Sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up. All children need love and attention from their parents and parents need to reassure their children that they love each of them. Even when parents do their best at loving and respecting all of their children, the influence of siblings on one another can be enormous.
Brothers and sisters spend more time together during childhood than with their parents, particularly today when the majority of mothers work outside the home. If the siblings are close in age and/or the same gender, the greater the potential for intense relationships and the higher the degree of rivalry.
Sibling rivalry typically develops as siblings compete for their parents’ love and respect. It often continues throughout childhood and can be very frustrating and stressful to parents.
There are overarching sorts of factors and events that can be, ultimately, the root causes of any sibling rivalry. Knowing what these important factors and events are can help the parents to not only understand the causes of sibling rivalry, but also to deal with it more effectively.
It is very normal and natural for children to feel jealous at times. This attitude should be trained properly. Poor communication among siblings causes conflicts. Each child is unique and has very special qualities of its own. When lack of communication suppresses the needs of one child, it turns into sibling rivalry and hatred.
Psychologists believed that the sibling bond is complicated, fluid and influenced by many factors such as parental treatment, gender, genetics, life events, ethnic and generational patterns. Also, people and experiences outside the family all contribute to the success or failure of a particular sibling connection.
Research reveals that from one year on children are acutely sensitive of how they are treated in relation to their siblings. When a parent shows more love, gives more attention or is unable to monitor the goings-on between children, it is often the siblings and their connections that suffer.
Signs of sibling rivalry might include hitting, name-calling, bickering and immature behaviour. In older children, signs may include constant arguing, taking out frustration on objects, pets or other people, competing for friends, grades and sports, immature behavior and name calling.
Parents should not get too involved in their children’s arguments. The screaming might be driving you nuts, but avoid getting in the middle of an argument unless a child is in danger of getting hurt. Try to let your kids resolve their own issues.
Stepping in won’t teach your kids how to handle conflict and it could make it seem as though you are favouring one child over another — especially if you’re always punishing the same child. Parents cannot force children to get along, but they can teach them problem-solving skills and cooperation.
Here are some ways to manage sibling rivalry: Do not play favourites. Be fair and consistent. Children are like little lawyers, always demanding fairness, equality and fighting for what they perceive their natural born rights. Feelings of unfair treatment and sibling jealousy can lead to resentment.
Listen to your children’s needs. Spend time with your children to reassure them that they are loved. Avoid situations that may lead to jealousy. Don’t compare one child to another.
Although sibling rivalry can be reduced it is unlikely to be totally eliminated. In moderate doses, rivalry may be a healthy indication that each child is assertive enough to express his or her differences with other siblings.