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How To Deal With Sibling Rivalry

First of all, let’s establish what sibling rivalry is. Sibling Rivalry is the fighting, jealousy, and/or competition between siblings. This can be sparked from just about anything, and we mean anything. Sibling rivalry can become very serious if it is not acknowledged and taken care of the first time it happens.  Now how do you handle it?



Just Listen

First, listen (from afar) to the dispute before you intervene. This will allow the siblings to try and solve their problems on their own. If you come in to save the argument too soon, you are letting your children know it is okay to fight because you will come in and solve the problem for them. Also, you may side with one child (without realizing it) and leave the other frustrated and angry that you aren’t on his side. This will also show the child you took sides with that it’s okay to do what she did because you will come and protect her.


Rewards System

Using a rewards system for good behavior is a way to motivate your kids to behave well either at home or in public. For example, saying they can each get a snack of their choice at the grocery store if they behave the entire time will give them something to look forward to even though grocery shopping isn’t the most fun for them (or anyone!). At home, it could be getting video game/tv time for getting along while you have company over or just in general.


Don’t Compare

Comparing your kids can make them have low self-esteem. Sometimes you may not realize you’re doing it. Instead of comparing them, point out what they bring to the table. Tell them what they are good at and tell other people in front of your child so they know you’re proud of them and want to tell other people about their achievements.


One On One Time With All Kids

One on one time with each child is important. This is important for your children to know you value them as an individual and they aren’t just part of “your kids”. Even if it’s just a few minutes, you should do it every day. This shows them you care about things they are doing and you’re supporting them.


Lay Down The Rules & Stick With Them

Sitting your children down and having a conversation about what the rules are and how they are expected to behave toward one another and toward others. This will help them be able to understand the rules. Make sure you have their undivided attention when explaining the rules and also that they have your undivided attention.

Once you establish the rules, do not bend them in certain situations. Once you do that, they will not take the rules seriously anymore. Then you have to repeat going over the rules and it is hard for them to get on board for the second time.


Sibling rivalry is real and can turn into something serious if it is not handled properly. There are many ways to solve some of the problems between siblings and we have listed a few above. However, every family is different and you should find the one that suits your family lifestyle the best. Remember to always give your children undivided attention when they come to you with a problem. This will make sure they know their problem is serious to you and that might be all they need. It will all be over before you know it! Once they get to be around 18, the problems tend to go away and they start to actually get along. That’s something to be hopeful for! Good luck!


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