While parents might dream of having children who love their siblings, the reality is often different. Siblings might tease one another or regularly bully the younger children in the house. Though it is not possible to force children love one another, it might be possible to restore peace and quiet to your household.
Your children could have several reasons why they've declared war on one another. The arrival of a new baby can leave older children feeling envious about the amount of time they each get to spend with their parents, according to pediatrician William Sears, at AskDrSears.com. Those feelings could turn into resentment toward the baby or other younger siblings. Sibling rivalry is also not an uncommon facet of childhood, especially if two or more children are close in age, according to the Mayo Clinic. Kids might fight more frequently in a bid to get attention or love from mom and dad. Sometimes, ill feelings between siblings might also stem from personality conflicts.
How to Handle It
Those arguments and quarrels are an important life lesson into how to get along, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Parents should steer clear unless the arguments turn violent. If the kids try to involve you, hear each person's side, but try not to take sides. Parents can also try suggesting solutions, such as giving each child five minutes to play with a toy if the siblings have been battling over it, according to KidsHealth. You cannot control the feelings your children have toward one another, but helping them behave in a civil manner is important.
Siblings might be so preoccupied with competing that they have forgotten how to be friendly with one another. Parents can help when it comes to bonding by not making comparisons between children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Assigning children housework that requires teamwork, such as cleaning their room, or encouraging children to comfort or help siblings who are upset can foster bonding, according to Sears. If resentment is over a new baby, encourage the older kids to get involved by decorating the new nursery together.
Bonding takes time, but remember that fights, anger and disagreements among siblings might never fully go away. Sibling friction tends to lessen as children become teenagers, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sometimes, your children might feel the need to complain about their siblings. Rather than scolding your child, listen to what she is saying and offer your own experiences with sibling rivalry or disagreements when you were young. Your insight might help your daughter tackle similar problems among her siblings later on.
- KidsHealth: Sibling Rivalry
- KidsHealth: Getting Along With Brothers And Sisters
- Healthy Children: Everybody Gets Mad: Helping Your Child Cope With Conflict
- Healthy Children: Sibling Rivalry
- Mayo Clinic: Sibling Rivalry: Helping Your Children Get Along
- Ask Dr. Sears: 20 Tips To Stop Quibbling Siblings And Promote Sibling Harmony
- Ask Dr. Sears: Introducing A New Baby: 11 Smooth-Entry Tips
- PBS Kids: Sibling Rivalry
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