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Reasons for sibling rivalry

Ways to reduce fighting among siblings


Did you quarrel a lot with your brothers and/or sisters?

What angered you or made you jealous of your siblings?

How did your parents handle your sibling battles?


Different theories

Conflict at home

Not having tools to handle conflict

Competing for the same resources

What can you do?

Expressing Feelings

Acknowledge the feelings instead of dismissing them

Give children in fantasy what they dont have in reality: you wish hed check with you before he starts playing his drums

Stop hurtful behavior but at the same time, show angry feelings can be channeled safely. Refrain from attacking the attacker

Give in fantasy what they dont have in reality

Channeling feelings

Perils of comparisons

What happens when you compare?

Avoid both favorable and unfavorable comparisons because:

Favorable comparison makes the good child swell with pride or puts pressure on him/her

Unfavorable comparison makes the bad child feel less confident, hate the other child, or makes the child more competetive

Avoid even favorable comparisons

Treat uniquely, not equally

Instead of worrying about giving equal amounts, focus on each childs individual needs

Instead of claiming equal love, show children how theyre loved uniquely

Equal time can feel like less, so give time in terms of need

Sibling Roles

Why do we assign different roles to our children? Example, A is a singer and B is a caretaker

Can increase animosity between siblings

Can lead to low self-esteem

Roles can stick for life, e.g. always the caretaker

When kids fight!

First steps

1. acknowledging childrens anger towards each other

2. listen to each childs side with respect

3. show appreciation for the difficulty of the problem

4. express faith in their ability to work out a mutually agreeable solution

5. Leave the room

When they cant work out a problem together

1. Call a meeting and explain the ground rules

2. Write down each childs concerns and feelings and read them aloud

3. Allow time for rebuttal

4. Invite everyone to come up with solutions and write down the ideas without evaluating

5. Decide upon the solutions you all can live with

6. Follow-up


Communication is the key!

All illustrations have been taken from Siblings Without Rivalry 1998 Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Picadilly Press Ltd., London


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