Is the sibling rivalry in your home getting out of hand? Here are the signs to watch out for so you can deal with the situation.
RELATED: When newborn sparks jealousy
In this article:
- Constant Bickering
- Being Overdemanding
- Name Calling
- Acting Like A Baby
9 Signs of Sibling Rivalry to Watch Out For
1. Constant Bickering
Siblings fighting is completely normal but if your children are constantly bickering and arguing, it’s time to step in. Teach them positive ways for how to discuss solutions and solve problems.
If your kids are a little older, try asking them for their own ideas on how to resolve a conflict peacefully. Let them try their own solutions, but set some ground rules like no yelling or hitting when problem-solving.
Provide positive reinforcement when your kids are solving problems peacefully to reward good behavior.
Children may feel extremely frustrated when they experience sibling jealousy. As a result, they may start throwing tantrums or start taking out their frustration on other people.
To deal with this, teach your child calming measures like spending quiet time reading a book, listening to music, or playing a game. Teaching your children to positively deal with frustration is a valuable skill to have.
3. Being Overdemanding
When children feel that they are not given a fair share of attention or responsiveness, they might get overdemanding. For instance, one child might constantly interrupt or show frustration when you are spending time with another child.
To avoid feelings of jealousy, spend one-on-one time with each of your kids regularly. In this way, they will not feel like they are being ignored.
When they are feeling left out and unnoticed, children tattle to get attention. Most tattles are harmless but if they are done to hurt someone else, then that becomes a problem.
If your child is constantly tattling on his or her siblings, try not to make a big deal out of it. Instead, find out your child’s motivation for tattling because it may be a sign of a bigger problem.
Another sign of sibling rivalry is competition. Siblings may try to compete for friends and accolades to win their parents’ attention.
Avoid this by encouraging your children to cooperate rather than compete. For example, praise them when they are doing something good together instead of only acknowledging who has done a better job.
Do not compare your children as well as this may only motivate them to compete with one another. Instead, celebrate each of your child’s individual talents and successes, and encourage them to support and cheer each other on.
If your children refuse to share and are constantly arguing over who “owns” one item (e.g., the TV remote or a toy), making a schedule will help. For instance, write down who gets to “own” a prized item at certain times during the week.
Make sure everyone follows the schedule and each child gets an equal amount of time in using the special item.
7. Name Calling
Name calling may just be another manifestation of your child’s anger and frustration. Help your child deal with these feelings more effectively by first telling him or her that it’s perfectly alright to feel angry or frustrated at times.
Explain that name-calling is an inappropriate response to these feelings and there are better ways to express himself or herself. When your child acts maturely and expresses himself or herself respectfully, praise your child to reinforce good behavior.
As much as possible, you want your children to solve their squabbles on their own. But if there is a danger of physical harm, step in before things get out of hand.
Give your children time to calm down before trying to resolve the conflict. Separate them and give them some time alone. Talking to each child individually and talking to them together will also help.
If the fighting has a pattern, say it happens at a certain time of a day, try changing the routine a bit. This might help avert conflicts.
9. Acting Like A Baby
Regressive behaviors, such as baby talk and temper tantrums, maybe a toddler’s response to a big change like the arrival of a new sibling. When this happens, remind your child that he or she doesn’t need to act like a baby to get your attention.
Praise your child when he or she displays mature behavior and celebrate his or her achievements like using utensils properly and changing clothes independently. This way, your child will feel that grown-up actions are praised and rewarded.
Finally, ask your child to help with the baby so he or she doesn’t feel left out. Give your child small tasks like tossing out the diaper in the bin to let him or her feel more involved.
Knowing how to deal with sibling rivalry can be helpful to your children’s development and can save your family a lot of grief. Watch this video by Sleep Sense to learn more:
Sibling rivalry is something all parents with more than one child eventually have to deal with. Disagreements are perfectly normal, but you can definitely do something to minimize fighting and jealous feelings between siblings.
How you deal with sibling rivalry will impact the way your kids relate to one another, so it is essential to spot the signs of rivalry and learn how to deal with them effectively.
Do you have other tips on how to deal with sibling rivalry? Share them with us in the comments section below!