How Can I Help My Children To Understand Their Sibling Rivalry?

Sibling rivalry can be a difficult concept for children to understand sometimes. Take, for example, the toddler who is about to have a new baby brother or sister. That toddler will very often have feelings of sibling rivalry even before the baby is born. Yet, especially at such a young age, it can be difficult for your children to understand those feelings of sibling rivalry, much less try to cope with those feelings in a constructive and a positive way. Even adolescents, who are theoretically much more capable of understanding their sibling rivalry, often fail to recognize the causes behind sibling rivalry or ways to address it. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help your children to understand their sibling rivalry.

The first thing that you need to do to help your children understand their sibling rivalry is to understand it yourself. You need to patiently observe your children, and listen carefully to their concerns. You need to be able to identify some of the major causes of sibling rivalry between your children, whether it is jealousy, competition, or a lack of privacy or personal space. By identifying the root cause of their sibling rivalry, you can help your children to better understand what is going on, as well as help them to address it more effectively.

The next thing that you need to do to help your children understand their sibling rivalry is to teach your children effective communication skills. They need to be able to express their own wants and needs effectively, for example. At the same time, you need to help your children to understand what their sibling is going through, and to actively listen to their sibling’s wants and needs. Open and honest communication, while it doesn’t completely solve sibling rivalry or make it go away, can do a lot towards reducing the intensity of sibling rivalry.

Ultimately, you need to recognize that you can’t truly force your children to understand their sibling rivalry any more than you can force them to understand mathematics. Having said that, a consistent effort on your part to understand their sibling rivalry and to help them to communicate more effectively with one another should help to reduce the intensity and the frequency of problems between your children due to sibling rivalry.