Ensure calm in your home by utilizing these suggestions.
This year, we're all about peace and zen—especially in our homes. While raising multiple children comes with inevitable challenges and unwanted sibling rivalry, we're seeking that same calm for our children, too.
Presenting itself in the form of fighting, bickering and endless competition, rivalry often results from jealousy and comparison. This can be draining for parents as they witness their children vie for their praise, attention and affection, while having to play mediator all at once.
There are unique dynamics at play between all of your kids: the oldest, who has had to go from being the one and only to one of multiple. The middle children are trying not to be overlooked, while the youngest doesn't want to feel left out or bossed around. Add to that unique personalities and temperaments, as well as changing needs as they grow, and it becomes apparent how issues can arise between them. It’ can be tiring. However, try these top tips, and you’re sure to see improvement in the ongoing sibling rivalry in your home.
Avoid showing favoritism
As a parent, you may show favoritism without realizing it. Be careful not to do this. Instead, aim to be equal and, where applicable, age-appropriately equitable, in your treatment of your kids. Showing them that you have a favorite is a surefire way to instill jealousy and create sibling rivalry.
Don’t make comparisons
Comparing your children creates an environment of resentment and conflict. One child may excel in school, sports or another area, but you should never hold your other children to this standard or use it as a means to degrade them.
Labeling a child as “the smart one,” “the good one,” “the cute one,” etc. gives your other kids the impression they are the opposite of this. Likewise, negative labels should absolutely be avoided. Not only are they divisive, but it pigeonholes children and makes them feel confined to your perceived view of them.
Spend one-on-one time with each child
Children of all ages need time alone with each of their parents. The time spent connecting lets them know they are important to you and allows them to receive the positive attention they need. It also eliminates the need for them to seek negative attention by fighting with their siblings.
Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions recommends setting aside “at least 10–15 minutes of kid-centered, intentional attention every day” to give each child their designated individual time. “By kid-centered, I mean your child is in control of the 10 minutes–they call the shots,” she explains. So, allow your child to choose how they would like to spend this time with you.
Encourage your kids to be a team
Root for all of your children and the family as a whole. Together, celebrate each of their talents and accomplishments, big and small. Even if they don’t have straight A's or the cleanest room, acts that show they are hardworking, honest, helpful or persistent deserve recognition. This encourages them to continue to try their best; plus, celebrating togetherness allows siblings to cheer each other on.
Give your children opportunities to work together and engage in activities that require teamwork. Play family games. Allow them to team up for fun “parents vs. kids” activities. When children begin to view one another as teammates rather than opponents, it nurtures an environment conducive to collaboration and getting along.