How to deal with sibling rivalry

Little kids have loads of disagreements. Parents with more than one child, usually deal with at least 3 squabbles each day! It can be a case of both kids wanting the same train or a fight about who gets to play with it first. And there’s lots of yelling, kicking, crying, screaming, tantrums, and more, forcing you to step in.

Well, most kids are not aware or conscious of the rude things they say or do. The moment you say don’t do something, they all want to do it and that too at once! They are curious, eager, and explorative. So how can we keep these qualities alive while trying to cut down on the fights or better still help them resolve it themselves? Here are some tips:

Try to be fair and not equal.
Kids seem drawn towards equality – ‘he got three I got one or ‘hers is big and mine is small’. Well, when this happens, we tend to keep portion sizes similar or get similar toys and try to equalize as well. But remember that we need to be fair and not equal. A toy meant for a 7-year-old is not meant for a 3-year-old and it’s our job to make them understand that. It’s fair for an older child to go to bed a little later than the younger one.

Once we stop worrying about being equal, kids accept it and understand the reasoning behind it. A younger child perfectly understands why mommy is spending more time with her big sister, helping with her homework.

Help them resolve the issue and don’t judge.
It is best when siblings learn to resolve issues on their own and we are just facilitators of the process. Don’t take sides during an argument. Listen to both their points of view and make each of them understand the other’s perspective. ‘Anne said she only wanted to play with you when she grabbed your homework book’ ‘John wanted to finish his homework first before he got tired playing with you the rest of the afternoon’ Now that they know each other’s points of view, let them decide whether one should be patient or the other should reschedule their homework.

Resolving issues themselves, helps kids perceive others’ feelings. Which is a great start to having good, longstanding relationships in the future.

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