Sibling Rivalry And How To Handle It


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sibling rivalry

It’s been a combination of war and amusement. My daughter, who is just one year and a few months old believes that she has total entitlement over me. She can act quite independently while playing with her siblings as long as nobody gets too close to mummy(me).

Anytime she sees me give a hug or peck to any of her siblings, she abandons whatever she is doing and quickly comes, crying, pushing the “errant” sibling away from me and takes over.

Her older siblings have decided to maximize this source of amusement by always demanding for pecks, hugs and even backings from me! Trust my youngest baby, she always reacts as expected, thereby making it more fun for them.

It doesn’t end there. For the older ones (seven and four years old respectively ), once you do a favour in the form of appreciation or gift to one of them, be ready to duplicate such favour to to the other one if you don’t have a strong reason as defense.

Sibling rivalry is  competition between siblings especially for the attention, affection, and approval of their parents.

This competition often manifests in form of jealousy and fighting between siblings (brothers and sisters).
It often starts right after the birth of the second child.
Sibling rivalry usually continues throughout childhood and can be very frustrating and stressful to parents.
It is a concern for almost all parents with two or more kids. 

Diverse forms of sibling rivalry include:

  • Bickering: This involves arguing and fighting over petty and trivial matters.
  • Insults: This involve the use of abusive words and name-calling
  • Lying: They often cook-up lies against the other person in order to win favour and attention
  • Stealing things
  • Arguing: They don’t easily give up on their opinions. Rather, they prefer to argue it out
  • Tattling and gossiping: This they do by secretly reporting the other sibling to their parents or teachers
  • Breaking/destroying something that belongs to the other sibling
  • Fighting and hitting each other
  • Throwing somethings at each other
  • Hiding something that is important to the other sibling.
  • Blaming: They excuse and defend themselves by blaming the other person


How to deal with sibling rivalry:

  • Know that every of your children are unique and treat them as such: Don’t compare your children among themselves. Treat them as individuals that they are.
  • Don’t freak out, it is expected among children
  • Be objective in dealing with your children
  • Don’t show favoritism
  • Set up and adhere to basic family rules as a control measure: In-cooperate your family values in the rules.
  • Encourage positive communication among your children: Highly discourage the use of fowl and demeaning language among your children
  • Avoid the blame game. Rather, objectively guide your children towards resolving their issues: This teaches them problem solving skills early in life.

So, when next your children/wards test your patience with various forms of sibling rivalry, don’t get mad at them. Rather, do the right thing!

You can share your experiences on this matter at the comment section.


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