5 Possible Causes of Sibling Rivalry—6 Parenting Tips to Handle it.
Sibling Rivalry: Can the parents be blamed?
Sibling Rivalry is a very sensitive issue, and it is quite common in most of the families.
If it’s not dealt with properly, the consequences can be very saddening later on, when the children are grown up.
Needless to say, that Parents love their each and every child equally.
In spite of that, sibling rivalry does exist in many families. And the most upset and saddened, by this rivalry, are 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 the ancient times. We can find its shades in the 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 healthy and solid bond among Siblings, but the matter 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?
In a family of brothers and sisters, there can be frequent fights over small issues. But this does not mean, that there is a rivalry among siblings.
One moment, they fight and the other moment, they love each other, and play and enjoy each other’s company.
The children want undivided love, and attention from 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.
5 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 less 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 it.
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 parents 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?
To some extent--Yes!
- To a great extent, sibling rivalry can be managed, if the parents have a balanced approach, towards their children.
- Parents have to consciously, and cautiously, tackle situations, which might lead to animosity, and jealousy among the 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, whenever 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.
6 Parenting tips and techniques to handle sibling rivalry
Sibling Rivalry is the most unpleasant, and frustrating situation 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 the siblings get physical. If you support one kid, the other may get the feeling, that you are favouring, or protecting him/ her, and the other kid 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 children, 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 other opinion. They may also learn about, 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 Athe toon, 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 easily be 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.
Parenting tips to handle sibling rivalry, Source: YouTube
Sibling Rivalry can be tackled by
Parenting Skills from Practical Parenting: Source: You tube
© 2014 Chitrangada Sharan