Sibling rivalry can occur from a very young age and it can often go on through the teen years. Sibling rivalry during the teen years is often far more volatile than it is when the children are young. Teenagers will often intentionally do things to hurt their brother or sister out of spite because of the jealousy between the two of them. This could even mean sabotaging their relationships. That isn’t something that you have to deal with when the children are younger.
A Parents Survival Guide to Teen Sibling Rivalry
Favoritism- One of the biggest reasons for teen sibling rivalry is that parents have a tendency to show favoritism of one child over the other. As a parent, avoiding favoritism is one of the best ways to keep teen sibling rivalry to a bare minimum. Pay attention to what you say and do in front of your teen children. You may not even realize that you are playing favorites with your teenagers until you really listen to what you are saying. When you are able to catch those times that you are playing favorites, you can stop doing it. It’s about breaking the habit.
Comparison Between Siblings- Parents often compare one sibling with the other when talking about achievements and the like. Although this could be considered favoritism, it is also a separate entity that needs to be addressed. When you are talking to your teenager about his/her problem area, avoid phrases such as “We didn’t have this problem with your sister, if she can do it, so can you”. These are very important phrases to “delete” from your vocabulary. Comparisons cause more sibling rivalry, the very thing you are trying to survive with your teenagers.
Let them Work it Out- Instead of constantly stepping in and making it look as though you are taking sides, it is better to let the siblings work their problems out amongst themselves. You may not always be able to accomplish that feat, but letting them work out their problems between themselves will allow them to become closer in the end. Train yourself to step away from certain problems so that your teenagers can learn to cope without interference. This will take an unbelievable amount of stress off you so that you can survive the teenage sibling rivalry years with greater ease.
Communication- Communication is one of the most important things that families can do together. When it comes to sibling rivalry, you want to make sure that is what it is and what the competition is all about. It might not be jealousy over parenting issues. It could be school issues or just about anything else. Find out what it is and try to find a solution to it. For instance: One brother is upset that the other brother is getting all the attention because he is a big football hero at the school. Instead of having the sibling rivalry, the first brother could join a different sport where he could shine. The teen sibling rivalry will be all but gone at that point. Sometimes, it only takes a talk and some understanding. Coming up with an idea to take away the jealousy is the most important thing.
There has been sibling rivalry from the very beginning of time. Cain and Abel didn’t fare well with it. You can cope as a parent through these tough times by using a little bit of common sense, knowing when to back away and knowing when to change your own actions to alleviate the jealousy that can occur between siblings. Teenage sibling rivalry is unique from the younger ages because at this point, the siblings have already formed opinions of the brothers and sisters. This makes it a little harder to get past the jealousies that have been building up for years. You an survive, as a parent, during the teenage sibling rivalry years.