Vol. 14, No. 1 November 2009
Tips for Reducing Sibling Rivalry
Treat each child as an individual. Help children understand that they are treated differently by you and have different privileges and responsibilities because they are different individuals.
- Respect each child’s space, toys, and time when he wants to be alone, away from his siblings.
- Avoid labeling or comparing one child to the other.
- When a new child comes into the family, prepare the other children.
- Play detective. Watch and note when siblings are not getting along (before dinner, in the car, etc.) and plan separate quiet activities for those times.
- Watch how you treat each child to see if you are contributing to the rivalry. Don’t play favorites.
- Have realistic expectations of how they should get along, cooperate, share, and like each other.
- Positively reinforce them when they are getting along or when they solve their own conflicts.
- Make each child feel special and important. Try to spend one-on-one time with each child every day.
- Take time out for yourself to re-energize. Remember, sibling rivalry is a normal and expected part of family life.
By Elizabeth Pantley, author of Kid Cooperation and Perfect Parenting
Source: US Children’s Bureau, 2006