This blog post has been contributed by Rashmi Mantri, Mumbai.
“Sibling rivalry” is a very commonly used term in the parent’s discussion. The old feeling sort of comes back when you see your children being the biggest rivals and competitors of each other. The battles start in the morning and end only at night. It is impossible to forget the crazy days when you were caught doing something wrong by your brother and he used that opportunity to make you do whatever he wanted. Someone has rightly said “Siblings are the people we practise on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way.”
Many times, I often felt that my friend who has just one child was lucky as she did not have to deal with sibling rivalry, sibling competitions and sibling nagging. She does not have to think twice while buying a certain toy. She can praise her kid openly and as many times as she wants without the fear of hurting the other child. Most importantly, she will never be labeled partial by her child! All this seems reason enough for choosing to have only one child. But believe me, once we learn to handle all these small sticky situations things, will be very different and you will be happy that you have a sibling for your first child.
Listed are some of the ways to improve this beautiful bond and ensure sibling harmony.
Parental attitude: As is rightly said, “Children are great imitators”, hence it becomes very important for parents to act smartly with their children. If we punish the siblings for their disputes, they will in turn punish each other. Similarly if we hit them, they will hit each other.
Maintaining Equality: Parents need not always maintain equality among siblings; it is not necessary that if you gift your elder child a Videogame, the younger one also deserves it. We as parents often hear “This is not fair, you are being partial”. It is always better to sit and talk to your child and correct his views. Parents should neither ignore such comments, nor be trapped by such allegations.
Avoid comparisons: There should not be any competition between siblings. It is important that we explain to our children that each child is different and the same goes for their talent. Instead of focusing on his shortcomings, the child should be inspired to focus on his abilities.