If you have more than one child, chances are you’ve seen sibling rivalry in action. If you have your own brothers or sisters, you might have endured it yourself at some point in life and hated every minute of it.
The way that you will go about dealing with sibling rivalry will depend on the age of the children. With younger children who are welcoming a new sibling into the family, you will want to make sure that you spend just as much time with the older child as with the new baby. If you don’t, this can lead to feelings of resentment toward the new sibling that will fester over time. Let your older child help you with the baby and let them hold the baby with supervision. This will encourage bonding and love for a firm foundation between the siblings.
As the children grow older, you will be able to see if sibling rivalry is going to become a problem, although it can manifest at just about any age. With your older children who are experiencing this, let them settle their smaller arguments on their own. You need to make sure that there is no hitting, name calling or any other destructive behavior when they do.
But keep your distance unless there’s a bloodbath going on up there. If you constantly intervene, they will expect you to do so every time, and when you let one have his or her way, the other sibling may view this as favoritism. Whenever your children cooperate or work out an argument by themselves, you should praise the way that they worked together.
Make sure that each of the children has plenty of time with both parents. Don’t take one child to an amusement park or toy store and leave the other at home, even if the second child is otherwise occupied. Never show any type of favoritism with your children, even if you do secretly prefer or value one child over the other. All these things can foster the feeling of unfairness that gives birth to sibling rivalry.