Sibling Rivalry

By Julia Gorham


Sibling rivalry is impossible to ignore and can be heart breaking to observe. Acting as a referee in the duel between your your offspring is not easy. The most important thing to remember is that you do not let yourself get caught in the crossfire.

Don’t compare:

Go out of your way to praise your children for their diverse talents, unique qualities and strengths.

Draw up guidelines:

No matter how well disciplined your children, conflicts will arise, so it is best if you teach children how to handle them from an early age. Children need to know the golden rules, no hitting, bad language or labelling. Children who have been taught to argue in a civilised manner will also have the edge as adults. Of course, it also vital that you as the parent, obey the same rules.

Don’t rush to interfere:

Conflict resolution is not an instant skill, and it can take years to develop these abilities. Rather remain an outside arbitrator than a hands on referee.

Don’t try to establish blame:

Siblings often drive us crazy with their tattle-telling and whinging. The mistake we make with them is siding with them about these unimportant issues. If my children griped about the other, I would hold them both accountable. Both are sent to their rooms, on the spot. It works like a charm, because they have time to cool off.

Sing their praises:

If you praise your children often they won’t have to fight for praise. The more you praise your children, the more they will feel extra special as individuals.


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