Sibling Rivalry Springs Up!

Tuesday March 23, 2010
I figured this was probably a good time to talk about sibling rivalry. After all, it’s probably Spring Break at your house or it will be soon, and the kids are thrown together all day, every day, for a lot of hours.

So, I figure sibling rivalry is probably rearing its ugly head.

What to do?

There’s an entire chapter on it in my book (due out August 31st), but let me just throw three quick hints out there that may give you a bit of relief.

The first I call Divide and Conquer.

Nothing quelches sibling rivalry like separation. But make it FUN separation! The tub was always a wonderful distraction for my boys, and I’d put one in the tub with toys while the other played cars in the hallway. I could sit halfway between the two and supervise all the activity. Instead of relegating them to their corners, chairs, or rooms, come up with two separate fun activities for them.

Sometimes this leads to my second suggestion, a Team Effort. (Often when you separate them, they WANT to be together!)

Come up with a quick competition that pits you against the two (or more) of them! “I’ll bet you guys can’t put pick up those blocks before Mom finishes loading the dishwasher.” Teamwork, theirs against Mom, may give them a different perspective. If competition of any kind leads to struggles, as it often can, propose a creative project for all of you. “Let’s make Dad a big ‘Welcome Home from Work’ banner for the front door.” Everybody takes a section and goes to work.

And my last suggestion – A Little More Love.

Much of sibling rivalry is a cry for attention. Usually, the kids want more of YOU – more positive strokes, more attention, more love. Does one of yours seem to be the instigator of the rivalry lately? Choose that one, and find a way to lavish a little more attention on him or her. Be discreet, but whisper how great he is to him, draw a smiley face on the page she’s coloring, leave an “anonymous” note on her pillow. Don’t draw the ire of the other kids, but just find a way to send a little more love in that direction.

For more on sibling rivalry between brothers, check out The Boy Mom Life page above.

We’ve all been there, so ask a friend what works for her. Choose one idea and give it a try.

Here’s to peace during Spring Break and beyond,


MamaHen said...

I know that all children fuss and argue with each other, but I seem to have two that are especially good at it. I call them Child Fuss and Child Fight. I have to laugh about it or I will cry.

I will have to give your ideas a go.

Honey Mommy said...

Great ideas! My two boys are just starting to play together, which means they are starting to fight about things too! Oh the joys of parenting!

Donnetta said...

Our Spring Break begins next week. Thanks for these great tips and reminders.

Karen said...

Laura, you always have such good tips. I like the quick competition one, I'm sure that would work better than my yelling. :P

Unknown said...

We've just hit this stage(with girls though :) ). I love your advice though...of asking a friend what works for her! What a great way to build community and identify with other moms.

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