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How to Tackle Sibling Rivalry

Things can get worrying if you find your children bickering a lot more than usual or if they can’t bear to be in the same room as each other. But there’s nothing some guidance and change in attitude cannot solve.

Admit it, we’ve all had those moments where we’ve wanted to punch our siblings in the face or banish them to an island, where they can never come back from. If there’s anyone who can push our buttons and test our limits, it’s our siblings. But hey, remember the moments you stayed up late with them watching movies, sneaking in snacks from the kitchen, playing hide and seek, tickling them until it really hurt or just talking? When they covered up for you in front of your parents and hugged you until it felt better? Nothing can replace those moments either. 

Getting straight to the point, our siblings are people we love and detest in equal measure but we definitely cannot do without them. Building a healthy relationship with one’s siblings is absolutely necessary because they ground us, support us and their love keeps us going. A sibling surely is one of the first few friends you make and also a part of the life-long ones. 

It’s also important to remember that sibling rivalry is inevitable. There’s no way you can get rid of it completely because it’s impossible for two individuals to like each other all the time, especially when they live in the same house. As children grow and evolve, they develop mechanisms to decide what they like and don’t like. Disagreements with one’s siblings is one of the earliest signs of a child taking control and finding their identity. 

Things can get worrying if you find your children bickering a lot more than usual or if they can’t bear to be in the same room as each other. But there’s nothing some guidance and  change in attitude cannot solve. Here are some tips to make sure that your children are not at each other’s throats constantly-

  1. KEEP CALM & CARRY ON: Rule of thumb is that children tend to get more aggressive when they grow up in environments where there’s a lot of anger. As your children watch you deal with things patiently, they try to adopt the same pattern. When you’re asked to referee a fight, don’t lose your cool instantly. Instead, monitor the situation patiently at first and then give your inputs. 
  1. TREAT YOUR CHILDREN FAIRLY, NOT EQUALLY: Read on before you roll your eyes. Not all siblings have the same age gap or function the same way. Some siblings are separated from each by quite some years and expecting them to have the same level of maturity and understanding might not be right. Siblings also behave differently which often can lead to one sibling getting the unfair advantage. Try to help them understand each other and set rules accordingly. 
  1. DON’T ENTERTAIN COMPLAINTS: Unless, one of your children sets the kitchen on fire or does something really nasty to the other, don’t engage in hearing complaints. Teach your children to reach resolutions amiably by guiding them on what’s right and what not. If at all one of them ends up repeating the same pattern, then intervention is required. 
  1. CELEBRATE THEIR INDIVIDUALITY: No child is the same as another child. Instead of comparing your children to each other, acknowledge their individual qualities and celebrate their wins. If one likes reading and the other likes dancing, be happy for both of them and try to be a part of their activities. This teaches children a valuable lifelong lesson; co-existence.
  1. NON-NEGOTIABLE FAMILY TIME:  No matter how busy you get, try to squeeze in some minutes with your children together. This teaches them the importance of family. Family dinners, board-game nights and movie marathons are highly underrated but they end up being some of the precious memories your children have of each other and as a family together. 
  1. LISTEN: Listening can be the most therapeutic tools you offer your child. Next time they try to tell you about how something made them feel, tune into their words without judgement. This allows space for their emotions and avoids fights caused due to pent-up frustration. 

With all of us staying indoors, we hope that these tips will be helpful for you in navigating some silly fights and lots of witty banter. 

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Author: Dhriti Sharan

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