Worried about sibling rivalry? Then fear no more, as there are a number of ways to prevent your children from becoming enemies rather than the best friends that you originally hoped for. Sibling rivalry is common and occurs in most families. Yes, sibling conflict is natural and unavoidable but thankfully, there are several things that you can do to help your kids out when it rears its ugly head. Here are 10 tips for raising siblings without rivalry.
10 Never Too Early
A good thing to remember is that it is never too early to introduce your child to its future brother or sister. As soon as you are pregnant, make sure that your little one knows what is going on, from how long it will take to what will happen after.
Encourage them to talk to your future baby and refer to it as their little brother and sister. Try to include everyone when talking about family events and always speak positively of the latest addition around your child. This will help give your kid a sense that they are included and prevent any unwelcome jealousy when your baby arrives.
9 Try Not To Intervene
It is extremely easy to want to intervene at any given opportunity when your kids are fighting, but next time try resisting and seeing if they can resolve it themselves. Intervening can not only put you in the firing line from choosing sides, but it can also start a whole new argument, one that you don't want to be involved in. Try to ignore them (if it is only verbal of course) and tell them to take their fight into another room.
8 Fighting Is Normal
At the end of the day, fighting is normal and unavoidable throughout our whole lives. From the day we are born to the day we leave this earth, fighting will, unfortunately, become a natural part of our daily lives. Try to remember this when you feel you have had enough with regards to your warring children. Yes, they might be fighting all day long and, yes, it is probably driving you mad as well, but it won't last for long. It is also a good idea to let them know that fighting with siblings is normal and that they are not the only ones in the world who constantly argue with their brother or sister.
7 Family Meetings
Regular family meetings are a great way to catch up on the daily lives of your children as well as including them in your important decisions. For instance, try appointing different chores to your children week by week. This will give them some authority and something to be proud of, plus it means fewer jobs for you which is always a happy bonus.
They might also start respecting one another, again another happy bonus. Family meetings are also great for family bonding and can not only help strengthen the relationship you have with your children but also the relationship that they have with each other.
6 Fairness Not Equality
For some reason, several parental guide books are hell-bent on forcing parents to treat their kids equal at all times. But what happens when one kid is in the wrong? Equality, albeit a good idea in most cases, doesn't quite work with siblings and can end up doing more damage than good. For instance, if you try to be equal, there will always be one child who doesn't quite agree with your opinion on equality. Next time, take the fair road, such as more chores come with more privileges. This will help teach your kids the rights and wrongs of the world and how to deal with them.
5 Family Time
No matter how busy you are, family time is always extremely important. For instance, try incorporating a team spirit attitude to your family, a "we are all in this together type thing." This will help promote empathy and the instinctive bond that your kids might need to tune in to. Remember, home and family is the first place that kids learn from, therefore it is necessary to show your children that at the end of the day, home really is where the heart is. Plus, no matter how scary it might be, it is your responsibility to teach your children how to treat people, starting with the way they treat each other.
4 Ignore The Small Things
Siblings are always going to bicker, from when they are young to when they are eighty years old, it is something that is just always going to happen. Therefore, it is important to sometimes let them go at it, and ignore the small arguments that they might have.
For little squabbles, simply tell them that if they continue then they will receive a small punishment, preferably a punishment just as ridiculous as what the argument was about in the first place. Here, you are giving your children the chance to resolve their arguments by themselves, just make sure you go through with the punishment if they disobey.
3 One On One Time
Spending time as a family is very important, however, it is also necessary to spend some much-needed one on one time with your little ones too. Although this might initially cause arguments between your kids, along with screams of favoritism, it can be a great opportunity to talk with your kids privately and found out what is making them angry at their sibling or what their sibling does to annoy them. One on one time also makes your children feel that little bit special, which in turn will help with their self-confidence and self-esteem. As a result, the sibling rivalry will eventually turn into a sibling friendship due to them feeling positive about themselves.
2 Cooperation Over Competition
With a large brood, it can be extremely easy to set competitions and tasks to see who can finish first or who can run the fastest. Yes, we've all done it, "whoever brushes their teeth first will get a treat at the grocery store." However, in the long run, this can be a really bad idea. What most people don't realize is that they are forcing their children to compete with one another, which will then spill into their everyday lives and their behavior towards one another. In extreme circumstances, this can turn them "against each other" which can be difficult to get back from. Try telling them that they will get a special treat if they do something together, cooperating instead of competing.
At the end of the day, listening to your children is what is going to help the most when it comes to sibling rivalry, even if they are the ones in the wrong. If they have had a fight, take them aside one by one and ask them what happened. Make sure you let them say everything they want, even if they are blatantly lying. By doing this you are allowing your children to be heard, which is one of the best privileges in life. It is also important to teach them to be good listeners too, and that they must listen to you when they have finished talking.