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Tips for Dealing with Sibling Rivalry



Sibling rivalry is very common among brothers and sisters. It can start from a young age and continue into adulthood if not properly addressed. Rivalry stems from siblings competing for their parents’ attention and fighting over toys, space, privileges, etc. While a bit of competition is normal, ongoing intense rivalry can be detrimental to them and everyone else around them. Here are some tips to help parents manage sibling rivalry:

Encourage Cooperation

Parents and foster carers should promote a sense of teamwork and cooperation among siblings from an early age, or if you are fostering with Fostering People, from when the siblings arrive in your home. Simple activities like working on a puzzle together teaches them to work toward a common goal. Praise them when they get along and resolve conflicts peacefully. Highlight the positives of having a sibling, like having a playmate and lifelong friend.

Treat Children Equally

While siblings may have different interests and personalities, parents and foster carers should avoid comparing or favoring one over the other. Make sure children have equal privileges, responsibilities and rules. Explain that fair doesn’t always mean equal – some differences are ok based on age, abilities, etc. But be reasonable and don’t show preferential treatment.

Spend One-on-One Time

Set aside regular one-on-one time with each child. Doing special activities together makes them feel loved and secure. It also gives them your undivided attention. Listen to their thoughts and feelings. Building a personal bond reduces jealousy between siblings.

Manage Fights Wisely

Don’t criticise or take sides in sibling arguments. Calmly intervene, listen to both perspectives and help them find a resolution. Teach them to use “I feel…” statements to express themselves. Avoid hurtful words and physical aggression. Time-outs can defuse heated moments. Praise efforts to get along or compromise.

Help Children Develop Independent Identities

While siblings share a family identity, each child needs to cultivate their own interests and skills. Encourage them to take different classes, play different sports, pursue different hobbies or join different social groups. This gives them a sense of uniqueness. Appreciate their differences and reinforce their individuality.

Accept Some Rivalry

Parents and foster carers needn’t intervene in every minor quarrel between siblings. As long as there is no physical harm and children can work things out amicably, it’s ok to let them learn how to handle small conflicts. A degree of competition in things like academics, sports or creativity can motivate them to excel. An element of rivalry is normal and may lessen as kids mature.

Be a Good Role Model

Parents influence how siblings relate to each other. Avoid criticising or comparing your children in their presence. Also, be respectful and show compromise with your spouse, extended family and friends. Kids are likely to imitate attitudes and behaviors they observe at home. Cultivate warmth and support among family members.

Parents can easily minimise sibling clashes and foster positive bonds between children with just a little patience and wisdom. While it takes effort, the rewards of raising kids who truly care for and support each other are invaluable. The sibling relationship is likely to be the longest and most enduring connection in a person’s life.


I'm Nikos Alepidis, blogger at motivirus. I'm passioned for all things related to motivation & personal development. My goal is to help and inspire people to become better.

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