I think it’s safe to say that anyone who grew up with brothers, sisters or both had to deal with situations involving sibling rivalry. Sibling rivalry is absolutely normal, but many parents see it as a hindrance to harmony in the household and often find themselves right smack in the center of any conflict—sometimes even taking sides. Sharon Silver, however, shares tips in an article for ProactiveParenting that would actually make sibling rivalry beneficial for your children.
Sibling rivalry as trial run for adulthood
Silver maintains that sibling rivalry is akin to a trial run for adulthood and the relationships that come with it. That’s because children who are caught in a sibling rivalry are given the chance at a young age to work out intense emotions involving someone who is more or less their equal. Sibling rivalry brings out children’s capability to defend themselves, to make compromises, to be compassionate at the right time and to know when someone isn’t being good to them.
Tips to make sibling rivalry beneficial
Silver proceeds to present tips that would make sibling rivalry beneficial, all of which I agree with and actually practice on my own kids.
1. When they quarrel over anything, I always facilitate the “peace process”, so to speak, rather than declaring who’s wrong and who’s right. More often than not, they manage to resolve differences on their own, and all I do is ask them similar questions about what they think of the situation and what they can do to make things better.
2. I also make it a point to point out that feelings have been hurt because of the conflict, and that they must apologize even if they say they didn’t mean it.
3. More importantly, I never compare my kids, because that would breed resentment in them.
Look at sibling rivalry in a more positive light, and you’ll make sibling rivalry beneficial and in effect prepare them for the real world.
Click here for the full article.