"I'll tell mom that now and then you'll get in trouble!"

"I'll tell mom that now and then you'll get in trouble!"

Sibling conflicts/sibling rivalry

To a certain extent, conflicts between siblings are quite normal and part of everyday family life. Children learn their conflict management (dealing with conflicts, enduring them, defending their position, but also making compromises) within the family. I know that can be very exhausting for parents, but that's part of the family package ;)

When it comes to sibling rivalries, the quality of the parental relationship with the children also plays a major role. How well siblings get along with each other can be a factor in dealing with each other within the family.

Here are a few tips on what you can do as a parent so that the pressure of competition among your children does not get out of hand.

Don't make comparisons

Many parents compare their children to encourage them in certain matters. However, there is always a judgment in such a comparison. Which affects the relationship between the siblings. This often creates a competitive mentality among the siblings.

Refrain from generalizations

"You never tidy up!", "You always take that long!" etc.. Such statements impose certain roles within the family on the children and often become self-fulfilling prophecies. Words like "always" in particular suggest to the child that it is already has a fixed role and initially makes it incapable of changing. If a behavior in your child bothers/annoys you, you can tell him that. It is important, however, that you address the specific behavior, for example "It annoys me right now, that you haven't tidied up your room." Don't make sweeping judgments. These are often adapted by the other siblings and that leads to additional potential for conflict.

Question your own expectations

No parent is entirely exempt from having certain expectations of their child. They are wishes and hopes for one's own children with the aim that they can lead a beautiful and happy life. Because of these desires, certain childlike behavior elicits satisfaction from the parents and reaps encouragement. Children notice very quickly which behavior is well received by their parents and which behavior is undesirable. Every child wants to have the approval of their parents and this can lead to rivalry between siblings. You should therefore critically question your own expectations of your children, on the one hand why you want this for your child and on the other hand what is behind it. Finally, you should ask yourself whether this also coincides with the interests and inclinations of your child.

Favors an absolute no-go

Of course, I'm not telling any parent anything new now, and everyone knows that favoritism from a child is an absolute no-go. But from a human point of view, it is completely normal that at certain intervals you might feel a little closer to a child. This is absolutely nothing for parents to feel bad about. However, it's important (and I know that's easier said than done) not to let the children feel it. It is important to be aware of why and to what extent you currently feel closer to a child. The unequal treatment of the children will inevitably degenerate into conflicts between the siblings.

Strengthen individual relationships

 It might sound strange at first, but make sure you spend alone time with each child as well. Because then every child in the family will feel seen and loved, which will add to the general mood of the family. You should also make sure that you experience beautiful things together as a family and, above all, consciously spend time together. Through positive shared experiences, such as excursions, game nights, cooking together, etc., the rivalry between siblings can be weakened.  

Don't reward the classic snitch

Cheating is often a typical situation in which a sibling is left out. That's why you should make sure at home that you don't have a petz culture, unless it's a dangerous situation. It is always important to ask why a child is telling off, is it because of a pronounced awareness of rules, or does it want to consciously demote the sibling in order to gain recognition. If the latter is the case, you should consider how you can give your children more recognition in everyday life, for example giving more recognition to the child's activities.


Conflicts between siblings are important for development and are part of everyday family life, we wish you a lot of strength and serenity <3

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