Constant conflicts, argument and fight among children in the same family as being a great concern and frustration to many parents. Brothers and sisters may quarrel over little things as a way of expressing superiority by one of the children over the other, but these are one of the ways by which the children learn to respect and tolerate others. Helping the children develop unique and significant ways to get along will not only help you get through the day but will also spare you enough time to do other things at home instead of settling quarrels.
Naturally, argument strengthens relationship if done in a fair manner without having to hurt each other. It does take time to learn effective ways to teach the children how to get along. The home however, is the first place which the children get the opportunity to learn how to relate in the society; starting with their brothers and sisters. This is equally an opportunity where parents can frequently take the advantage of sibling rivalry to teach the children to love, respect, tolerate and forgive each other. Living together with brothers and sisters can offer a large family moral and value training ground to develop tolerance, kindness, love and basic practices in learning to resolve conflicts.
Causes of rivalry among the children
- Children may want to involve the other sibling during playtime but may be doing it in an unpleasant way that leads to conflicts. Being a child, they could not find a way to reach a friendly agreement and this often become an issue.
- Frustrated, sad and hungry children often become aggressive to put up a fight when they get the slightest lead. Children whose basic needs are not met at the right time can intentionally decide to start a trouble.
- Taking sides or giving preferential treatment to one child over the other may not be a good idea as the other feels rejected. Fighting to get your attention may expose them to being desperate and such a child would be willing to put the other sibling off to a questionable limit.
- The older child wants respect from his younger ones and quite a number of times, he wants to get it the hard way to prove being superior while the younger one believes they got equal rights and should enjoy the same treatment.
How to minimize sibling rivalry
- Parents should ensure that each child feel equally valued. Avoid taking sides when trying to resolve conflicts as you can never really be sure who is at fault. Make them sit close to each other when explaining what led to a fight or unfair arguments. This way, you are making both to feel responsible for their actions instead of tagging the blame on one.
- We often make the mistake of comparing a child’s behavior to their other siblings. This does not encourage better behavior in any way, but promotes jealousy and envy among the children. Saying things like “you don’t always do well in class like your sister” will only make the other child feel less valued.
- Every child has his own unique needs. Parents should attend to these needs individually.
- Minor quarrels do not require your intervention. You have to pretend being unaware of some arguments that are not so important. Be sure the said argument is a safe one and no one is open to danger before you ignore. You should allow the children to settle their differences on their own atimes, or they will wait for you to intervene to all their difference; including the minor ones before they settle. The only advisable time to interfere is when sibling rivalry go really awkward; like when one is trying to hit or injure the other.