Sibling rivalry: it’s a very well-known and proper way to describe something that can be at times emotionally taxing and even downright brutal! If you are fortunate enough to have siblings, you likely have some stories about how difficult it could be to get along with them at times (and even if you don’t believe it right now, you are fortunate to have siblings!) However, there’s good news: if you’re the parent of siblings, you don’t have to accept sibling rivalry as a fact of life. There are ways to turn sibling rivalry into sibling cooperation, and here are three of the best.
Lower the Overall Stress Level in Your Home
Kids can sense stress and emotional distress just like you can, and keeping a home that has lots of stress and bad feelings can result in behavioral issues in your children. These behavioral issues can include (you guessed it,) fighting with their siblings. If you feel like your kids are fighting a lot, zoom out and look at the big picture: is your home happy and relaxed? Is it a place where everyone can feel at ease? If after some honest introspection you decide the answer is “no,” work on changing the mood of your home first: you’ll be amazed how far that can go.
When You See Cooperation, Praise It
Kids often learn cooperation through the simple act of playing together, so when you see your kids doing it naturally, make sure you bring attention to it. Hearing positive reinforcement time and again will eventually make an impact. You can also encourage cooperation by doing activities that the whole family enjoys, like camping. Just stay positive even if things don’t go as planned (which of course, can and will happen a lot.)
Treat Them Like Equal Members of the Same Team
Sadly, a lot of sibling rivalry stems from one sibling feeling less valued, and there’s no sadder way for a kid to grow up. This may sound obvious, considering that you of course love your children the same, but make sure they can feel that equal love every day. One way to do this is to give them “team goals” to accomplish, even if they’re just chores. Also, make sure they understand that all successes are shared by the family, because every success is good for the family, no matter how big or small.
My name is Jessica Cox, and my goal is to help people overcome adversity and then raise children who can do the same. If you’re interested in having me speak at your next convention, meeting, or faith-based gathering, call me at 520-505-1359 or contact me on my website.