• India’s most comprehensive parenting portal, with excerpts from ParentEdge – India’s leading parenting magazine

But he started it! You got sibling rivalry?

sibling rivalry‘Mom, Mom, look at me first, I can run faster than him!’… ‘But, its her fault, she hit me first’…’I know, you love him more…you always take his side’

For those of you that have more than one child you know exactly what I mean!! Those who have one child still know what I mean, as you may see this when your child is in the company of cousins.

So parents, if your family has bouts of sibling rivalry please know this it is normal. There is no family on the face of this earth that does not experience some kind of sibling rivalry [SR] so, you have a lot of company [mine included!]…SR is normal!

The first step as always, is to understand the ‘WHY’ of SR and then we will look at THREE ways to deal with it!

When your children are young you are the most important person to them and they want you all to themselves. They do not want to share you; especially with a sibling [some of you may notice that a very young child may also get upset or try to come in the middle, when parents show affection or are even talking to each other! This again is because they want you all to themselves! Most toddlers do not know how to share!]

Other reasons for SR could be their personalities, smaller age gap and same gender [not to say that brothers and sisters do not fight, but many experts report that same gender siblings may fight more intensely and frequently!] Or perhaps your kids are just bored so they pick on each other as entertainment!

Now, let’s look at THREE Practical Parenting Solutions for SR:

Parent-Child WE Time – let us start with attacking the main cause of SR! Take out time to spend alone ‘WE’ time with each child, doing a ‘special’ activity just with him/her. This meets their need for undivided parental attention. Perhaps each parent can take turns with each child. Do something that is meaningful yet fun with each of your children, for example my husband and son may cook up an exotic dish together…while my daughter and I love baking cupcakes together…or my husband and daughter would play board games together and my son and I attack puzzles together! As a family come up with your own special routine and rituals for Parent-Child ‘WE’ time. Also, stay away from comparing your children with each other, instead point out each of their unique strengths and help them take pride in that. This builds their esteem and reduces possible jealously towards their sibling.


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Aparna Samuel Balasundaram is a USA- Licensed Psychotherapist and Parent and Child Expert with 10 years of experience in the USA. She is the Founder of Life Skills Experts and the Life Skills 360¡ System that enables parents and teachers to raise happy, confident and successful children. Visit www.LifeSkillsExperts.com for more information. She is also the Founder of ‘A Flourishing Me’ that offers contemporary Counselling and Life Coaching [www.AFlourishing.me]. Aparna can be contacted at aparna@lifeskillsexperts.com.

4 thoughts on “But he started it! You got sibling rivalry?

  1. Aparajita Bose

    Yes, Aparna, these tricks have been working for my family too!

    With the onset of the summer vacation, I have just entrusted my two kids with the responsibility of making breakfast for themselves together (with me close by for the safety factor). Some more such tasks would follow.

    I have also told them gently that the more time they keep for arguments and fights, the less free time they get for themselves. You see, part of the day is “Do as I please” for each of them, and the other part is “Doing certain things that Mom would instruct me to do”.


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