Sibling rivalry, jealous between brothers and sisters – the problem is as old as time. Even some of the first siblings, Cain and Abel, experienced a fierce rivalry that resulted in the death of Abel. Ask any parent and he or she will tell you that even siblings that usually get along have their disagreements. So, what can parents do to ease the tension?
- Don’t take sides. Let the kids work out their own problems whenever possible. The exception would be if one child is harming the other, either physically or emotionally. This is the time to step in.
- Always tread cautiously. What may seem to be one child’s fault, may have been started by a quieter, sneakier child.
- Insist upon certain standards. For example, no name calling and no hitting. These things that are big no-nos in your family should result in swift and immediate consequences, such as loss of privileges.
- Find common interests and encourage them. If your daughters both love roller skating, take them for lessons together.
- Give children equal one-on-one time with Mom and Dad. This can be as simple as taking turns taking the children with you to the grocery store or on a shopping trip that week. This allows the child to feel they have your undivided attention and love during those times and can help ease the anger over attention the other child receives at other times.
- Make sure each child has his or her own space. Although this can be challenging in a very large family, each child should have a nook or cranny that is his alone.
These are a few quick tips to get you started on your road to controlling sibling rivalry. Good luck!