Cain and Abel may be the most famous -infamous brothers’ unhappy story.Jacob tricks his brother Esau out of his inheritance and blessing; sisters Leah and Rachel compete for the love of Jacob; Joseph’s brothers are so jealous that they effectively sell him into slavery. The history of sibling rivalry is very old.
Examples can be found everywhere.Literature brings Shakespear “King Lear’s” daughters rivaling about who is the best daughter.“The song of Ice and fire”, series of books of G.Martin (recently produced in Tv series) refers to brothers and sisters who fight against each other about the Iron Throne. “Hillary and Jackie” is a film about two musician sisters who compete who is the best and most successful.That means that it is very common for siblings to have differences and dispute about it.
Sibling rivalry often continues throughout childhood and can be very frustrating and stressful to parents. Physical and emotional changes cause pressures as the child grows up, as do changing relationships with parents and friends. One study found that the age group 10 to 15 reported the highest level of competition between siblings.
But is it OK for siblings to argue? And what should parents do?
Statistics show that siblings who get along as older grown-ups are the ones that had the most interraction. That means both disputes and also positive engagement.
Thus, we parents can :
1.Reinforce their communication and interraction,by showing them how to cope with each other, help each other, play with each other and express their feelings.
2.We are equal but not the same. Every person, every child has his own personality, his own needs and we cannot treat all of them in the same way.
3.Be careful with the LABELS. As previously mentioned in my previous post about Labels, we should be very careful, because categorising a child in a certain way, may lead him to believe that he actually is what we call him (lazy,shy,idiot etc)
4.Compare the child ONLY with HIMSELF. He can compete with his previous perfomance, and we can let him now that he is now better or worse and can always improve. It’s not very nice to compare him with a sibling that is Different than him .A brother can dislike his sister because he is always reminded that She is better,smarter or whatever the comparison is about
5. We should let the siblings find their own way in their argument. First, because they practice the art of arguing, and second we can ,in this way, avoid the ugly role of Judge Mother/Father
6.Spend time with each one separately. When my second child was born, my daughter was 3 years old. Old enough to understand that she was not getting enough attention, but not enough to express it with words. The result was a increased aggresivity towards me.The only way I managed to assure her that I love them both equally is that I took some time just for the two of us, to go grab a burger and play in the park, where she felt that she was getting her attention and made her more relaxed.
What do you think about my suggestions? Do you have something else to add? I will be looking forward for your opinion in the comments!