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how-do-i-handle-sibling-rivalryDifferent Factors Cause Sibling Rivalry. Fix Them Early On!

Sibling rivalry has existed as long as there have been siblings. Even poor Cinderella had to deal with her stepsisters, indicative of fairy tales taking after real life events (except for the fairy godmother). But what causes sibling rivalry? Dealing with sibling rivalry can be downright maddening at times. Your children’s temperaments, ages, gender and position in the family have everything to do with the conflict that crops up with sibling rivalry. At times, we don’t have the energy to deal with those issues.

But, a parent's attitude toward sibling rivalry is important. We must do our best to address sibling rivalry with patience, dealing with each child according to his or her personality and position in the family.

How to Handle Sibling Rivalry

  • Refrain from comparing your children. It’s pretty easy to do when one child walked at 11 months and the other at a year old. Or perhaps one learned to read earlier than the other. Each of your children is unique. It's important to have different levels of expectations in certain areas, along with realistic goals individual to them.
  • Avoid “guilting” siblings. Be quick and decisive when intervening in fights, if it is necessary to do so. Add a consequence but don’t shame the child. Make sure the disciplinary action “hits home” and is relevant to their age level.
  • Don’t push off your child’s feelings of resentment or anger. Anger is anger and should not be “stuffed.” The child needs to know his or her feelings are validated. Anger is a normal human emotion that if dismissed by the parent, can lead to more problems down the road. 
  • Let your children work out their differences whenever possible. I think this is the most difficult part of dealing with sibling rivalry. We want them to learn to handle conflict in a healthy way, but sometimes even we don’t know how. And the tattling grates on our nerves. You know the drill, so and so did this to me (other child denies), the accuser says other sibling lying, etc. It is up to us as parents to step in when necessary, separate them and lay down the consequence. I have found that it helps to talk to other mom’s and compare notes on what they do. 

We hope this information is helpful in handling sibling rivalry.  And we’d like to hear additional tips on Facebook or Twitter!

To keep things "light," here is a hilarious sibling rivalry video New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning did on Saturday Night Live. As many of you know, his brother, Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning is older than him. Enjoy! http://www.hulu.com/watch/358346

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