Sibling rivalry can be hard to deal with and even harder to watch and listen. However, it is normal for kids to fight with each other on more or less frequent basis. After all, they were simply faced with the fact that they will have to live with “another child“. They did not asked for a brother or sister but got one anyway “stealing“ them their parents’ attention and resources. Some siblings develop a close and friendly relationship from early childhood but some need more time to get over the rivalry thing and may not develop that special sibling relationship until later childhood or even adulthood, while some siblings simply are never as close as siblings are supposed to be.
From a parental point of view, sibling rivalry and fighting may seem to be triggered by every slightest thing. Kids often are not particularly rational, however, there are deeper reasons for the fights over seemingly unimportant things. It may not always be obvious but most sibling fights are actually triggered by rivalry for parental attention, especially in the older kids who may feel that the younger brother or sister is getting all the attention. As a result, they may become jealous, resentful or even angry on their younger sibling. This is most noticeable during the arrival of a baby and one of the children being sick or needing special attention for one reason to another. But why your friends’ kids can get along and yours cannot? Well, kids have different personalities and temperaments and there is not much you can do about it. You may be able to teach them how to behave and react in conflict situations but you cannot change their temperament nor personality. It is what makes them unique human beings. Other factors that may lay behind sibling rivalry include the “fairness and equality thing“ which is particularly obvious in schoolers who will quickly remind you when you are not being “fair“ to them, sharing at least a part of their possessions and space with the sibling and in the end, the way you resolve disputes with your partner. If your children see you and your partner yelling at each other during a conflict, there is a great chance that they will do the same.
There are several ways to bring some peace in your house but try to let your kids resolve their conflicts on their own, of course, if the fighting does not involve hitting, bitting, crying spells and similar unacceptable behavior. If you do not intervene into every fight, you will help your kids learn to deal with conflict situations in which they will find themselves sooner or later. You should, of course, intervene when things go too far but be sure to avoid taking sides whenever possible because it can make one child even more resentful or hostile to the other. Separating your kids by sending them each in their own room to chill down or finding a win-win solution is the best way to handle your kids’ fights. It is also helpful to set clear rules and consequences that will follow when breaking the rules. However, be sure to praise your kids for respecting the rules not only punishing them for breaking the rules. But if you are having a hard time dealing with your kids’ fighting or if the things are getting too rough, do not hesitate to seek professional help because none of your kids must not be affected by the rivalry physically nor emotionally.