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A Guide For Busy Parents: How to Raise Siblings without Rivalry

Updated on January 27, 2015

Steps on How to Deal Get Siblings To Co-exist Without RIvalry

I am a mother of two boys, my step-son is four and my youngest just turned one and I have already noticed the rivalry and jealousy from my four year old. I know that raising two boys especially getting into a relationship where becoming a step-mom had it's own challenges, frustrations and adapting but having my son and being a first time mom. I literally went from no children to two children in 60 seconds. My sons love each other unconditionally but do I notice the rivalry already from my four year old. Being a stay at home mom as well as working at a hospital as a Unit Secretary I needed to think quick on my feet and figure out to nip this problem in the bud before the problem got worse. I sat down with my boyfriend to discuss this issue we had come up with a list on how to handle the sibling rivalry and to prevent future challenges.

Here are my tips or strategies if you will on how to tackle the rivalry and maintain one's sanity.

1. Not To Wait to Handle the Bad Feelings Finally Come out:

Brothers and sister need to have their feelings about each other acknowledged - 1) Handle the situation with words that identify the feeling instead of reacting off the situation. 2) Listen to the child's wishes. 3) Incorporate the siblings in a symbolic or creative activity to divert the attention away from the original issue that was the catalyst of the rivalry. 4) In a way that the kids will understand show them how discharge angry feelings acceptably.

2. Whatever you do don't compare one child to the other.

I know first hand that this was the biggest mistake I made, not only did that cause tension between boys but it will also caused conflict with my significant other and non-stop fighting.

Please I understand how difficult this must be especially if your a step-mom as well a first time mother PLEASE resist the urge to compare.- 1) Describe what you see and calmly express how you feel. 2) Describe what needs to be done to with your significant other that will resolve the conflict. Than again describe what you see and once more calmly express how you are feeling.

This step was the hardest for me to put into action because I jumped straight to assumptions instead of assessing the situation than reacting.

3. Equal is definitely less

Some people might find this specific statement controversial, but I truly feel that this guideline is the most important.

Children without a doubt need to be treated uniquely. Children don't need to be treated equally - 1) Instead of giving equal amounts, give according to their individual needs. 2) Instead of showing equal love, show your child how they are loved uniquely. 3) Instead of giving equal time, give your time according to your child's need.

I know my one year old is extremely calm and already independent, but there are times when he may not need to be consoled for a long period of time, he usually just wants to be held than he is calm again after a couple of minute. However, my four year old on the other hand needs all of your time especially when he doesn't get what he wants and the temper tantrum starts. Next thing you know half your day is gone and there is chance he still may have not calmed down.

4. When the kids fight.


How to handle the fighting.

1) Normal bickering - just ignore it. Don't sweat the small stuff. 2) If the situation starts to heat up - intervening might be helpful, for example try to reflect each child's point of view than react to how they interpret what is happening. 3) If the situation could potentially become dangerous, remind them of the rules that you have put in place than follow that up with why the rules were set in the first place than offer an alternative. 4) If the situation is 100% without a doubt dangerous, you most definitely will intervene than separate them from one another until they have calmed down, than explain to them in a way that they will understand why that situation was dangerous especially if one child could have potentially been injured.

I know personally that my four year hates to share, he has no problem taking my one year old's toys and than when he tries to play with him there is punching, shoving and name calling. That is when his father or myself intervene put in time out and after we feel like he has come to his senses and calmed down we than explain how he cold have hurt his brother. Don't get me wrong its not a miracle tactic this behavior happens several times a day but we stick to our guns and just reinforce the rules.

Last but not Least:

5) Problem Solving


Help your child resolve a difficult conflict by 1) call a family meeting to discuss the issues at hand. 2) Thoroughly in a way that they are able to comprehend the house rules. 3) Write down each child's feelings and concerns (in my case my one year old can express his feelings, so we mainly focus on our oldest and his feelings). 5) My significant other and I than take time to come up with solutions and give ideas on how to handle things without judgment or discounting one another's feelings/ideas. 6) Simply enough come up with solutions that work for everyone in your family and that everyone can live by as well as follow through. 7) Follow up later: my significant other and I than reconvene to discuss how we feel the rules we have put in place as well as following the other guidelines have either been positive and constructive or have they back fired all together.


Well I hope that my guidelines will shed some light if you have sibling rivalry in your house, I know they have been successful in mine. These will not happen overnight so try to remain patient and calm with handling rivalry but the more the children see the parents reacting the more the rivalry will continue.

I wish you all the best of luck!!!




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