If you have more than one child you know that one thing is certain – at some point, they will fight.
Depending on their personalities and your family circumstances, this may happen very rarely. Or very frequently. One way or the other, the only guarantee is that it will happen.
Given that sibling rivalry is a fact of life, what can you do to best deal with it?
Here are 3 Don’ts that parents should be aware of –
#1. Don’t Interfere
If you feel that one of your kids in real danger, then by all means go ahead and break it up.
But if it isn’t serious, don’t get involved.
When your kids fight and learn to deal with each other, they are learning and practicing valuable social skills and attitudes that will help them throughout their life. So step back and let them learn to sort it out.
What to do instead: Instead of breaking your kids fights teach them how to resolve conflict themselves – these skills will come in handy to them all their lives.
#2. Don’t play favorites
Sibling rivalry can sometimes be a manifestation of kids seeking the attention of their parents. When you side with one child, you increase the need of the other child to continue acting out to get that attention for themselves.
When siblings see each other as competition to parent’s attention, they will not be able to trust each other and develop the bond that will make them friends for life. In fact, studies have shown that when parents showed favoritism, the effects can last well into adulthood and even as adults, the siblings are more likely to fight.
What to do instead: Help your kids see each other as allies. Encourage cooperation instead of competition. Create a coherent atmosphere in the family where each person has a role and is equally loved and respected.
#3. Don’t compare the kids
No two people are alike or have similar capabilities. This is true with siblings as well. One may be good in academics while the other is good at sports.
Don’t compare them and point out the failures of one child relative to the other. If kids compare themselves to each other, don’t let this continue.
What to do instead: Help each child step out of the shadow of their siblings and see their own strengths. Make sure each child has their own special thing they are good at and are proud of both themselves and their siblings.
Sibling rivalry can rule your life and interfere with the peace and happiness in your family, if you let it. But you don’t have to. By taking a few simple actions, you can help your kids get along well and grow up to be friends for life.
Here is a great infographic for more about How to Effectively Deal With Sibling Rivalry
Sumitha Bhandarkar is the founder of AFineParent.Com. After a few years of feeling like a crappy mom, one day she had the epiphany that Great Parents are Made, Not Born. She started a community for parents like herself who want to become better parents. Now they are 21,000+ parents strong. Want to join them? Click here to signup and get their popular mini-course “How to Be a Positive Parent” for FREE.