Sibling Rivalry : Signs, Symptoms and Parenting tips to Handle it!
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Sibling Rivalry: Can Parents Be Blamed?
© Chitrangada Sharan Jan. 2014
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- Sibling Rivalry is a very sensitive issue and it can be found in most of the families.
- If not dealt with properly, the consequences can be very saddening.
- Needless to say, that Parents love their each and every child equally.
- In spite of that Sibling Rivalry does exist. And the most upset and saddened by this rivalry is the parents themselves.
- It can still be managed, when the children are small or younger, but if it continues even when the children are grown up, it can go beyond control.
What is Sibling Rivalry?
Sibling means, children born in the same family or to the same parents. And Sibling Rivalry dates back to ancient times. We can find its shades in epic Mahabharat as well.
Have you seen the Hindi movie 'BLACK' or 'DEEWAR' or many more movies, which have very effectively communicated the dangers of Sibling Rivalry and its consequences on the parents and the family as a whole.
This is rather sad that although, there are so many examples of a healthy and solid bond among Siblings, but the thing that draws our attention the most is if they do not get along well with each other..
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Sibling Rivalry?
How to identify that children are having some kind of Rivalry?
Well in a family of brothers and sisters, there can be fights. But that does not mean there is a rivalry among siblings. One moment they fight and the other moment they love each other and play and enjoy with each other.
Most of the children want undivided love and attention by their parents. Rivalry develops, when they compete for the same.
This can be identified as name calling, hitting physically, immature behavior, shouting at each other, throwing tantrums to seek attention and so on.
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Sibling Rivalry can be tackled by
The Possible Causes Of Sibling Rivalry:
There can be many causes of this, namely, age, sex, position in the family, that is birth order, above average or mediocre academics, special needs children, general family atmosphere and many more. Let us discuss some of them here:
1. Children With Less Age Difference:
If the age gap is not much in children, there might be competition between them, whether in studies or sports or any other activity.
When they are small, it might be physical fights, but if not handled properly, when they are still young, it might become verbal later on.
2. Children of the same sex or age:
It is but natural that children of the same sex or age get equal opportunity while growing up in a family. As a result, they might develop the same interests or capabilities. But one of them might be slightly better than the other and may get applauded for that by the parents or the teachers.
It is then that the friction starts and it is a real difficult situation for the parents to handle.
3. The Middle Child:
Many examples can be seen, when the middle born does not get the same attention or privileges as the eldest or the youngest child. This makes the middle child sometimes upset, unhappy or an attention seeker.
4. Gifted Child or the Child with Special Needs:
Each child has his/ her own personality, character, Intelligence etc. It is quite natural for a parent to appreciate the achievements of a particular child. It is then that the problem can start. There can be jealousy among the other sibling.
The parent must maintain a balanced approach as every child can not have the same capabilities.
Then there can be other kind of children, who are physically weak or handicapped or poor in studies. The parents are always concerned about them. As a result, the other Normal kids may feel deprived and may become resentful.
5. Different Temperaments Need Different Treatments:
Each child has a different temperament, unique to his own. Therefore all of them can not and should not be handled in the same manner.
There are children who are sensitive and emotional, whereas there are those who are more practical and mature. It is for the parents to identify and deal with them according to their temperament.
Can The Parents Be Blamed?
Now for the question that I raised in the beginning. Can the Parents be blamed?
To some extent--Yes!
- To a great extent, Sibling Rivalry can be managed, if Parents are balanced in their behaviour towards their children.
- Parents have to consciously and cautiously tackle situations, which might lead to animosity and jealousy among siblings and they can do it very effectively.
- Children love and listen to their parents, more than anyone else, when they are young. If the parents exhibit a strong bond themselves, the children will be inspired to follow the same.
- If they see their parents tackling conflicts, difficult situations or disagreements in an amicable and respectful manner, they will definitely learn it and follow this, when they are in a conflicting situation with their siblings.
- It is advisable to practice what you preach, to avoid rivalries among your kids.
- Parents must be impartial and should avoid comparisons.
- One basic factor, which gives rise to Sibling Rivalry is, the desire to get appreciation by the parent. No other praise can be as big as that for the child.
- Therefore, the parents must be judicious, so that one kid may not feel neglected than the other.
Some Parenting Tips And Techniques To Handle Sibling Rivalry:
Sibling Rivalry is most unpleasant and frustrating for the Parents. But the solution also lies with them and with their wisdom, it can be handled efficiently.
1. Do not get too much involved:
If a fight is going on, do not get too much involved, unless they get physical. If you support one kid, the other may get the feeling, you are favouring or protecting him/ her and the other may feel high that he/ she is more dear to you and get away with any mischief in future as well.
2. Do Not Intervene or Examine:
If you intervene, the kids would not learn to solve their problems themselves and would always ask for your intervention. Try to ignore or ask them to resolve their differences themselves.
Do not try to examine, whose fault it was. In any case, if there is a fight, two people are involved.
3. Encourage The Kids To Solve Their Disputes Themselves:
When the kids try to resolve disputes on their own, they also learn some basic skills, which can be useful to them in their future.
They would learn that there can be a different point of view or opinion.
They may also learn,how to make negotiations and compromises.
4. Set Some Rules For Acceptable Behaviour In The Family:
Make some rules that there should not be any shouting, yelling, physical harm, bickering etc. and whoever breaks the rules will have to bear the consequences.
Make them responsible for their actions and behaviour. This would also discourage the discussion about, who was 'right' and who was 'wrong.'
5. Teach them to respect Individual Needs:
Each child has some different and unique needs. You as a parent should understand that and if you are successful in explaining this to your kids, there would not be any jealousy and rather the other child would help you in performing your duties towards the child in need of your attention.
6. Listening Always Helps:
You are a parent and you have immense capability to control unfavourable situations, merely by LOVE and ATTENTION, and you are the only one who can do it.
Each child should get the feeling that he/ she got the equal opportunity to be heard.
Merely venting out their feelings, makes them feel better.
A little bit of appreciation, if the kids are happy and teamed up, goes a long way, to further their efforts. Because kids always want to make their parents happy.
Sibling Rivalry though, a sensitive and delicate issue, can be easily handled by the parents.
Show the children, that you love them, care for them, worry for them.
Have family sittings, create moments of Fun and Happy Bonding, Make them feel for each other.
Make them realise that the parents, brothers and sisters always will stand for you, in happy times as well as troubled times.
Even when the children grow up, have regular family gatherings and encourage them to share, their family matters or work related matters.
Spending time with each other or remaining connected to each other, always helps in sharing happy and strong bond among Siblings.
© Chitrangada Sharan 7th Jan. 2014
All Rights Reserved.
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