Raising children means dealing with a multitude of child behavior problems. Children go through every emotional possible growing up and many times will test their caretakers along the way. One of the most challenging child behavior issues I have dealt with when dealing with my children is sibling rivalry.
My daughters are very close now but when they were younger, there was frequent sibling jealously and figuring out how to minimize it was not always easy for me. I felt like dealing with the sibling jealously was a constant pull between my head and heart. I knew that my children were treated equally and fairly but yet I also knew that each daughter did not feel that way and it was my job to make each one feel secure in their relationship with each other and also me.
The sibling rivalry involved an array of words and actions. Sometimes my girls would call each other names and sometimes the names escalated into physical fighting. When the physical fighting would happen, it made me feel like I was out of control as a parent, and I felt like these child behavior issues were more than I could handle.
I knew there was a lot of sibling jealousy between my daughters so as time when on and my daughters grew older, I focused on what I could do to minimize the behavior problems. It was all trial and error for me; I tried different methods and techniques with the sibling rivalry, and although it was never perfect, I really felt like I was able to improve the situation between my daughters and ultimately my relationship with my daughters.
Luckily, now my girls as adults can laugh about the sibling jealously issues that arose when they were young and we often reminisce about the days of the sibling rivalry. However, there may be situations in a family where professional help is needed to work through the child behavioral issues and if as a parent, dealing with the sibling jealously issues seems to be too much, it is really important and in the best interest of everyone involved to seek professional help.
Here are the parenting tips I used to minimize the sibling rivalry between my daughters:
Parenting Tip #1: Being Equal Does Not Mean Getting the Same
One of the most important parenting tips I learned with raising my daughters, and it helped with the sibling jealously, was getting it through my mind and especially my daughter’s minds that being equal does not mean that each daughter should receive exactly the same. Being fair to my daughters means giving them what each needs individually and their needs are different.
Parenting Tip #2: Spend Time Individually With Each Child
I have found that spending individual time with each daughter also helped with the sibling rivalry. Time alone with each daughter gave them the time to talk to me about things that were going well and not so well in their lives. It also gave my daughters the chance to talk to me about things that may be bothering them at home and if they may be feeling any jealously towards their sister. My daughters really appreciated alone time with me because they were able to bond with me individually and it was also a chance for them to get a break from each other.
Parenting Tip #3: Try to Get to the Root of the Problem
When my daughters would get into an argument and start having jealously issues with each other, I found that talking to them and trying to find out why they were having problems seemed to help because the three of us work together to try and solve the problem together. The girls each felt as though they were part of the solution and I felt like I was helping them to get along better and we all felt empowered.
Parenting Tip #4: Understand That Sibling Jealously is Inevitable
It is important to acknowledge and understand that sibling jealously is a part of life and some of the jealously rivalry is a matter of siblings working out their relationship with each other. There is a fine line between typical sibling jealously and rivalry and excessive sibling jealously and rivalry. As a parent, figuring out how to referee sibling rivalry in a diplomatic manner is helpful for the children in having healthy differences.
Being a parent is not easy and every family with multiple children will experience some type of sibling jealously, but managing the sibling rivalry is possible if the family finds the parenting tips and techniques that work best with the child behavior problems in their specific home.