According to Jodi O’Neill, Program Director for Ebenezer Child Care Centers, ‘It’s only natural that your children won’t get along all of the time, but you can minimize disagreements and rivalry amongst them by keeping a few things in mind.’
O’Neill says research has shown that sibling rivalry is least likely to happen in homes where aggression and name calling are unacceptable, and parents can solve problems respectively. She also says that it is important to try having family activities that all of your children can enjoy.
Here are some other tips to consider:
Protect Each Child’s Space
Don’t let your 8-year-old go into your teenager’s room without asking or allow your toddler to destroy your kindergartener’s first art project from school. Make sure that your children understand there are limits and boundaries that need to be respected for each individual in your family.
Watch out for Favoritism
Avoid treating your children differently just because you feel closer to one child due to differences in their personalities and interests. Children are quick to pick this up and it may cause problems between siblings.
Give Each Child Attention
Try to schedule one-on-one time at least once per week with each of your children. This helps them to feel special and allows you to focus entirely on their individual needs.
According to O’Neill, ‘This is also the perfect time to talk to your children about what they are good at versus when siblings are in the room and can overhear.’
Leave siblings out of your discussions when problems arise.
O’Neill says, ‘While it is easy to say, ‘Your brother never behaved this way when he was teenager’ it will only breed contempt between siblings and do nothing to help their behavior.’