How to Help Cut Down on Sibling Rivalry
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How to Help Cut Down on Sibling Rivalry

This is an article with tips on how to prevent or stop constant sibling rivalry.

When you have more than one child, fighting is given. Some sibling rivalry is just fine, but sometimes it can make a parent or child feel overwhelmed. There are things you can do to help prevent or stop some of the fighting.

Often children start fights with their siblings over jealousy. To help with this, make sure you set aside individual time with each child as well as family time. Being together as a family is extremely important so everyone can bond. However, it is equally important, especially when your children are still growing up, to also have alone time with each child. This is easy to do if one child is much older. You can plan an activity with the older child while the younger child naps, or when the younger child goes to bed before the older one. If you have children close in age, maybe you can get your spouse or a grandparent to take one child for a short period of time. Then, maybe they could take the other. Try to plan an activity that the child is good at or really enjoys so it will be a great bonding experience and a good self esteem boost for the child. This is also a good break from the siblings if they are around each other too much.

It is also very important to draw out clear boundaries for all children in the house. For example, make it clear that hitting is never acceptable. Make sure every child is told, and reminded when necessary, that hitting will end in a punishment every time and stick to it! Decide what you believe is a fair punishment, such as no video games, no TV, a time out, early bed time, etc and stick with it every single time the rule is broken. If you have a huge issue with name calling or anything like that in your home, make sure you have a clear punishment for that also.

It’s also important that you respond appropriately. Sometimes it’s important for you to jump in and sometimes it’s important for the children to work it out. For example, if one child is upset because he wants a toy his sibling has and comes to you complaining about this, it is a perfect example of what the children should work out on their own. Tell the child who is complaining, that he needs to use his words to solve this problem. Explain that he can simply ask for the toy, and if the answer is no that he should wait. Also explain to the other sibling that it would make you happy if that child were to share. Tell them that when their sibling asks to borrow a toy, they need to give it to that sibling when they are done. Encourage your children to work it out as much as possible. If this doesn’t work, then step in. In this certain example, you could set a timer. Time 5 more minutes and say when that 5 minutes is up the sibling with the toy must give it to the other.

Try to do some prevention work. Figure out what your children fight about the most and get creative about how to avoid a fight. For example, if your children always fight in the car try giving them a car friendly activity that will keep them busy. Giving them each a copy of the same book, or playing "I Spy" with everyone in the car are both examples of things you could do to keep everyone busy without fighting. If your children are constantly arguing about whose turn it is to take out the garbage, set up a chore chart. Think about each situation individually. Apply a plan and stick to it.

Always stay patient and calm with your children as much as possible. It should rub off on them and give them better ways to solve their problems, with siblings and the rest of the world.

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