Monday Mantra: How To Survive Sibling Rivalry
I have an older sister...we're three years apart. My husband is the older of two boys, and his brother is a mere 18 months younger. Yes, we have siblings. We grew up with that constant companion, perma-playmate, confidant, co-conspirator...and, at times, the enemy.
Ah, sibling rivalry. It is part of nature. I was reading over on AhaParenting (a site I really love to surf around and always gather some good advice) that sibling rivalry is part of our kids just being human. It is natural for them -- in their DNA -- to want that love from you to be for them and just them at times. Especially when they are little, when a new baby enters in the family, and as they grow through the younger stages of development, it can be really tough, this sibling rivalry thing.
But I look at friends with their siblings, and I look at my own sister and my husband with his brother. All of us have great relationships now, all survived those early years (and puberty and the crazy 20s). The bonds strengthen as the years go on. And remember, our parents got through it and you can too. But there are some great ideas on how to help your kids develop some healthy sibling relationship habits.
Some key things for us to think about as we kick it off:
-- Acknowledge and love each child as the unique person he or she is. Again, I read this nugget on AhaParenting, and it rings so true. Each of your kids, even though they may look a lot alike and have similar mannerisms, and even if your younger son adores and tries to do everything like his older brother, that doesn't mean they are the same. Each kid brings to the family a different strength, a different role, so you need to be sure to note those specifics when you talk with your kids.
-- Allow them a few things that are just theirs. Certain toys, a special box with mementos and items, a blankie or stuffed elephant that are just that child's that she doesn't have to share with anyone.
-- Find 10 to 15 minutes each day for one on one time. It isn't that long, it could be the walk to school or the after-school car ride. It could be while you are waiting for her big sister to get out of volleyball practice. It could be bath time. That check-in, that mama-to-kiddo alone time is your best defense against sibling rivalry or flare-ups between the kids.
How many kids do you have? Do you see bits of sibling rivalry sometimes?