Sibling Rivalry: Resolving Jealousy and Competition

Sibling rivalry presents its ugly head in many households with more than one kid. This is usually characteristic of fighting, shouting, annoying each other, and so forth. Often times, the children may seek an ally in their parents. Naturally, parents try and remain neutral, and allow the children to work out their differences. While this is effective, and teaches the children to handle problems, there are times in which parents may need to step-in and intervene. This includes situations that have escalated to physical violence. Of course, not all cases of sibling rivalry involve violence. In most cases, children may have developed a healthy competitive nature.

Unfortunately, parents can often contribute to sibling rivalry. In households with multiple children, it is common for one child to feel left out or unloved. Sometimes, middle-child syndrome plays a huge role. Additionally, parents constantly identifying children as bad seeds and good seeds may contribute to rivalry, even if the labeling is meant as a joke.

There are ways to overcome sibling rivalry. In most cases, the rivalry resolves with time. Yet, sibling rivalry may carry into adulthood. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and overcome sibling rivalry, which will result in children feeling equaled and competent.

âÂ?¢ Don’t Compare: Making comparisons is a common mistake made by parents. For example, if one child was able to achieve high grades in school, parents may expect other children to do the same. Understandably, parents want their children to do well in school. However, if an older child is exceptional in a particular area, don’t put undue pressure on other children. This may stir up resentment among siblings. Moreover, it can create a rift between parent and child.

âÂ?¢ Acknowledge Feelings: If one child is jealous of a sibling’s achievements and abilities, parents should acknowledge their child’s feelings and encourage them to discover unique talents of their own. Some parents dismiss hurt feelings, or focus too much attention on the smarter or more successful offspring.

� Suppress Favoritism: Favoritism is the root of much sibling rivalry. Parents may naturally be drawn to a specific child. The problem arises when parents fail to hide their favoritism and focus much or all of their attention on one child, while the others are slighted of their love and attention. Furthermore, favoritism may cause parents to ignore the wrongdoings or make excuses for the more favored child, and harshly punish the other children for similar behavior. Children are smart. To combat favoritism, parents must first recognize their problem, and then make an effort to spend equal time with all their children. Arrange alone time with each child. There could be similarities between parent and child that went unnoticed.

âÂ?¢ Avoid Labeling Children: Some parents have a habit of labeling children. For example, if one child is responsible and obedient, parents may typecast them as the “dependable one.” On the other hand, if another child is lazy or unmotivated, they may be termed the “slacker”.

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