Is Sibling Rivalry a Serious Concern?

Sibling rivalry is normal in families with more than one child. It becomes a problem when one child bullies or dominates the other. It’s also a more complex issue than it first appears. On the surface, you have two kids who are “at war” who never get along. There can be many reasons for this, but at the core of this rivalry is a common theme that runs through it all: the sense that one sibling is the victim of the other and somehow “less than.” And that child often believes that he gets less love from his parents than his dominant brother or sister does.

Sibling rivalry is a difficult and sometimes painful issue for many families, but rivalry and jealousy are a normal part of life. Your responsibility is to help your kids learn to manage the feelings that come along with it. If they don’t, these issues will get carried over into adult life. The feelings of injustice, unfairness, and victimhood that accompany sibling jealousy become even more crippling to confront with later on. There are some ways prescribed by experts in the field to reduce and manage it.

Hold both kids responsible for their behavior: In many cases of sibling rivalry, both kids are almost equally responsible for the behavior. One child may start to tease the other or call the other a name, which starts a volley of teasing and name-calling.Set up a rule in your house that if fighting among siblings occurs, everybody is going to be punished.  It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, or who started it.

Stop refereeing your kids’ fights: How do you stop getting in the middle of your kids’ fights? As long as it’s not a bullying situation, don’t play referee. Don’t become the judge of who’s right or wrong. And don’t try to decide who the worst antagonist is. Instead, you can say, “There’s no fighting in the house, and these are the consequences for your behavior.

De-fuse jealousy: If one of your children is envious of his sibling, then try to downplay it. Don’t make it a big deal. Probably you can just say, “Well, you know, that’s natural, we all feel jealous sometimes. Always point out your children’s good characteristics. Mention concrete things you saw and heard them do, and let them know that you’re valuing their efforts as much as their brother or sister’s.

Ideally, a family is supposed to be a safe place where everyone is loved and everyone is equal. Your children may feel jealous of each other, but again, jealousy is a normal human feeling; it’s a perception. Schools and teachers can also take care of these things and instill love and affection in children towards their siblings like IB schools in India.


About oakridgeint

Oakridge International Schools offers an international educational opportunity that prepares students for life, work and civic roles in a globally interconnected world.
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