Sibling Rivalry is a very important word in the dictionary of parents who have more than one child and the children do not get along too well. It is a very common feature in many families where one child is more dominant than the other and the other child thinks that he is not loved by his family members as much as his other sibling is. This creates jealousy amongst the siblings. Normally when the siblings compete with one another as to who is better in sports or studies etc. and who is the one who can impress the parents more , there are traces of sibling rivalry . It also starts when there are personality clashes, attention tactics and favourism by the parents. Sibling Rivalry is something which should be handled very meticulously. The children should not get that feeling that the parent is trying to resolve the brewing rivalry. How to stop siblings fighting ?
Prepare for the Birth :
Before the birth of your second child you have to prepare your elder one for it. Make him feel important as an elder brother. Tell him that the baby is being brought for him so that when the baby grows up they could be best of friends. Take him along the journey of your pregnancy. Allow him to feel the baby kicking below the bulge. Tell him how you felt when you were expecting him. Pictures of him as a baby can be shown to him so he knows exactly what to expect of his little sibling.
When you come home from the hospital be sure that you have given the elder one some responsibility of welcoming the little one. Reward him for the work done. See to it that Day one is very comfortable for the elder one. Do not focus only on the baby. This is the age when somebody else can also be with the baby. You as a mother will be required to be with the baby only when you need to feed.
Make Provision for gifts:
When ever there is a newborn in a family, friends and relatives visit . They bring gifts for the baby. There are people who bring gifts for the elder one too. But all do not. This is something that you should handle with care as this is the first step towards rivalry. Bring gifts for the elder one and keep then in reserve so that when friends and relatives lavish the new born with gifts, you can give a gift each time to the older one.
Make your elder one responsible for unwrapping the gifts and showing then to his younger sibling. He will happily do that for you. Tell him that he should teach the younger one how to play with the rattles and other play toys when his sibling grows up a little.
Allow Sibling Bonding:
Every morning have a fixed time for your two kids to bond with each other. Let them be with each other under your supervision. Show the elder one how he has to handle his little sibling. He will surely learn fast and soon the bond between them will be unseparable.
Role of Teacher:
As the children grow up give the elder one the feeling that he should teach skills he is good at to the younger one. Make him feel important as an elder brother. The younger one will also look up to him.
Give “ ME “ time:
Give some of your time totally to the elder one. Make him feel that you love him too and want to spend quality time with him. Otherwise he may not voice it but may feel that all the time the focus is the younger one.
All the time if you make your elder one do duties for his sibling, he will be bored and may just feel forced to do it as he may not want to hurt you. Parent realization in this matter is very important. Give him some new and interesting activities to do. He will be very happy as now he is your focus. Let him know verbally that you love him very much.
Make both kids Responsible for their behavior:
When the kids grow up make some rules in the house. Each child will be responsible for his own behavior towards others or amongst themselves. SO if one or both of them behaves badly ,give them punishments like they will not have any Television time and will have to go to bed early.
Give them space:
If the children are fighting over unneccesary things, separate them. See that you calm them down. Explain to them later on after they are calm and cool why this fighting was unnecessary. If you do it immediately the fighting may restart and it may also escalate.
Make new games:
If you feel that the kids are fighting over the same toys they you can make a new game for them where both can play with the toy at the same time. This will excite them as well as they will make peace between themselves.
Do not blame any one child for the fights. It takes two hands to clap so you as a parent should speak to each child separately as discussing the issue together will escalate matters. Try and understand where all this started from. Become a good judge and solve the problem to the satisfaction of both the children. Nobody should feel that you are favouring the other.
Do not compare:
Comparing two children is the worst step a parent can take. Each child is an individual and is unique. So their attitudes, reactions and how they handle things will be different. Give each child time to do thing at their own pace. Just because the other child is faster , do not keep saying it. It will demotivate this child and he may lose the will to do the work told.
Sibling Rivalry certainly creates a lot of stress in the house. But if the parents handle it carefully it will help them to bond better and We as parents should understand that Sibling Rivalry is a way of Love.