Dr. Alison Mitzner

November 29, 2017
Overcoming Sibling Rivalry

Nothing is better than that moment when your child meets his or her new sibling for the first time. Sibling love is precious! However, we all know that as much as siblings love each other, they will fight. Children have different needs, interests and temperaments, which means fighting is inevitable.

Whether or not you've struggled to break up your kids' fights, there's hope! Here are some tips for overcoming sibling rivalry:

It is often good to try and let your kids resolve any issues themselves. This is especially true if they are fighting over small things. When it comes to the bigger things, you may need to step in and help! Try separating your children until they are calm, but always remember to never take sides. If one child gets the toy they were fighting over, perhaps the other child gets something else (or that toy) the next time. Help your kids come to a resolution on their own rather than just doing it for them. This helps them learn how to handle these situations better.

It is also important to minimize comparisons. Comparing may cause one child to feel inferior and can definitely increase fighting.

Spending one-on-one time with your children is very important. As a parent, it is important to give each child their own one-on-one time with you. Try doing something that each child loves. One child may like going outside, while the other prefers reading books. One may be shy and the other outgoing. One-on-one time makes each child feel special and important, without any competition from the other sibling(s). It really helps the child to open up to you and creates a safe environment for discussions, if there are other issues going on.

Sibling rivalry is normal and actually a good thing. Think of the positive! Learning to live with a sibling is a child’s first lesson in getting along with other children. They learn about empathy and how their behavior will affect someone else. They also learn how to cope with disagreements and compromise; skills which they will take into their adult life.

So try using these tips the next time your kids are fighting. These are invaluable life lessons that we want to teach our children. And remember, adding humor and laughter helps too!


Stay tuned for Monthly Newsletters. Sign up below!