In many ways, sibling rivalry is something that you just can’t prevent externally. It is only the siblings among themselves that have the power to stop sibling rivalry. In addition, family researchers tell us that some degree or another of sibling rivalry is normal and natural. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do to help reduce sibling rivalry, however. In fact, there are several things you can do to help reduce sibling rivalry:
Realizing that you can’t stop sibling rivalry is the first step you need to take. Understand what it is that you can and cannot do. You can’t force a truce. Accept that you can only do your best to reduce the problem, and you’ll be much better equipped to d just that.
Teach your children conflict resolution techniques and skills. It’s up to you to teach your children to learn how to express themselves. You need to teach them to be able to say how they’re feeling, and to identify what it is that the sibling is doing that is causing them to feel that way. Once your children are able to communicate their own needs and wants, they are more likely t be able to get along with other people.
You also need to help your children to listen to others. Your children need to listen to one anothers’ feelings, wants and needs. Listening is a key tool needed to be able to resolve conflicts. This ability will also help your children to be able to resolve conflicts later in life. Listening to a sibling will almost always help to reduce sibling rivalry.
Consider dealing with sibling rivalry in a non-direct way. When you insert yourself into the middle of a conflict between siblings, you may find that all you’ve been able to do is get those siblings to unite against you. Rather than inserting yourself between the siblings, you might consider talking to the siblings one at a time. You can help the child identify what it is that’s causing the sibling rivalry, and maybe help them figure out what kinds of things they can do to avoid that sibling rivalry in the future.
With a lot of patience, understanding, and good communication skills, you can greatly reduce sibling rivalry, even if you can’t manage to get rid of it altogether.