Sorting sibling rivalry can be a very demanding process, especially when it is between 2 strong-headed kids.
Sibling rivalry is inevitable when there is more than one child at home. And you as a parent can surely feel exhausted and worn out trying to calm them down. Feelings of anger, irritation, agitation, powerlessness, and overwhelm can overpower you. But once you have accepted this inevitable situation you will be in a stronger position to manage it.
Research reveals that kids generally fight either:
- to get attention from you,
- or out of boredom,
- or to feel powerful and
- sometimes just to be a favoured one in your eyes.
So, instead of getting overwhelmed with this information, allow me to share with you 3 highly powerful tricks to settle the sibling rivalry and build a healthy connection between them.
1. Use the time-outs wisely
Firstly, at the outbreak of a conflict or a fight, please help your children calm down. The easiest way to take action against sibling rivalry is to model calm and patient behaviour yourself. You can then address the situation by allowing each child to express his side of the story. You can monitor the conversation and help them arrive at a consensus while ensuring either of them are not raising their voice or are beating each other. This helps them to engage in a conflict resolution process, and they learn more by working out the problem with each other.
2. Cheer their positive attributes:
Every child is unique, and this has to be acknowledged. Each one’s needs, feelings, and perspectives, although different, are equally important. Let sibling rivalry not dampen their individual spirit. Celebrate their differences and lose the labels that you may put on them. Often in times of conflict, intentionally or unintentionally, you end up taking sides and comparing them. The comparisons fuels their rivalry at a sub-conscious level, making them feel inferior, initiating an unnecessary power struggle among them.
3. Encourage a healthy relationship:
Fights and quarrels caused due to sibling rivalry should not be used as an opportunity to blame or punish the child. This does not help the situation at all. Also, do not force a behavior onto them. You just need to insist that they treat each other respectfully. While you give older children responsibilities, also give them privileges. This motivates them to act responsibly and ignore the provocative behaviour of the younger sibling.
Conflict resolution is an extremely important skill set. While as a parent you may feel burdened and overwhelmed handling sibling rivalry but think of the benefits that these situations may bring. When you instil these tactics in your children, they will learn to deal with power struggles that are existing in every aspect of life. They will encounter them as they grow up. At the same time, they will learn when to be assertive, negotiate and stand up for their position.
During resolving sibling rivalry, you need to reassure them that you are doing your best to meet each of their unique needs. As a consequence, they will learn to work their way out with each other and build a deeper connection amongst them.