Our kids fight – and unfortunately, there is no way around it. Many kids drag their mums into their squabbles and ask them to be the judge. And every conflict eventually falls onto you to resolve. That is completely normal, and almost every mum found herself in such a position. Learn here how to handle sibling rivalry and how to resolve it.
Can I even avoid sibling rivalry?
What is sibling rivalry?
Sibling rivalry is basically an ongoing argument, fight, or conflict between your kids. And it is more likely to happen the more your kids grow, especially during their school years. Sometimes, those quarrels start with small verbal pickering. And other times, those quarrels turn into actual physical fights. In addition, once you are involved, your kids will compete to win you over each to their own side. Which makes things more complicated.
Moreover, those rivalries are more common with same sex siblings. It sometimes can be a competition to get you or their father’s attention more. And because of that, some parents think it is their fault. But truthfully, it rarely is. These quarrels are nothing but a natural part of your kids growing up. And eventually it will be a lesson for them on how to resolve problems.
But why does it happen?
There are plenty of reasons why little siblings fight, such as:
- Jealousy – especially if there is a newborn in the family.
- Seeking more attention from parents.
- Sensing that the new baby or other sibling is getting special treatment.
- Feeling that the parents do not love or care for him or her.
In addition, the reason behind those fights can differ depending on your kids’ ages. For example, preschoolers fight over toys and sharing. While older kids can fight over feeling inequality or unfair treatment.
How to handle your kids fighting?
Sometimes, parents can do or say things unintentionally that spark this rivalry. For instance, praising one child more than the other. Therefore, you must know how to handle those fights without making it worse.
1| Do not get involved.
We believe that sometimes kids should solve their sibling rivalry on their own. This will give them a chance to build a strong sibling bond. As it will teach great life skills, like solving conflict. It is only when the rivalry turns into a physical fight that you should get involved. Because we raise our kids that violence is totally unaccepted and it is never the solution.
2| Be fair and treat them equally.
As we mentioned before, unfair treatment or jealousy can cause this rivalry. Therefore, you must treat all your kids equally and not favor one over the other. Also, avoid negative comparisons. Like using words such as “why won’t you be good like your brother”. Such statements can hurt your child and damage their self esteem. So, always be fair to all your kids and do not give one of them special treatment over the others.
3| Understand why they are fighting.
Understanding the roots of the problem helps us solve it, and this applies here. As we mentioned before, there are plenty of reasons why kids fight. So, try to understand the real reasons causing those fights and act accordingly. For example, if your children feel neglected then designate one-on-one bonding time equally. Also, have the time to hear your kids separately, especially when they are complaining about each other. This will help them vent and feel that you understand and hear them fully.
When having conversations with your kids, make sure to walk them through. That is mainly to help them express themselves and their feelings. Involve them in how to solve this problem. Ask them “how do we solve this?”. Finding a solution together will help them accept it more and move past the whole argument. It will also guide them on how to solve any future problems.
4| Set ground rules to all your kids.
Talk to your kids about what is accepted and what is not. Engage your kids in setting those rules so they can always remember them. You can even have them written down on a board so they can remember them easily. Such rules can be like “We share the iPad” or “Everyone gets 30 minutes of screen time”.
Tips to avoid sibling rivalry?
- – Make sure to have enough toys for everyone.
- – Offer alternatives when fighting over toys. Like reading a story or playing in the backyard.
- – Give them different tasks to avoid conflict. This works great when you are out grocery shopping. Like having one to read the shopping list while the other grabs stuff.