Are you tired of seeing your kids fight with each other over small issues?
Do you feel frustrated and tired of breaking up fights between your children?
Do you feel stressed when you come back home because your children are fighting all the time?
Are you confused about why they are fighting in the first place?
Sibling rivalry is a very common part of every household. Even though your children love each other, you may still see them quarrel each and every day. This can be extremely confusing, frustrating and worrisome, all at the same time, and it may be adding to your stress as a parent. But it is important to remember that sibling rivalry among children is normal, and there are ways in which you can make things better. In order to know how to help the situation, it’s vital to know the reason(s) why your kids are fighting with each other.
Sibling rivalry could be the result of one or more of these reasons:
- Bringing in a new family member: Children may take time to adapt to having another child in the household. They may fear getting lesser attention from the parents. They may also be confused about how to share their lives with a new sibling. It is thus, important for the parent to sit down with the elder child and explain the new living situation to them in clear and simple terms. Make sure that you clear their doubts and concerns, no matter how trivial they are (for example, if the child asks you whether he has to start sharing his toys with his new brother). Start talking to your child about this early on, in order to facilitate the development of a healthy bond between the siblings.
- Children have different temperaments: Another reason why siblings start fighting is because they are at different developmental stages in their lives. This means that each of them have different priorities and needs at their ages. For example, the elder son may have started becoming possessive over his toys because he has become attached to them. When the younger child tries to play with the same toys, the elder child gets angry. However, the younger child does not understand why because he is not yet attached to his belongings like his brother. As the parent, you can make both children understand their differing desires, and help them come to a level of compromise.
- Healthy competition: Siblings often strive for independence and individuality. They want to have separate identities from each other. This pushes them to compete with each other in many aspects. They may try to achieve individual talents, skills and interests, which set them apart from their sibling. A healthy level of competition is beneficial for the child, but you as a parent should ensure that the competitive spirit is not misused or given too much importance, so much so that it causes barriers between the siblings.
- Learning from examples: Some siblings tend to fight in order to resolve conflicts. They may have picked up this method of problem solving from the parents themselves. In the home environment, if parents tend to use aggression as a method of solving problems, it is likely that the children will imitate the behavior with their siblings as well. So keep a close watch on how you resolve conflicts, not just with your spouse, but also with your children and with other family members.
While these factors may play a major role in the development of sibling rivalry, it is important to remember that sibling rivalry is also a sign that each child is able to express clearly what he/she wants, and that he/she has the drive and motivation to achieve the goal. It is indeed a challenging task to put an end to sibling rivalry, and is often exhausting, but most often, the fighting dies down as the children become more mature and are able to solve problems in a healthier way.
If you feel that your children’s rivalry seems to be getting out of hand (i.e., if it is causing physical or emotional harm to the children), you could reach out to a professional for help. Parenting On Demand is a platform where you can connect to counselors directly. Our experts will be able to help you identify the source of the problems, and can give you useful tips on how to curb sibling rivalry. So go ahead and give us a chance, as we can help you help your children.