It is always great to have a brother or a sister. Siblings complement each other in ways that cannot be explained.. However, life is not always easy with a sibling. All of us, who have a brother or a sister, will testify to this fact. Remember the times when you and your sibling were best friends and then in a blink were squabbling away! The dynamics of this relationship are very unpredictable.
Despite a parent’s wish, it is very common for brothers and sisters to fight, annoy and argue with each other. The fights could be anything like verbal, physical or psychological clashes. Many a times though, these are very petty issues and usually get sorted without the need of too much of parental intervention. But, at times it gets very frustrating for a parent to handle these annoying squabbles time and again.
To keep the sanity of parents intact, here are some surefire ways to keep sibling rivalry at bay. Although it can never be eradicated as this is a very normal behavioral pattern and the best thing would be to accept it.
- Empathy – Many a times, it happens that as parents we tend to oversee the fact that children too, need to be heard. We casually dismiss their approaches by terming them as complaints and nagging and in the course of this, the child feels hurt. A different way to deal with this could be to acknowledge the fact that the child is upset. Listen to them, make them understand that you relate to them and be empathetic. It will do wonders to the child who is upset.
- To stay neutral – Children are sensitive beings. They get offended and hurt very easily. If you have 2 or more kids and if one of the child feels neglected or if there is a preference given to a child then it is time to stop it. The other child becomes insecure and fights could stem due to this behavior. It is best to listen to everything that the kids have to say about a squabble and go with the right solution instead of the kid who is right. It makes a lot of difference to the child’s self-esteem.
- Emphasize on sharing – Sit with your kids and make them understand that it is important to have things of their own but, it is also vital to share it with each other. Children nowadays are very intelligent. Even children as young as 2.5 and 3 years understand what we try to communicate to them if, done in a right way. In spite of explaining if they still bicker amongst themselves over a particular toy or object; the best thing to do would be to take it away. By doing this, they get the message that if they cannot make peace with each then none of them can have the toy.
- Motivators – Fighting children can be a disaster to handle. With older children, the fighting is mostly verbal and many a times it happens that one child ends up saying something really mean or spiteful to their sibling. The trauma of a verbal comment lasts long. In this case, parents can do this fun activity which dissipates anger amongst the children. For every negative remark made, there has to be 3 good or funny things stated. Try this out and see how the scenario changes instantly. This activity is a tried and tested mood changer.
- Teach them to work it out – A good way to sort sibling rivalry issues is to teach them to deal with their differences. It may seem tough at the beginning but, when parents stop intervening and let them apply it they end up learning a thing a two on sorting their differences. This however, applies only in case of older children.
In spite of these pointers, parents need to remember that sibling rivalry will always exist despite any number of attempts to curb it. It is a very normal behavior amongst children and even adults sometimes.