Why Do Siblings Fight?
Jealousy. Competition. Fighting. An “against-each-other” spiritis the definition of a rivalry, and it frequently happens between siblings.
Some Reasons for Sibling Rivalry
- Siblings are trying to define themselves as individuals and to stand out from one another.
- Siblings have different personalities, ages, and interests.
- Siblings are competing for their parents’ attention, discipline, or responsiveness.
- Siblings are competing for resources within the household.
The Psychology of Sibling Rivalry
While it may be a normal experience in most families, according to many psychologists
, it is not always healthy. Especially if the altercations between siblings become angry, jealous, vengeful, or disrespectful. It can result in a lifetime of hatred and resentment.
How to Combat Sibling Rivalry
Brothers and sisters are going to fight from time to time. That’s normal. The key is to make sure their fighting doesn’t cross the line into bullying behavior.
Let Siblings Fight Fair
Avoid getting in the middle of an argument unless a child is in danger of getting hurt advises WebMD
. Children need how to learn to handle conflict and resolve issues among themselves with negotiation and compromise. Plus, every time you step in, there is the chance that one child will feel like you are favoring the other child. If you do have to step into a situation, try not to resolve it for your children. Separate your children, let them cool down in different spaces and then bring them back together to negotiate a solution.
Don’t Compare Siblings
Compare and contrast is an essential skill in language arts class, but not at home. While it’s natural to notice differences between your children, try not to comment on them recommends the American Academy of Pediatrics
. Every time you do, there is a chance that one child will feel like you are favoring the other child.
Don’t Talk About Each Other
No one appreciates it when someone talks behind their back, so don’t talk about one child with the other. Also, don’t discipline one child in front of the other. It’s embarrassing for them. Take your child to a private area to administer punishment or have an meaningful discussion. Give your child the same respect you would give to an employee at work if you had to discipline them.
Set Ground Rules
Household rules are important. Set ground rules for how the members of your family will treat one another, such as no hitting, no cursing, no name-calling, etc. Let your children help make these rules as well as decide on what the consequences will be when someone breaks the rules. Enforce the rules consistently.
Everyone needs to feel unique and important. Allow siblings space for “me” time:
- A time when they can have special access to the television to watch their favorite show.
- A time when they can spend one-on-one time with a parent doing an activity they enjoy.
- A special space or special toy that is entirely their own.
Show appreciation for the unique person each child truly is.