the fact that the situation seems dire. Repeat the mantra “this is not an emergency” and see the issue with a clear head. Remember, your children will emulate your calmness if you maintain yours.

2. Create a co-operative environment:

Don’t compare your kids, favour one over the other, or urge them to compete. Create possibilities for co-operation and compromise as an alternative. The manner in which parents connect with one another serves as a model for their children. If your children see you or your partner slamming doors, breaking objects, or having loud arguments, they may perceive it as an acceptable way to handle problems.

Parents ought to create a culture of co-operation at home instead of fight mindlessly! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Honour uniqueness:

Children are less prone to engaging in conflict if they believe their uniqueness is valued. Start by avoiding labels and categorization, and demonstrate to each youngster that they are unique by spending time with them individually. If a child likes to jog in the park, you should put on your sneakers and join them. If the other child enjoys baking, try out various recipes with it. Create a home rule that encourages family members to recognize and respect one another’s personal space. A child should be allowed to take a break from playing, decide if a sibling can join them, and decide if they want to enjoy alone time. This could help reduce the sibling rivalry.

4. Plan family activities:

Family dinners, playing board games, spending time at the park, participating in sports, watching movies, and engaging in other activities are excellent ways for youngsters to form bonds and share fond memories. Children are less likely to fight with each other and want to spend more time with you when these things happen.

5. Respect children fairly, not equally:

Fairness is vital for parents, but fair does not always mean equal. Your children’s punishments and incentives should be tailored to their specific needs. For instance, you don’t have to offer two children identical toys. Instead, provide kids with toys that are age-and interest-appropriate. Sometimes it’s easy to determine who began the fight or who is at fault. Still, refuse to take sides. Rather than pointing fingers or trying to determine who is at fault, remain focused on teaching both children how to handle the issue better next time.

Recognize what each child likes and indulge in both fairly! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Sharing is voluntary:

Forcing children to give up their toys can develop anger and dissatisfaction. Instead, educate your children on how to share and take turns with toys. Demonstrate and practice how to trade, how to wait patiently, and how to politely refuse to part with an item.

7. Listen with sensitivity to feelings:

Be a good listener. Both older children and younger children can be overbearing at times. When you offer your child a safe space to discuss their sentiments, you let them know that it’s okay to feel conflicted about their siblings and that you’ll help them figure it out.

As you listen to each youngster tell their side of the story, paraphrase their viewpoint in a way that demonstrates you understand their position (even if you disagree). By putting yourself in their shoes, you realize the incident was difficult for both children.

Also check: Think you’re a good listener? Take this quiz to test your skill

8. Teach kids problem-solving:

Use conflict as a chance to teach your children problem-solving skills in order to prevent future disputes. Show them how they could work together, share, or handle a similar situation in a more constructive and responsible way.

Be a parent who listens to the children and teaches them a problem-solving approach. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

9. Make punishment private:

Avoid making the talk public if a dispute between siblings necessitates a penalty. This can embarrass a youngster in front of his or her siblings, leading to increased enmity. This is the time to impart a lesson, not to make a statement.

10. Hold a family meeting:

Gather the family and engage in conversation so that everyone may express themselves. It’s also a chance to create home rules that everyone may agree to obey. These rules should be displayed in a public area, such as the kitchen, to remind everyone of their dedication to maintaining a happy and healthy family.

About the Author
Dr. Malini Saba

Dr. Malini Saba Psychologist Founder and Chairman of the Anannke Foundation

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