“Sibling relationships are like Tom and Jerry. They tease and irritate each other, knock each other down, but can’t live without each other!” – Anonymous
Rivalry of any kind surfaces only where there is comparison and competition. While competition can be healthy, it takes on a negative form when coupled with unfair comparisons. And that is when problems arise.
So is the case with rivalry amongst siblings. The cause for this also remains the same. When parents begin comparing their children, and pitch them one against one another, rivalry surfaces. Sibling rivalry can leave traumatic memories for the children, if we as parents and other adults in their lives are not sensitive to its impact.
At the outset, the most important thing that parents must keep in mind is that each child is unique. They come with their strengths and challenges. Expecting one to match up to the skill or competency of the other is the most hurtful and unfair thing you could do to them.
Accept each of your children as they are, that is what unconditional love is all about. Try and identify their strengths and applaud them for these strengths; recognize and understand the challenges teach one faces, and support them, encouraging them to tr again and not give up.
When children see that you are there for them, irrespective of whether they succeed or falter, they will be motivated to move forward. When the watch you empathise with and support their sibling, they will learn empathy and in their own way provide support to.
Remember, there will come a time when we, as parents, will not be around. When that time comes, it will be the siblings who will provide the emotional support to each other. Make your children appreciate their own strengths as well as those of their sibling(s). Enable them to be sensitive to the difficulties the other is facing. Sharing and caring can only develop if there is fairness and unconditional love in the environment they grow up in.
When they get into fights or confrontations, don’t ignore them, or punish them. Sit them down and have a dialogue. Listen to both sides of the story. Don’t get into a judgemental mode. The dialogue should mainly aim at getting them to voice their anger or irritation. Your calm, loving and non-judgemental demeanour will enable them to hear their own version of the story. Most often than not, they will resolve the issue themselves, because now each one has heard the other’s version of the tory as well.
Explain to them how “He/She started it” is not acceptable. Let them understand for themselves the fairness or unfairness (or “rightness/wrongness”) of their actions/words. Remind them about their ability to make the right choices and decisions. Enable them to understand how these choices or decisions have consequences.
In doing so, not only do you establish an environment of open dialogue and discussion, but also help instill a sense of awareness, responsibility and confidence in your children.
Ignore small arguments between children, these are all part of growing up. In fact, these brickbats are the ones that strengthen the bond between siblings. If you see that they are resolving their differences with each other without you stepping in, let them do so. However, if it gets really bitter, intervene before one of them harms the other – physically or emotionally.
Have certain ground rules – for everyone, parents included. Top of the list should be Acceptance and Respect. When children feel loved and respected, they grow in the secure knowledge that they are valued for themselves. This security prevents jealousy or envy and the home becomes a happy place for them…… despite all differences.
A child cannot learn everything at home so sending them to school to learn real values is really crucial. The highly experienced teachers can teach them in a very fun way. As there is a shortage of quality schools in India, Shri Educare provides services for starting a school (Pre-school, K12). You can even start a high-quality preschool franchise in Gurgaon and provide education to many children.