When you have children, it’s a miraculous event and your life will never be the same — the love for your child is automatic and unconditional. But if you have more than one child and they treat each other badly and they fight like they hate each other?

Sibling rivalry is something that will most likely never go away so what can you do to lessen it? It is not likely to ever be eliminated, nor should it be. Children should have differences, which is why some quarreling is a healthy indication that none of the children are completely submissive. If there isn’t any squabbling, one child may be giving orders to the other child and that child is obeying them.

Don’t give attention to the rivalry, your attempt at mediation will likely to increase the rivalry — you should first encourage their children to work things out themselves. Set limits for reasonable noise levels or aggressive behaviours and the optionof a 15 to 30 minute separate timeout if they’re not able to solve their problem.

Try to build positive and cooperative relationships and perhaps a token reward system can be used temporarily to reinforce children for their cooperative behaviour. Build cooperative sibling behaviour by using surprise planning, a parent gets the children together to plan a surprise for the other parent or for a third child, then the children get involved in cooperative planning and feel closer. An alliance with a positive goal builds unity. The secrets of gift giving, surprises, and parties seem to unite brothers and sisters and diminish arguing. Planning something special for a family member, neighbour, or friend encourages a sense of togetherness that comes from joint efforts.

Happy SistersSibling rivalry almost always affects a child’s achievement — children tend to easily assume that their achievement appears more impressive if their brothers and sisters performance is not as good. Talk to your children
about any feelings of jealousy and help them handle these feelings better by accepting the challenge of openly admiring their sisters or brothers.

Don’t take sides when your children put each other down but communicate your concern privately to the one who is doing the putting down. There’s a much better chance of improved behaviour if you don’t correct the child in front of siblings.

Don’t appoint your achiever to the role of tutor for your underachiever. It will serve only as a daily put-down for the other because the underachiever may not understand or be able to express those feelings.

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