Whether you have two children or many, sibling rivalries are common. This is due to personality clashes and individual traits a lot of the time, but sometimes they exist because you as a parent fostered an environment which promoted them. Follow the 5 tips below to avoid sibling rivalry in your household, and you will have a much more peaceful, positive and loving family.
Introduce your unborn child to your children
Unless you have twins, one of your children will be older than the other. That is why it is extremely important to have your oldest child make friends before the birth of their soon-to-be brother or sister. An only child quickly comes to enjoy his or her position as the center of attention in the household. And that is why children often see a newborn as a threat.
Explain to your child that a baby is growing inside of mommy’s tummy. Let him feel the baby kick, and talk to your unborn child with him. You may even show your child pictures of him when he was a newborn. Pediatric experts believe that these are excellent ways to develop a bond between your child and the newborn which is about to change the family dynamic.
As we mentioned in our introduction, sometimes you are the cause of sibling rivalry. With such busy lives and hectic work schedules, it is very difficult to always ensure that you spend equal time on quality activities with your children. But this is extremely important if you don’t want to create a “favorite child” atmosphere. Brand-new babies require constant attention. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore their older siblings. While feeding your baby, read a book to your other children, and make sure no one child feels left out or ignored.
Reward positive sharing behavior
When you see one of your children sharing a treasured toy or possession with another, reward that behavior. Children are incredible sponges. They absorb all of the activities and actions they see around them, whether you know they are watching or not. Many childcare experts believe that a child’s personality is developed before the age of 4 or 5. So reward sharing behavior, because this selfless act makes it harder for sibling rivalries to develop. You will also be reinforcing a beneficial life lesson.
Hold regular family meetings
Especially when you have multiple children, you can never see and hear everything that goes on in your household. Hold regular family meetings. This continually establishes you as the person in charge. It also gives every child time to air their grievances and say what is on their mind. This is a great way to nip sibling rivalries in the bud, and also helps improve your child’s communication skills.
If one of your children is an overachiever, find some way to encourage her siblings
One of the biggest causes for sibling rivalries is jealousy. If you have a child who receives top grades in school and is an excellent athlete, those achievements could create strife with her siblings. If you reward the special achievement of one of your children, involve the rest of your kids as well. Find ways to encourage the unique talents that each of your children possess, not just those which are socially recognized.