As sure as the sun will rise, siblings will find a way to quarrel. Fights between siblings — both young and old — are common and parents deal with the sibling rivalry in different ways.
We turned to the to get their opinions about dealing with sibling rivalry and how they find a way to minimize conflict. But the input doesn’t end here! Be sure to add your experiences with sibling rivalry in the comment section below.
I feel like I deal with sibling rivalry a dozen times a day - with my two sons, ages 6 and 10! First of all, I am an only child, so I am not used to squabbling, wrestling, arguing between kids. Second, I am shocked by how they can be fighting one minute and hugging the next. Third, I guess I deal with it by trying to treat them equally and spend alone time with each. However, their personalities are so different it's challenging to try to maintain a level of fairness while varying my approach.
We have an age difference between our oldest two kids of four and a half years (and a gender difference) so there's a good bit of squabbling that goes on when the little one gets into the older one's things or sometimes he just takes pleasure in provoking her. I'm an only child so all this is new to me! My husband and I deal with it by trying to do individual things with the older child or organize activities where they can each have their own space. Distance makes the heart grow fonder!
Suzanne Weiss: A little rivalry can actually be good for everyone — it may help from becoming complacent. I think the most important point is to be sure our kids do not speak to each other differently than they would speak to others; sometimes I have heard siblings berate or incite each other and the parents seem to accept that. As parents, we also do have to be aware of the interests of our kids, and let them pursue what THEY want, not what we want, or what might be easier. That helps each child feel comfortable about their performance in activities and academics. In turn, it does make them feel better about how they look, how they spend their time. With differing needs, it becomes easier for parents to maintain a balance of what each is permitted that is comparable rather than competitive. My rule, shared often with my kids, is that if each of them feels the other child is “favored,” we are doing a good job! Of course, it does also help when they are different genders.