Sibling rivalry is a common problem faced by parents of more than one child. While dealing with sibling rivalry it is important to understand that no one is really at fault. It’s just a very natural behavior pattern. What matters is putting a stop to this sort of behavior before it gets out of hand and becomes a serious issue.
How To Deal With Sibling Rivalry As A Parent
Spend Time With All Your Kids
One of the leading causes for sibling rivalry is lack of attention. When you make much of a child and then suddenly find you have less time to tend to the child because you have a new little one, you cannot assume this change of environment goes unnoticed by the elder child.
While everyone else is thrilled about the new baby on the block, the old one feels sort of shunted to one side and you can’t expect the child (unless it’s much older) to overlook it and understand the needs of a helpless baby or toddler. This is usually how the whole problem begins.
Hence, when you have more than one child, it is very important to spend at least a few minutes a day with each child. If you have an infant and are really too busy to allot time for the other child, you can try to involve the child in your own activities. For example, if you need to work out, you and your child could spend some time dancing together.
Encourage family time activities by having your family sit down to meals, playing games that are fun for everyone, or engaging in creative pursuits like arts and craft activities. You can even have an all-out jamming session if you and your kids are into music.
When couples have more than one child they often succumb to favoritism, and this also leads to sibling rivalry. Parents cannot help favoring and bonding easily with a child that pleases them in some way. In this case it can also be the younger child who feels left out and ill-treated (contrary to popular belief the youngest is not always favored).
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So while favoring one child over another is very natural and normal, this can be very painful to the other child, so it is important to try and hide one’s favoritism as much as one can. This can be done with a little self-control and consideration for the child’s feelings. Be fair in squabbles and dole out punishment and rewards, taking note of the age of each child. Praise each child equally and go out of your way to show them the same amount of attention.
Encouraging Siblings To Play Together
Another common cause of sibling rivalry is sibling privileges. Older children are often allowed to do more things than the younger, and this is likely to cause jealousy and friction among siblings. Other causes of sibling rivalry include boredom, emotional problems, hunger, excessive comparison (competition) with the other sibling, etc.
To overcome these problems, parents should try to encourage siblings to play with each other. By showing a child that his or her siblings are playmates and companions rather than rivals, you can get them to spend more time with each other. Never force them to play with each other or make it seem like a chore.
Just try to induce them into playing with each other by buying toys and games which involve group play, like miniature kitchenettes, store counters, racing car sets, etc. As they grow older, you will see that they support each other more and are even protective of each other. So with a little patience and the use of these tactics, you will find it easier to deal with sibling rivalry as a parent.
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