Sibling Rivalry: What Mistakes Parents Do and How to Help Older Sibling

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Siblings who may view themselves as enemies are obviously having a hard time getting along with each other.  This growing sibling rivalry may become a major problem among families. Fighting and disagreements don’t just stop in childhood stage.  This condition may become worse as sibling rivalry continues to grow until they reach the adulthood life. 

Opposition against each other is a never-ending issue in a family relationship.  Consequently, a sibling rivalry gives stress and pressures to the children as well as to the parents.

Dealing with sibling rivalry

Many children can immediately adjust to a new member of the family.  However, their disagreeing relationship may still continue and this is a normal phenomenon. Parents may worsen the situation as they put more time and attention to the other child. Time and care is divided and the new child certainly gets more devotion compared to the older one. The older child is expected to see the changes and start feeling jealous.  Over time, he starts to feel he’s ousted. This becomes the substance of a budding sibling rivalry.

What mistakes parents do?

1.   Paying no attention to the severe sibling rivalry and taking such as a normal condition.

2.   Not training both kids to resolve fights.

3.   Failing to demonstrate right skills in coping with sibling rivalry.

4.   Regularly taking sides.  One child receives more favor over the other.

5.  Unreasonable expectations from the older child.

6.  Reprimanding the older child more often due to rivalry.

7.  Too much spoiling or cuddling of the younger child.   

8.  No consistent attention, support, caring for the older child.

9.  Failing to teach anger management, self-control and long patience.

10. Frequently putting all the blame on the older child without valid reasons.

Helping to adjust sibling rivalry

What parents should do in order to cope with potential rivalry?  They are to encourage the older child to get involved in the younger child’s life starting from birth onwards.

Prior to birth, get the participation of the older child in order to avoid the advent of sibling rivalry.  Give simple responsibilities such organizing the baby’s toys, clothes, crib, pictures, etc.  Read fun and interesting books—about waiting for a new baby—that will excite the child.

Once the new sibling is born, parents should increase the amount of responsibility given to the older child: to love, hug, and kiss the newborn.  Teach him to consider the needs and feelings of the new sibling.  Help him comfort the baby and be nice to him always to resolve sibling rivalry.

How should parents mediate?

Parents play an important role is dealing with the serious sibling rivalry.  Quarreling children may also result to severe emotional IQ that deals with psychological and social behaviors. So as they fight, parents can use this opportunity to train them to face and resolve the issues. 

Use sibling rivalry to help them solve disagreements, assert themselves properly, and manage bad emotions.  This situation will be good opportunities to appreciate the other sibling’s perspective and to sympathize with him.  Sibling rivalry would have been developed into a bad habit if parents had not intervened in their lives. If the conflict is not solved immediately, it will have a bad effect on the social life of the child—in school and community.

In conclusion, sibling rivalry has a great craving for love and attention from parents.  You can address the needs of your older child by not closing your eyes to him.  Keep on spending special times as much as you do with his new sibling.  Continue to provide unconditional love, routines and activities you used to have before.  Out of this sibling rivalry should both of them learn values, respect, self- control, and conquering impulses. Parents should do something about the fighting kids or sibling rivalry will last for a lifetime.

Sibling Rivalry: What Mistakes Parents Do and How to Help Older Sibling   is a post on Modern Parenting Tips: Styles & Approach to Train & Discipline Children

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