Rivalry Amongst Siblings

While it’s uncommon for siblings to get along, it’s not unheard of for them to get into arguments. (They frequently alternate between adoring and loathing one another.) Here are some tips for you on getting through that rivalry amongst your siblings.

In many families, sibling rivalry can begin even before the second child’s birth, and it continues throughout the children’s lives as they compete for everything from toys to attention. The changing demands of children at various developmental stages can have a substantial impact on how they interact with one another.

Watching and hearing your children fight can be upsetting as a parent. All members of a conflict-ridden household feel the strain. There are times when you’re unsure whether or not you should get involved in a fight. However, you may take steps to improve your family’s harmony and assist your children to get along with each other.

Fights amongst children are a common occurrence.

Siblings might get into a fight for a variety of reasons. Squabbles and squabbling between brothers and sisters are common, and this can turn into a full-blown argument. The frequency and severity of a child’s fights can also be affected by various factors. These are only a few examples:

  • Needs that are constantly changing. When children’s wants, worries, and identities change over time, it’s natural that their relationships with one another will change as well. Taking toddlers as an example, they are naturally possessive of their toys and other personal property and are developing the ability to exert their authority. This means that if the toddler’s toy is taken away by a younger sibling, the older youngster may lash out in a hostile manner. Due to their strong sense of fairness and equality, many school-age children are baffled as to why younger siblings are treated differently than older ones. When it comes to helping out around the house, taking care of younger siblings, or even spending time with your family, teenagers may find it difficult. All of these distinctions can have an impact on how children fight between themselves.
  • Personality traits. The temperaments of your children, particularly their mood, disposition, and adaptability, play a significant effect on how well they get along. To provide an example, two children who are normally placid but who are easily agitated might get into it. Also, a child who is overly attached to his or her parents may be disliked by siblings who see similar behavior and feel entitled to the same level of affection and care.
  • Children with disabilities or illnesses. More parental attention may be required when a child has special needs as a result of illness or learning/emotional difficulties. In order to gain attention or to avoid what is occurring to the other child, other children may notice this discrepancy and act out.
  • Symbols of authority. When it comes to handling disagreement, children can take a lot of cues from their parents. Consequently, if you and your partner resolve arguments in a manner that is mutually respectful, productive, and non-aggressive, your children are more likely to do the same. If your children see you yelling, slamming doors, and generally behaving in a disorderly manner while you’re upset, they’re more likely to emulate such behaviors.

As soon as the Fights Begin.

It may be typical for siblings to quarrel, but it’s certainly not pleasant for anyone in the family. There is a limit to how much disagreement can be tolerated by a family. When the fighting begins, what should you do?

Avoid getting engaged if at all possible. Only intervene if someone is in danger of being hurt. It’s dangerous to constantly step in and solve other people’s problems for them. Instead of learning to solve difficulties on their own, the kids may become reliant on your assistance and begin to demand it. This could lead to even greater animosity if you accidentally give the impression that one child is always being “protected.” Children who have been “saved” by a parent may also think they can get away with greater bad behavior.

It’s okay to use acceptable phrases to “guide” kids through their emotions if you’re concerned about their language or name-calling. This is not the same as stepping in and separating the children or intervening.

Even if they can’t, urge them to come up with a solution. Instead of attempting to solve their problems, see if you can help them find solutions on your own.

What to look out for when getting involved:

  • Separate the children till they are calmer. Sometimes it’s best to let them go their own way for a short while and not bring up the past. Otherwise, the conflict may spiral out of control. Wait until the feelings have subsided if you want this to be a teaching moment.
  • Don’t obsess with determining which of the children is to blame. Anyone who participates in a brawl bears some of the blame.
  • Next, strive to create a “win-win” situation in which both children benefit. Instead of fighting over a single item, perhaps they might play a game with each other instead.
  • Remember that as children learn to deal with conflict, they are also developing life skills, such as respect for others’ points of view, compromise and negotiate, and restrain their violent impulses.

For more information regarding your children’s fights, you should consult your doctor, who will be able to decide whether or not the members of your family would benefit from professional assistance and provide you with contact information for local mental health services.

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