If you have more than one child, then you understand that sibling rivalry can be a huge frustration and challenge. From the moment your second (or third, fourth, etc) child is born, sibling rivalry will begin as your children naturally start to compete for your attention. There isn’t anything you can do to prevent it. Thankfully, there are a few things we can do to reduce sibling rivalry.
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Tips to Reduce Sibling Rivalry
Think about what it is like for the oldest child in a family when they have had all of mom and dad’s attention for their entire life and then another little person joins the family and takes a lot of that attention away. Suddenly mom and dad are more busy than before and if a child thinks they are losing their parents attention they will do whatever it takes to get it back. Just think about the last time you tried to take a phone call or even slip off to the bathroom alone. You end up with kids at your feet needing your RIGHT NOW!
With competition comes fighting and fights are started by the silliest of things but can quickly escalate into a full on war. With four boys under one roof, I experience this almost daily. In the book, If I Have to Tell You One More Time…: by Amy McCready, Amy talks about what we can do to reduce sibling rivalry.
Don’t Compare or Label Children
When we compare or label our children as smart, shy, slow, wild, naughty, etc we can create a spirit of competition in our homes without even meaning to. Children start to compare themselves with their siblings. When we label our children we may start to treat them differently and siblings will notice. If one child is “smart” that must mean the others aren’t (or at least that is how they will see it) Or, if we have a child who we know is very responsible and we always give them responsibilities, the others will start to see them as our “favorite”. Removing the labels we put on our children will go a long way to reducing sibling rivalry.
Make Sure Each Child Feels That They Belong
When our children know of their importance in our family, they will no longer feel the need to compete. Take time each day and twice per day if possible to spend a few minutes of one-on-one time with each of your children. When they have that uninterupted time with you, they won’t feel the need to compete for your attention at other times throughout the day.
Let each child in your family know that they are a valuable piece of your family’s puzzle. Give them responsibilities at home and encourage them to do their best. Giving children the opportunity to contribute to your family will give them a sense of belonging and independence. Using encouragement liberally will allow for your child to know that they are a valued member of the family and will reduce their need to compete with siblings.
For more ideas on Sibling Rivalry and how to get kids to listen to you without nagging, reminding or yelling I highly recommend If I Have to Tell You One More Time…: by Amy McCready.
What are some ways that you are reducing Sibling Rivalry in your home?
This post is a part of our series 31 Days of Tips for Raising Boys. Each day throughout the series we are discussing a different topic regarding raising boys. I’d love for you to follow along and share this series with other parents of boys who may need some support or just to hear that they aren’t alone in their journey of raising boys.