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Teaching Kids Healthy Habits Teaching Kids Healthy Habits

Monday Mantra: How To Survive Sibling Rivalry

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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? 

©iStockphoto.com/ClarkandCompany




by on Apr. 9, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (11-20):
dusky_rose
by Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:09 AM

I have 4 children and I still get to see them bickering at times. My three older children are almost grown up. Thanks for the tips though!


I'm thankful for a hubby that loves me, 4 healthy children, a warm
place to sleep and enough food for our meals... God bless America!

alliesmom112
by Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I only have one so no sibling rivalry yet but I am the oldest of 8 kids so there was alot sibling rivalry growing up.

alliesmom112
by Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:38 AM

I bet the age difference does help alot

Quoting nngmommy83:

There's very little sibling rivalry here. My DD is 11 and DS is going to be 3. I think the age difference helps in that regards : )


mamivon2
by Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:50 AM

I have 2.. they are 11 1.2 months apart.. Do I see sibling rivalry?? HECK yes all the darn time

amy7243
by Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 12:52 PM

 I have 3 kids and see it all the time. I was an only child.....

Bmat
by Bronze Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 1:15 PM
2 children. and yes, quite a bit of rivalry, even though we have always tried to treat them the same.
ceciliam
by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 1:30 PM

I only have one.

starreyedcutie
by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 1:30 PM
My two boys are 13mo apart...we have our momenrs of rivalry but thank god its not often :)
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LOswald0314
by Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 1:35 PM

 I have a boy and a girl 18 months apart.  So far, they only fight when my 2.5 yr old tries too hard to play with my 10 month old, she doesn't like when he gets in her face, lol.

Rushn311
by Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 2:09 PM

I have two kids, 5 years apart. They either get along really well or don't LOL

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