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  • Marianne Breadner

Sibling Rivalry

Parents are often frustrated when their children taunt, tease, and fight with each other. Kids will tell their parents that their brother or sister gets treated better than they do and that isn't fair to them. Parents will often let their kids try to “sort it out on their own” but this is a chance when skills related to conflict resolution can be taught.

Kids will “play fight” with each other but this often ends up in tears. Let the kids “play wrestle” but with guidelines such as inflicting pain, making them cry, etc. is not acceptable. Punching, kicking, and throwing objects at each other is not okay and should be consequenced. Kids know these aggressive actions are not allowed at school and home is also a violence free zone. If physical violence is something that continues it is important to seek Counselling to deal with this.

Parents need to recognize and celebrate each child’s strength. For example, one child may do well in school while another is talented in music. Never compare one child to another as this fuels competition between siblings. Explain to your kids that they may have different rules or expectations due to age; such as a 10 year old having a later bedtime than her 7 year old brother.

Most importantly, try to spend even a few minutes a day individually with each child talking about their day and celebrating their successes.

Let your kids know you love them for the unique person they are and even though they are part of the family, they have their own individual set of strengths and qualities.

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