Updated: May 26, 2021
If you have more than one child, I am pretty sure you have experienced sibling rivalry, you may have even experienced it with your own siblings and during these unusual times rivalry can be a bit more intense because kids (and adults) are getting bored. It can start from small arguments, to insults , snitching and even physical fighting. One of the main reasons why children fight is because their fighting for parents attention. It can also be out of boredom, each child may express their emotions differently, could be competition and of course dethronement. Your first born will start to feel like they've been pushed off their throne when I new child arrives.
Sometimes when I hear my kids arguing, yep, over petty stuff like, "why'd you leave that towel on the floor," or "I washed the dishes last time", I don't even intervene, I just grab my tea.....well, maybe it's tea, maybe it's not, I grab my laptop or whatever I'm doing at the time and escort myself outside to my patio. Now don't ask me why my 19 and 10 year old are arguing because I ask God the same question everyday and still haven't gotten an answer, but I just have to let them hash it out on their own sometimes. I've found myself wanting to break out in chorus and hit them with Tobe Nwigwe song 🗣 "Try Jesus, but don't try me, cause I've got hands," but they're not ready for that. 🤣🤣 I didn't fix up my patio just for entertaining, I like to come out here just for some alone time.
Dealing with sibling rivalry can be exhausting and frustrating. We all hope for our children to all grow up and be supportive, loving and kind to each other but it don't always happen that way....not even as adults! As an adult, some just don't know how to let go of the past. And often times some siblings avoid admitting that they may be the problem, and don't want to accept someone else telling them what they need to change. Most people don't like to hear it, but therapy is good for behavioral problems like this, don't be afraid to make an appointment and go talk to someone, I did it for myself years ago and it has helped me sooooo much.
I am going to share a few things I do when my two children are going at it, maybe it will help someone else going through this with their children:
1. Sometimes I have to be a little sensitive to their hormones and personalities, they are two totally different kids. I have to explain to my oldest that he should be a little more patient with his sister, she is still having a difficult time adjusting to all her body changes and can be a little annoyed. And she needs to understand that her big brother may be going through his own personal battles too.
2. Unless I see blood or bones.....I don't even get involved unless I begin to hear bangs, slams or screaming. But sometimes we have to move away from being a coach and just be a referee. I know it sounds a little harsh, but eventually you'll move from coach, from referee and then to spectator. That's when you'll get to witness how their bond blossoms into something great....I mean, you may not see it until they're well into their 30's but we're going to be optimistic here.
3. I had to learn to accept that "being fair" is not always possible. My children are 10 years apart so rules are a little different for both of them. I explain to my daughter how some privileges (and I put emphasis on the "some") have been earned and she will get to enjoy some of them later in life (i.e. bedtimes, curfews, etc).
4. I sit down and talk to them the best I know how. I wasn't raised in a two parent loving- household with all my siblings, but I did grow up with tons of cousins, and off and on with my siblings later in life. We fought and argued and even today some of us still don't have the best bonds (because some just can't let go of the past). Many of us parents may not know exactly what to do, we may even reach out to others for advice because I know I have. But try your best to encourage love, compassion and forgiveness.
5. Don't feel guilty if you need to leave the room and just have a "woo-sah" moment. I sometimes go sit in my car for a few minutes and listen to some good music (if kids are old enough to be left alone for 15-20 minutes) or my husband will keep an eye on them. I close my door and go take a relaxing bath, enjoy a glass of wine on my patio, sometimes I'll go for a drive or go shopping. I do whatever I need to do to keep me in a peaceful place. But there are days when I've had enough and I shut everything down, even if that means shutting off the WiFi, televisions, laptops or whatever and they have to just sit in their rooms and do nothing, read a book or just go to sleep.
Siblings will fight no matter what. However, the problem-solving techniques we teach them will help them as they grow older. If you have any other tips to share I'd love to hear from you. If you need me, I'll be right out here on my patio enjoying my *ahem* tea because this patio is far more better than jail.