A widespread phenomenon observed in all families with more than one child is the rivalry between siblings. This competition is manifested through fights, arguments, complaints, mockery, teasing, and intents to claiming the others’ attention and interest (not necessarily their parents).
“You always take him with you,” “You love her more,” “I am always the bad one,” “She is taking all my things” are some of the phrases that parents listen to every day from their children.
Why is this competition between siblings created?
• In most cases, the rivalry between siblings is due to jealousy. It is possible for a child to feel marginalized or neglected by their parents ∙ or feel that their parents do not give them as much time or attention as he would need.
• Sometimes, confrontation reasons might create the rivalry between siblings, as a challenge to oneself. This form of competition does not have to do with parents and their care but more with personal development and self-image. It can positively impact the individual and contribute to his improvement in various areas of his life.
How will you, as parents, be able to face this competition and create a beautiful relationship between siblings?
• Every child is unique, and that is how you should treat them. You may think that siblings should be treated in the same way. Each child, however, is unique and has a different personality and interests. You can identify his inclinations and talents and give him the opportunities to develop them.
• Cultivate the unique skills of each child. Your help is valuable for each child to evolve in his unique way and acquire many and varied interests. When you recognize each child’s peculiarities, you automatically separate him from the other children as an entity and stimulate his self-confidence and self-esteem.
• Avoid comparisons between siblings. When we compare or praise one child’s behaviors by relating them to another’s behaviors, we often create tensions between them. The child being rewarded feels the pressure that his behavior must always be appropriate and accepted by the parents. The child being compared feels discouraged, failed, and unworthy of the parents’ attention and euphemisms.
• Spend time with each child individually. Regardless of the time you spend with all the children, plan your day in a way that you could enjoy every child separately. You can take advantage of when one child sleeps or is at school or at an extracurricular activity to spend some time alone with the other child. Watch a movie, go for a walk, make crafts together! You will help the child feel unique to you!
• Set clear boundaries. Children must respect each other, which means each child should have personal space and belongings. This means that his property must be respected.
As parents, you are called upon to restore balance and harmony in the family. Show your love to children every day and emphasize that you do not separate them. Please encourage them to express their uniqueness and work together to help each other evolve.