Being a mom of two, most of my time goes by being a referee. To put the two kids apart and get them to play and be cordial around one another can be a daunting task at hand. But it doesn’t mean that my kids are badly behaved or I as a full-time mom failed to bring them up in a good way.
Siblings getting jealous of one another and seeking parents’ attention is a normal thing and every child does it. And at times it’s just the urge to annoy one another. Like in the case of my younger one, who for some reason unknown, enjoys annoying my daughter by following her around, repeating what she says or demanding the same toy or game as hers.
But on the flip side, I have seen that, no one else, be it friends or other kids, is allowed to hit or hurt my kids. The other one will immediately stand up and run for support or come running to me to inform that the other one is in trouble. I have seen my kids pull each other’s hair apart, but when my son was in a medical emergency, it was my daughter who cried her heart out.
Everything said and done, siblings’ rivalry should not be fostered and curbed at the nub. Here are 8 ways we can make it happen successfully.
A grave mistake that we parents make it to compare our kids to one another or to other kids. Like all fingers are not same, so are kids. Both my kids have very different personality and traits, and it would be like comparing oranges to apples. So, let’s appreciate their individuality and not push them to be like others. You don’t want replicas, do you?
Praise them Equally:
There are times when one child has performed well, and the other didn’t. But if you only praise one and ignore the other, you will just create hate and difference in the second child’s mind. Assertive words can go a long way when spoken to kids, even if they did something wrong, put it in assertive words and the impact on the child will be positive.
Give an Equal Treatment:
No two children are the same, but it doesn’t mean you have to treat them differently. Favoritism can only hamper kids’ self-esteem and pull them apart. It can also make them distant from you as that child may feel less liked and adored by the parent.
Getting basic chores around house should involve help from all kids. When one child is made to do all the chores while other is just sitting and watching, it’s going to ignite annoyance in the first child. So even if your other child is small, make them do basic things like clean their toys and or keep books and not just ask the elder one to do all the work around the house. Design and assign work according to age and involve all kids.
This is one thing I can’t stop reiterating. Every child deserves a good family time as it’s the best way to bond with one another as a family member. Children seek their parents time but owing to work, parents have less time to spare during weekdays. So, make the weekends count. Spend time with kids and shower them with equal love. Keep the rules aside. Watch movies, eat ice creams or get messy in the park. Do it all. This will make them feel as an important member of the family.
Handle situations tactfully:
No matter how much you stop, kids are going to fight. Be tactful when dealing with such situations. All kids would want you to take their side, however you must play wise. Ask the kids to solve their fight on their own. If this doesn’t work, sit with both, and hear them out. If one is at fault, you can ask him/her to apologies. But at the same time, make the other one realize that he/she should not have hit/hurt in response and could have spoken it out. Basically, it’s all about being tactful and smart with your words to not hurt any of the child in any way.
Kids learn to express their anger and emotions from an early age and as they grow, these emotions will grow stronger. The solution to this is to be calm as a parent. A teen may have a rebellious phase, but you don’t have to tag your child as a rebel. These are phases and stages of life, and they require calmer response from you as a parent without any judgement or bias.
Talk to them about family values:
This is one practice that I follow religiously. I talk to my kids about the importance of family and why we all are valued for one another. Share examples about your good relationship with your own siblings. Talk to them about how one can help the other in time on a situation or crisis. Imbibe the value of being one and united and also lead by being an example.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but when you have two or more kids, and no village to bail you out, you are in for the real game. How you respond to your child and behave with them is going to frame their attitude and approach towards life. End of the day, all the kids are yours, and they need your love and affirmation more than anything else. And where that love and attention is divided between kids, there is bound to be jealousy and rivalry. But as a parent, being more vigilant and attentive towards all the kids equally will help deal with the matter very positively.