Sibling rivalry means the competitive feelings and actions that often occur among children in a family. These are things you can do to try to limit it.
- Treat each child as an individual. Help children understand that they are treated differently by you and have different privileges and responsibilities because they are different people.
- Respect each child's space, toys and time when he/she wants to be alone, away from the sibling.
- Avoid labeling or comparing one child to the other. This feeds into their competitiveness.
- When a new child comes into the family, adequately prepare the older sibling for his/her new important role. Make him/her feel like it's their baby too.
- Play detective. Watch and note when siblings are not getting along (in the car, before bed) and plan separate quiet activities for those times.
- Have realistic expectations of how they should get along, cooperate, share and like each other.
- Positively reinforce them when they are getting along or when they solve their own conflicts.
- Make each child feel special and important. Try to spend one-on-one time with each child every day.
- Take time out for yourself to re-energize. Remember, sibling rivalry is a normal and expected part of family life.