The Nature of Things…sibling rivalry

 By  Dale Ho (Hons) R.E.C.E, CCBE, LE, guest contributor

It’s  not uncommon for there to be some rivalry amongst siblings, there’s also no doubt that it can cause distress to other members of the family. So how can you restore a somewhat peaceful balance to the household? And no…adoption is not an option. 🙂

It does help to have a better understanding of why rivalry can possibly exist between siblings; you’re just better equipped to handle it as it comes.

Children will vie for the sole attention of either parent which in turn can lead to feelings of jealousy and rivalry amongst siblings. It’s more often than not these negative behaviors that tend to grab our attention as parents, instead focus on, highlight and encourage the positive behaviors by acknowledging and reinforcing them.

Age can also be the issue, children at different ages and stages in their life will all have varying wants and needs, take for example younger children; they can become quite possessive of their personal belongings and are not yet ready or for that matter willing to share, especially with their siblings! On the other hand tweens and teens typically want their own privacy and space.


Should you intervene each time the kids are battling it out?

Not every time, instead teach children how to work together to solve any problems they may have amongst themselves; these are valuable lifelong social skills that children will take with them throughout their childhood and adult years.

Reinforce these problem solving skills by modeling them, children learn more just by watching the adults in their life.

It’s also a judgment call; on occasion children may need their space and some time to calm themselves down before attempting to resolve any conflicts.

Of course there are the exceptions to the rules, do intervene when you feel that there is the chance of them causing the other physical harm.

Prepare older siblings prior to the arrival of a new baby into the family; involve them as much as possible during the pregnancy i.e. listening to the heartbeat during prenatal visits, talking to them in utero or helping you chose a name for the new baby.

As siblings grow and mature there will inevitably be times in their lives when they will either be the worst of enemies or the very best of friends and it’s these life experiences that help create the bond of siblings.


About Dale: 

Dale Alleyne-Ho, (Hons.) R.E.C.E, CCBE,  is the lead Author of “The Ultimate Guide to Labour & Birth”

She is also the Owner of ‘The Complete Family’, which offers an innovative range of instructor led online prenatal series that are all readily and easily accessible to families nationwide.

You can find her on facebook and Twitter



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