Sibling rivalry - Betsy Brown Braun
Dealing with sibling fighting
There are four things you must understand in order to successfully deal with your children's fighting:
1. Life is not fair!
I think that you already know this, but you are still trying to make it fair. Understand that nothing you can do will make it that way, not in the eyes of your children, anyway. Remember, your child wants enough of the good stuff, and that isn't always possible. So she sees life as being not fair.
It is incumbent upon you, the parent, to try and make things fair. Your children need to see you exert the effort. Leading your children to believe that life is fair by working overtime to make it so, however, will certainly not prepare them for reality. Fair doesn't mean that things will work out the way you or your children want them to.
The problem comes when you, the parent, equate fairness with equality. Very often being fair means that things are not equal for your children. For example, one of your children needs shoes, and so you buy them for her. Your other complains, "That's not fair! I want shoes too." You know that you will buy your second child shoes when he needs them. That is being fair, but it is not being equal at that moment.
2. Your children have different parents.
You are a different parent to each of your children, and your spouse is too. There are reasons for this truth. Your firstborn is your "practice child," and everything you did was the first time with her. You are an old pro by the time you have the next child and are a very different parent by virtue of experience.
In addition, each of your children has a different temperament, and you respond and relate to each based on who she is. In fact, you are a different parent to each child because each needs you to be so. You have different children, so you treat them differently.
3. In every family there is a rotating pill.
In every family in which there is more than one child, someone is always being "a pill". This reality certainly isn't written anywhere, but it sure is true. At any given time, one child is more demanding, needier, or going through a different stage. That child is in the "pill position," otherwise known as the "rotating pill". The amazing thing is that almost never do you have two children in the pill position at the same time, unless both are ill. When one child is in the pill position, the other one is a perfect angel: "Look at me Mummy, I am being good." Expect that at some point, each of your chlidren will have a turn in the pill position.
4. It will all come out in the wash.
This was one of my mother's expressions. I offer it as reassurance that, in the end, each of your children will get as much of you as she needs. The attention, time, and love that you give each of your children on any given day will vary. The child in the pill position will need and get more. If you were to keep a tally sheet, you would see that, in the end, there is some kind of equality, if there are no outstanding problems or issues.
Read more about behaviour:
- Stop sibling rivalry
- Lying and how to stop it
- What to do when kids swear
- Fighting in the car
- Why kids swear
- Dealing with kids swearing
- Discipline dos and don'ts
- Practical parenting advice from Betsy Brown Braun
- Parents who yell
- Yelling at the kids
- Tantrums in primary school children
- Common fears in school children
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