SIBLING RIVALRY – Sibling Rivalry Psychology – Causes Of Sibling Rivalry
Sibling rivalry is the jealousy, competition and fighting between brothers and sisters. Some children are lucky to become best friends with their siblings. It is very common for siblings to adore and detest. Brothers and sisters fight-itʼs just the ebb and flow of family life. Different personalities and ages can play a role but siblings also often see themselves as rivals, competing for an equal share of limited family resources (bathroom, telephone, TV, last piece of cake) and parental attention.
Sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up. It can drive parents crazy. Children are like little lawyers, always demanding fairness and equality and fighting for what they perceive are their natural-born rights. This kind of rivalry starts even before the second child is born and continues as the kids grow and compete for everything from toys to attention. As kids reach different stages of development, their evolving needs can significantly affect how they relate to one another.
Itʼs very upsetting and at times frustrating to watch kids fight for petty things. Yet itʼs very hard to stop them. At least you can take steps to promote peace and help children to get along.
What causes sibling rivalry?
- Each child is competing to define who he or she is as an individual. As they discover who they are, they try to find their own talents, activities and interests. They want to show that they are separate from their siblings.
- Children feel they are getting unequal amounts of your attention and responsiveness.
Evolving needs – causes Of sibling rivalry
itʼs rather natural for kids changing needs, anxieties and identities to affect how they relate to one another. Toddler are very possessive with their toys. When brother touches or takes her toy toddler reacts aggressively to his action. While school going kid brother may wonder why such preference is given by parents to the little toddler and may think it as unfair. A teenager on the other hand, might resent helping with household or other responsibilities like taking care of the younger brother etc.
- Children may feel their relationship is threatened by the arrival of a new baby.
- Your childrenʼs developmental stages affect how mature they are and how well they share your attention and get along with one another.
- Children may not know positive ways to get attention from or start playful activities with a brother or sister, so they pick fights instead.
- Family dynamics play a role. For example, one child may remind a parent or a relative who was particularly difficult and this may subconsciously influence how the parent treats that child.
- Stress in your lives can decrease the amount of time and attention parents can give the children and increase the sibling rivalry.
Children often fight more in families where parents think aggression and fighting between siblings is a normal and an acceptable way to resolve conflicts.
- Not having time to share regular, enjoyable family time together (like family meals) can increase the chances of kids engaging in conflicts.
- Stress in your childrenʼs lives can shorten their fuses and decrease their ability to tolerate frustration, leading to more conflict.
- How parents treat their children and react to conflict can make a big difference in how well siblings get along.
WHAT TO DO WHEN RIVALRY STARTS – Tips To Deal With Sibling Rivalry
Fighting between siblings may be a common issue but it is not certainly pleasant for anyone else in the house. A family can only tolerate a certain amount of conflict.
So what can we do when the fight really begins?
Donʼt get involved unless it is absolutely necessary. Step in only if thereʼs a danger of physical harm. If you always intervene, you risk creating other problems. The kids may expect you to rescue all the time. They will be waiting for you to solve every time, rather than solving the problems themselves. You will inadvertently become the saviour of one and the other will feel neglected. That would foster much resentment. By the same token, rescued kids may feel they can get away with anything because theyʼre protected. If the language or name calling is a problem, youʼve to talk and coach the child when they are calm. This is different from intervening or stepping in and separating the kids. Always encourage the kids to resolve the crisis themselves. If you want you can resolve the problems with your kids, not for them.
Helping kids to get along better – Tips To Deal With Sibling Rivalry
- Set ground rules for acceptable behaviour. Tell the kids to refrain from hitting, cursing, name calling, yelling, and door-slamming. Solicit their inputs on the rules as well as the consequences when they break them. This teaches kids that they are responsible for their own actions, regardless of the situation or how provoked they feel, and discourages any attempts to negotiate regarding who was right or wrong.
- Donʼt let the children force you to think that everything has to be ʻfairʼ and ʻequalʼ. Sometimes one kid needs more than the other.
- Be proactive in giving your kids one-on-one attention directed to their interests and needs.
- Make sure kids have their own space and time to do their own stuff without the sibling tagging along.
- Make sure kids understand since, for you, love is not something that comes with limits.
- Let them know that they are safe, important and loved; their needs will be met.
- Have fun together as a family. This can help ease tensions between siblings. Parental attention is something many fights spring from.
Donʼt play favourites – Tips To Deal With Sibling Rivalry
- Donʼt compare your children.
- Let each child be who they are. Donʼt try to pigeon-hole or label them.
- Enjoy each of your childrenʼs individual talents and successes.
- Set you kids to cooperate rather than compete with can other.
- Teach your children positive ways to get attention from each other. Show them how to approach another child and ask them to play and share their belongings and toys.
- Celebrate your childrenʼs differences.
- Let each child know they are special in their own way.
- Listen – really listen – to how your children feel about whatʼs going on in the family. They may not be so demanding if they know you at least care how they feel.
When to take professional help Seek – help for sibling conflict – Tips To Deal With Sibling Rivalry
- Is so severe that itʼs leading to marital problems.
- Creates a real danger of physical harm to any family member
- Is damaging to the self-esteem or psychological well-being of any family member.
- May be related to other significant concerns, such as depression. If something is bothering about the fights always talk to your doctor. The doctor can guide you. “Itʼs not the years in your life that count. Itʼs the life in your years.”