You have more than one child and are on look out for that Peace at home scenario? No pillow fights, no cat fights, no shouting on the top of voices… Really!!! I am a mom too and have two daughters. Nothing different, I too wish the same.
With siblings, you can very well see that they spend a good majority of their lives squabbling with each other. They can agree on almost nothing in their lives. They like different board games, different TV shows, different movies, different style of dressing, different everything. Now, give a thought to how you were with your siblings as a young child.
What I realize is that sibling rivalry is a part of many families; and my children are not any different. However, just because it is common and prevalent, it no way means that I do not want it to stop.
What is Sibling Rivalry?
In plain simple words, it is when kids argue more often than they get along. Most of the times it’s all about one having more attention than the other; one getting more stuff than the other; one getting more “ME” time than the other. Have you also faced such situations? Yes, of course…must have. (I take the liberty of assuming your answer as a ‘YES’)
But the question remains…. What to do about it?
I will share my experience of handling such situations.
Do not be a Referee:
I do not intervene until it is out of the hand case, worst if they start getting physical. Thank God, it has never happened until now. However, I leave them to try to figure out themselves. I never referee their fights or arguments.
I have also framed few rules for both of them such as “No one is allowed to use cursing or harsh words.” “No one is allowed to be physical how much angry one may feel.” “Anyone found breaking the rules will have to face consequences for that behavior.”
Give equal exclusive time to each child:
I spend individual time with both my daughters. During that period, I behave just like them. Kiss them, hug them, tingle them, cuddle them and all this while keep on sharing my two-bits on relationships, sibling love and bonding, good behavior and good human beings. I also share how my sister and me used to be when we were kids. What rules we had and what consequences we had to face in such situations.
Divert by making the situation humorous:
Sometimes, I simply divert them by adding fun element to the whole situation. From inside I just want to scream “Can’t You Just Get Along”? However, I take a deep breath, calm myself and say,
“Freeze, the time starts now”!!! Then watch them, also sometimes click their pictures. In the end, ask them to shake hands and share how they felt. Many stories, views come up but situation calms down and mission accomplished.
Even though it doesn’t permanently put an end to the fighting and arguing, it does cause them to think twice and helps me in smooth parenting.
Reason behind doing so is…
Children Learn Valuable Life Lessons:
Children learn many crucial lessons like sharing, compassion, compromise with their interaction with their siblings. They learn to handle their own self and situations and also how to come out of it.
Strong Bonds Are Build:
My experience sharing gives them an access into my childhood and they love it. This not only helps in making their bond stronger with each other but also with me as a mother. This helps them open up and share their true feelings with me.
Relationships Become Strong:
Jealousy as such is a normal human feeling; and so our children may experience this for each other. Nevertheless, as a parent, it’s my responsibility to ensure that normal sibling rivalry or jealousy does not grow beyond a point. Therefore, setting boundaries that creates an atmosphere of love and acceptance, repair relationships and one that teaches conflict resolution skills go a long way and makes children realize that everyone at home is loved and respected.
I know we are all busy, but spending some exclusive 15-20 minutes a day with each child can make a huge positive difference in the relationships. Sibling rivalry can actually be one of the healthiest form of competition with great learning. As parents you must have come across this with your own kids.
I am sure you will have something to say. So share your experiences in the comments below.