Sibling Rivalry:’Who’s your favorite kid?’

I have 2 daughters, my elder daughter is 9 years old and my younger one is 5 years old. They at times fight a lot over small things like clothes and shoes. And my elder daughter always feels that I am taking her sister’s side. I am really concerned about them.’

It’s common for brothers and sisters to fight. Often, sibling rivalry starts even before the second child is born, and continues as the kids grow and compete for everything from toys to attention. As kids reach different stages of development, their evolving needs can significantly affect how they relate to one another.

Many different things can cause siblings to fight. Most brothers and sisters experience some degree of jealousy or competition, and this can flare into squabbles and bickering. 

Here are some tips for parents on what to do When the Fighting Starts

  1. Don’t get involved – Step in only if there’s a danger of physical harm. If you always intervene, you risk creating other problems. The kids may start expecting your help and wait for you to come to the rescue rather than learning to work out the problems on their own.
  2. Set ground rules for acceptable behavior– Tell the kids to keep their hands to themselves and that there’s no cursing, no name-calling, no yelling, no door slamming. Solicit their input on the rules — as well as the consequences when they break them. This teaches kids that they’re responsible for their own actions, regardless of the situation or how provoked they felt, and discourages any attempts to negotiate regarding who was “right” or “wrong.”
  3. Be proactive– Be proactive in giving your kids one-on-one attention directed to their interests and needs. For example, if one likes to go outdoors, take a walk or go to the park. If another child likes to sit and read, make time for that too.
  4. Have fun together as a family– Whether you’re watching a movie, throwing a ball, or playing a board game, you’re establishing a peaceful way for your kids to spend time together and relate to each other. This can help ease tensions between them and also keeps you involved. Since parental attention is something many kids fight over, fun family activities can help reduce conflict.

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