Sibling Rivalry

Jun 01, 2013


Your best friend and your worst enemy is often your sibling. It’s absolutely normal for siblings to fight and there are enough reasons for them to. Temperament, jealousy, a need to be better, and many other reasons; forgotten by adults. An important role for parents is to manage these conflicts between siblings.

Pre school children are very prone to sibling rivalry. They are old enough to show their frustration but too young to take charge of their emotions. What makes things worse is their lack of understanding because of their young age. They don’t know how to handle people with different temperaments. If a child clings on to a parent for some reason, the other may get jealous, leading to rivalry again. Parents are their best examples; if parents resolve conflicts through arguments, children learn the same thing.

Sibling rivalry can be a small thing or can be big enough to take over the energies of the entire household. A one big tip for parents: don’t get involved and try to solve their little squabbles unless they are in danger of harming one another or themselves. Remember the time when you were kids yourselves; did you like it when your parents intervened every now and then?

If you have to intervene, go through the following list so you are well prepared and you take the best course of action:

Separate the children involved. In the heat of the moment, it is not possible to work things out well.

Try your best not to place blame on any child. Your job is to mediate. Once the children have calmed down, talk to them. Don’t focus on who was right and who was wrong. It takes two to clap. Always. Focus on looking for a solution. Tell each child what they did right and what they did wrong.

For pre school children, it is a bit hard to understand the meaning of delayed gratification. You cannot tell a three year old that she can play with a toy today and her sibling can play with it tomorrow. They simply will not understand it. Instead, make the time span shorter so they can look at the clock and know their time will come soon.

If your child can learn how to manage conflicts with her siblings well, she can manage conflicts with her friends too. These are tools children ill need for the rest of their lives!

Happy Parenting!