Sibling Rivalry

About Sibling Rivalry

Any parent with more than one child knows that children can become jealous of each other and will compete not only for their parents affection, but for various other reasons.

We believe that a certain amount of competition between siblings is normal and healthy, however many problems can arise when the competition becomes too intense or destructive in nature.

What To Do About It

First, be careful not to demonstrate a special preference for one child or to identify with one child to other people. Children pick up on this.  On the other hand, it is OK to express such preference on special occasions, such as birthdays, provided you make each child special on such days.

A child’s temperament is considered to have three components, emotional intensity, activity level and sociability. On a day to day basis, you may find that each child needs a different level of support in each component than the others.  Make sure that you are aware of when they notice the different levels, and make sure that you spend quality time with each child.

Unless there is danger of physical harm, don’t interfere with competitive spats. You want to avoid the situation where one sibling is waiting for you to come to the rescue each time.  If you do have to step in, try to resolve the situation with your kids not for them. (An interesting technique in helping your children to solve problems, is to make it clear, that if you have to step in, then neither sibling will be happy about it…)