Every parent who has more than one child knows how the constant teasing, bickering and fighting between siblings can drain you and sometimes cause chaos to break out in your household.
Squabbling between your children can leave you feeling angry, furious, helpless, out of control, exasperated, hopeless, powerless, sad, confused, disappointed, frustrated, overwhelmed, agitated, and less frequently, amused.
Here are a few simple ways to handle sibling rivalry:
- Expect many episodes of sibling rivalry. It is normal for families to have problems, issues, and conflicts.
- Treat your children as the unique individuals they are.
Make each child feel special. Each person’s needs, feelings, and perspectives are important.
- Don’t show favouritism. Do not compare your children to one another either favourably or unfavourably.
- Stay calm and objective. Stay out of arguments that are only harmless bickering.
- Come up with a list of basic rules. Examples of basic rules are: “no hitting” or “no foul language”.
- Don’t look for someone to blame or punish. Your children will learn more by working out the problem with each other.
- Don’t referee a fight if you don’t know what happened.
- Don’t get in long discussions about what happened.
- Encourage communication and understanding of feelings.
- Teach children how to solve problems. Let your children know that you believe they can be creative about finding solutions to problems with their brothers and sisters.
- Don’t allow children to play one parent against the other. Talk directly and privately with your co-parent if you disagree with a parenting decision.
- Consider outside help. If things seem to be out of hand you can seek family therapy.